The holidays are fast approaching! And when it comes to holiday travel with kids, a little helpful advice is wonderful if it makes the trip go a lot smoother. Here are some tips to help you make holiday travel with kids a breeze so you can enjoy your vacay more!
· Plan Ahead. The smartest thing you can do to help ensure your travels go without a hitch is to plan ahead. The two days before and after the actual holiday are usually the busiest travel-wise. See if you can schedule your trips to avoid the craziness. Flying? Buy your tickets well in advance and request seating in the bulkhead (divider that separates the sections of a plane) for plenty of legroom. Driving? Plot your trip ahead of time, print off driving directions in the event your phone’s GPS isn’t working, plan plenty of stops, research fun or interesting places to take a break with the kids. The holidays are a busy time, so book your hotels and rental cars in advance. If you’re looking for a more homey stay, with more room for the kids and amenities like washing machines and pools, consider Airbnb or VRBO. Grab an umbrella stroller for little ones. They fit easily in the trunk of your car and can be checked when you board the plane at the airport.
· Pack Like a Pro. Make a check list of all the things you’ll need for each person in your family. Then add things like childproofing supplies (if needed), first aid kit, medicines, toys and activities, extra pacifiers, formula, snacks for travel and a car emergency kit. Keep tickets and ID’s in a travel folder so everything is in one place and include important health/emergency information to keep with you while you travel. Scan your other travel documents and email to yourself (I.D.’s, passports, etc.). If you write out all the necessities, right down to the very basics, you’re more likely to remember the things you genuinely need to travel.
· Invest in a GPS Locator. If your holiday travel takes you through busy airports or crowded attractions, it’s a smart idea to invest in a child GPS locator. The child wears the watch-like gadget and you’re able to track their location through the connected app on your phone. Some models allow the child to call you as well. Look for styles like the LG GizmoPal Wireless GPS Track Call Child Wearable Smartwatch that can be worn on the wrist or attached to clothing.
· Comfort is Key. When traveling, comfort is essential, especially when you’re a child. A comfortable kid is a happier kid. Pack ultra soft outfits for long days in the car or plane, while taking in local sights where you’re visiting, and for days spent with family playing. Always consider ease of diaper changes while traveling. Look for outfits that are designed to make changing a breeze no matter where you are.
· Travel is an (App)licable Time for Technology. Old school coloring supplies and books are great for travel, but let’s be honest, tablets are the perfect resource for kids spending hours on the road or in the air. It passes the time faster and can be educational if the tablet is loaded with learning apps. There are also apps specific to travel that can help the kids learn about the different cities and states they’re visiting. And don’t forget the headphones. If there’s ever a great time for technology, holiday travel is the time!
· Travel Toys & Activities. For car travel, do yourself a favor and pick-up an organizer that hangs from the back of your seat. It allows tots to grab their toys easily and provides a place to keep them stored. It can also hold a sippy cup and snacks. A travel organizer that sits between kids on the seat is also great find. For air travel, a roomy backpack with a lot of compartments is ideal for all the baby and kid stuff. For little ones, pack a few small, easy-to-secure toys. Bring the toys that keep them entertained the longest and are small-sized so they are easy to travel with. For toddlers and older kids, bring color books, crayons & washable markers, stickers, small puzzles, Play-doh, craft kits, card games, travel size versions of board games, and books to read.
· Plan Travel Time Around Sleep Time. Since children are naturally excited and anticipatory about your travel plans, it can make it hard to them to sleep while traveling. Try to plan your departure and arrival times around naps as much as possible. If your child still naps in the morning, then plan to leave after the morning nap, not before. If at all possible, try to arrive at your destination in time for the usual bedtime. Once you arrive to your destination, try to keep kids in their usual schedule as much as possible—it helps kids sleep better and feel some sense of control while in a new environment.
Happy travels, mamas!
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