Married and Traveling with Kids
Many married couples don’t travel with the children when they are young or limit travel to grandma and grandpa’s house. However, you and your spouse need a respite from your daily life every now and then and traveling also gives you a chance to spend uninterrupted time with your kids and bond as a family. Traveling with your kids and babies can be stressful and overwhelming, but, if you are prepared, it will be fun and worth it all. Here are ten tips to make traveling with kids easier.
Pack well in advance of your trip. You need time to think things out and make sure you pack everything you will need. Luggage takes up a lot of room and can be cumbersome to tote around. Plan on 2 suitcases, 1 carryon bag. One suitcase for you and your husband’s clothes, shoes, and toiletries. The other suitcase is for the children. Use color coded packing cubes to pack each child’s clothes, shoes, and toiletries in and fit them side by side in the suitcase. If you are traveling with a baby, you will also need a diaper bag with all the baby essentials.
Don’t Overpack. Babies and little ones have and need a lot of stuff. However, you need to focus on just the essentials when packing to travel. Think about the activities you will be doing while on vacation and pack accordingly. You may be going out to eat or staying in a condo, so invest in a foldable seat that attaches to the table. Pack a flexible entertainment mat rather than a suitcase full of toys. Pack n Play cribs can double as a place to sleep and a playpen. Invest in a good travel stroller or you will be toting heavy children through all the trip’s activities.
Pack a change of clothes for the kids and adults in the carryon. Roll up simple clothes changes for each child and adult and put them in a color marked zip lock bag. You never know when someone will spill something on themselves, have a bathroom accident, or throw up, so be prepared.
Plan for emergencies. Children can become ill at the drop of a hat. It is not uncommon for a child to get car sick, plane sick, or seasick. Always pack something for nausea, liquid Tylenol, a thermometer, band-aids, and Neosporin.
Use luggage and bags and aids that make it easy to walk with. There is nothing worse than trying to carry several suitcases, bags, and equipment through an airport with children in tow. Use bags and carriers that strap on to your bodies like backpacks, waist packs, carriers that double as strollers, rolling luggage, and rolling carryon bags. Use the luggage carts at the airport. Invest in a foldable wagon to tote things back and forth to the beach. Anything that will make transporting the things you need easier, invest in and use.
Keep them busy during the flight or car ride. Bring a bunch of little toys and books from the dollar store and put them in zip lock bags in the carryon bag. Give them to the kids to open when they get bored. They get excited knowing that there’s something new for them to play with throughout the flight or car ride. Any time you travel, make sure to bring a tablet or I-pad so kids can play kid-friendly games & watch movies on there.
Always have portable snacks and drinks. Hungry children can make your life miserable in a car or plane. Pack several small snack bags of crackers, dry cereal, gummy snacks, and sippy cups of water. Many places sell sippy cups that look like small water bottles where the lid closes shut and doesn’t leak.
Book adjoining rooms for adults and kids. Having everyone all in one room is a recipe for a sleepless night. At home, children usually sleep in their own quiet room. Try to keep their routine as close to normal as possible. Let the children sleep in a separate section of the room, like a suite, or a room with an adjoining door to yours. Set up a baby monitor so you can hear when the kids are up. Everyone will sleep better and be happier throughout the trip.
Choose kid-friendly activities and restaurants. While you and your spouse will not likely be able to dine in a fancy restaurant, you can choose restaurants with outdoor seating and some kid-friendly meal options like mac-and-cheese or chicken fingers. Most areas for tourists have a list online of kid-friendly activities to do. Parks, museums, nature trails, beaches, pools, etc. are all good options.
Don’t forget to plan a little “couple” luxuries. When you are out and about during the day, pick up a bottle of wine, some cheese, and appetizers that you and your spouse can enjoy on the patio after the kids go to bed.
Traveling with children is challenging and a lot of work, but you can have a very enjoyable and memorable family vacation by planning in advance.