If you’ve ever traveled with your kids, you know it can get overwhelming. From keeping them entertained to making sure you know where they are every second, it can get exhausting quickly. If you’re planning a trip either as a vacation, to visit family, or perhaps you’re moving, I’m sure you want to prepare for every possible scenario. Although it’s impossible to plan for every situation that could arise, limiting the chances of catastrophe is possible. If you’re looking for a few tips to help make your trip enjoyable and stress-free, the following list will get you on the road to success.
- Don’t Overpack
Why is it easy to pack way too much for your kids, then end up underpacking for yourself? If you’re anything like me, you try to envision every possible reason they may need an outfit change and assume there won’t be a washing machine within fifty miles. The result is your kid’s suitcase bursting at the seams, or maybe you have a ton of luggage you have to carry.
Avoid the urge to overpack and think realistically about the number of outfits your child will wear. If you’re staying at a hotel, check if there are washing machines or a laundry service you can utilize if necessary. It’s also a great idea to pack mix and match items; that way, if they aren’t dirty, you can reuse them on multiple days.
- Pack Snacks
I cannot overstate how important it is to bring snacks on your trip. Especially if you have young kids, snacks will help you keep your sanity. There is nothing worse than a hungry toddler who will yell and scream uncontrollably until you feed them. You don’t want to find yourself sitting on a flight unprepared when one of these breakdowns happens. Having some of your child’s favorite snacks can help keep them calm and occupied. You don’t have to pack junk food either; apple slices, bananas, and crackers all travel wonderfully! If your plans include a full day of travel, make sure you pack enough food to keep them full that won’t cause a sugar high. Don’t forget drinks too. Mini water bottles or juice boxes are a great choice when you’re low on space.
- Give Yourself Plenty Of Time
You will run late. Period. Even if you plan your day down to the second, something will cause a delay. To keep this from ruining your entire trip, make sure to plan for ample time, regardless if you’re flying or driving. Generally, as a rule of thumb, plan to leave at least an hour before the time you originally planned. Believe me; you cannot give yourself too much time. If you are flying and bringing either baby food or snacks, you will have TSA look through them, which will cause a time delay. If you’re traveling during the holidays, don’t forget to account for extra holiday traffic and the uncertainties that inevitably occur from it. Worst-case scenario, if you allow yourself too much time, you either get to your destination early or have some time to relax. That sounds much better to me than stressing and trying to rush!
- Plan Sleeping Arrangements Beforehand
Whether heading to a hotel or planning to stay with family, make sure you know where everyone will sleep. Is there a crib available if you have an infant, or do you need to bring a pack-n-play for them to sleep? Will there be enough available beds, or do you need to ask for a cot? You don’t want to get there and realize someone has to sleep on the floor. Take a moment to check before you leave to avoid a nasty surprise on arrival.
It is always a good idea to pre-book all your accommodations before you leave, especially when you have kids. If you’re driving and you know it will take multiple days, plan where you will stop beforehand and book the hotel. That eliminates the guesswork of tracking down an available room or possibly finding yourself without a place to stay for the night.
When traveling with kids, being prepared is the best way to make everything run smoothly. While it’s not possible to plan for every possible scenario, you can take steps to ensure the trip is as enjoyable as possible. Avoid overpacking, bring snacks, give yourself plenty of time, plan your sleeping arrangements, and pre-book when possible. Family trips can create memories that last a lifetime; don’t let yourself go unprepared. Use these five tips and have the trip of a lifetime!