Vacations with kids can be a nightmare if you're not prepared.
To prepare myself for traveling with my kids, I talked to all my friends who have traveled with their kids. I read everything I could get my hands on about kids and travel to learn any and all tricks to help in this situation.
The best advice I received and read was to prepare, prepare, prepare! So, I'm going to share with you all the tricks and tips to make travel with kids easier.
For safety reasons, keep a current picture of each of your kids on you (everyone in the family for that matter). This will be very important in the event a child becomes lost. Write down important information for each family member as follows:
Think about your family and what their needs are before you book a vacation. For instance, a condo setting in which you can spend more time may be better for your family's needs than a hotel.
Be sure to book a place that has a washer and dryer along with a kitchen with a dishwasher in it. You don't want to be dragging laundry to a laundry room on your vacation!
Think about your kid's schedule and don't over schedule activities on vacation. Take your time and schedule activities around your kid's naps as much as possible. This will help avoid meltdowns and you will enjoy your vacation much more.
Packing for travel with kids. If you're staying at your destination for a week or longer and you have more than one child, you'll want to use a separate piece of luggage just for your kids. Use a big piece of luggage for them and pack at least two outfits for your kids per day in addition to their night clothes.
Think about how many times you change your baby or kids day and night and be sure to pack enough diapers and wipes to get you to your destination. Once you're there, you can buy more diapers and wipes.
For older kids, pack their clothes by outfit so it's easier for them to get themselves dressed.
Start early preparing your kids for travel. This is so important, especially if you will be traveling by air. Begin talking about it at dinner and showing your kids pictures of airplanes. This worked especially well with my son, he got really excited about going on an airplane.
Very important for travel with kids! Pack snacks and goodies that will keep kids entertained on the flight. This was a lifesaver for us, especially during the wait to take off. Pack a portable DVD player along with their favorite DVD's and use as a tool to get them to behave. Promise them their favorite movie if they are quiet and sit down during take off.
My pre-teen packed her IPod and I bought her some teen and fashion magazines which kept her entertained on the long flight.
When traveling by air with little ones, try to book a late night flight they will sleep through. If your traveling with an infant, check with the airline to see if you can book a baby bassinet (sky cot). This is a lifesaver if you have a baby like mine that doesn't like to be held when she falls asleep.
If your child is over two, then you may want to buy the seat next to you too. Check with the airline if you need to bring their car seat with you. I didn't have to for my two year old, and he just stretched out and slept in the seat between my husband and myself the whole flight.
Be sure to bring a light stroller or back pack carrier that you can gate-check. This way you have it immediately as you get off the plane. You'll have free hands to grab your luggage which will be worth it! Or, if you need to run to the other end of the terminal to change planes, the stroller or back pack carrier will be worth their weight in gold. Having a stroller right there to plop the baby in and run was priceless.
Use a harness Get one with a stuffed animal that sits on their backs. My kids love the one with the little monkey that sits on their back. It's great because it not only allows my toddlers to roam around, it keeps them safe too. A big plus is it doesn't look as bad as a regular toddler leash.
Even before you begin to pack, think about your baby's schedule and pack accordingly. How long is the flight? What time of day will it be? Be sure to pack what you will need while you wait for your flight, during the flight, and after. Pack too for any change of flights, and always pack for any unexpected delays. And, always, pack at least three extra diapers more than you think you will need just in case.
Don't forget to pack a change of clothes for each kid. Pack additional outfits depending on how long the flight is. This was a lifesaver for us as our daughter had a couple of (not to be gross, but) really bad poopy diapers. It would have been a disaster had I not packed that extra outfit.
If space is an issue and it most certainly will be when you travel with kids, and you have more than one child in diapers, then pack more of the bigger size. In an emergency, you can always make the bigger diapers fit by wrapping them more tightly on the smaller child.
Bring enough formula and food for your baby thinking about their schedule and how much they go through each day. Bring extra, just in case of delays. Purchase drinking water for the formula, preferably at room temp for your baby's comfort after you check everything in. Don't forget the extra pacifiers too.
For more excellent tips on travel with kids, check out flying with kids.
Follow the tips mentioned above and read the above website. Relax and enjoy the travel with kids and ultimately your vacation when you reach your destination.
If you're traveling by car with your kids, then check out Car Travel with Kids for some excellent tips to make the car ride easier for everyone.
If you're flying with a baby, then see Flying with a Baby to make the flight easier for you and pleasant for your baby.
Air travel gets a bit tougher with a toddler. So, check out Flying with a Toddler for some tips that will definitely make the flight more pleasant for you and your toddler. The other passengers will thank you too!
Planning a trip to Disneyland? Then be sure to check out Budget Disneyland Vacations for money saving strategies on your trip to Disneyland. Your family will love it and... you'll love the money you save!