With the right preparation, you can smooth out some of the rough spots that pop up when traveling with young children. Snacks, games (and a little bribery) are all it takes to make your family vacation a little easier.
Lighten your load
You’ve given the kids their teeny-tiny luggage to pack. The husband has his petite “man bag” to fill. Now it’s time to stuff your beast of a suitcase with outfits, shoes and girly necessities, right? Not so fast, mama. With the right planning, you can pack light too — and still look good! Pack mix and match outfits, so you don’t need as many pieces, and trust us — you don’t need as many shoes as you think you do!
Have a game plan
Mad Libs, crossword puzzles and word finds are all handy games for car and plane travel. But have you ever thought of surprising the kids with your own raffle? The investment is small — and the payoff is big — with this DIY road trip game.
Pack your snacks
We all know boredom leads to hunger, so you can bet you’ll be hearing, “Mom, I’m hungry!” coming from the back seat about a million times during your trip. Be ready with a ready-made snack box or cooler, full of car-friendly snacks like pretzels, dry cereals, nuts, fruits, veggies and water. Not only will you reduce the number of stops and make it to your destination faster, but you’ll have a quieter ride, too. After all, mouths that that are busy chewing don’t (usually) do that much talking! Score!
Bring your stroller
We know your preschooler loves to be independent these days, but there’s a big difference between walking though your local mall on his own two legs and hiking across a theme park all day. Trust us, mama, pack your stroller. He’s going to get tired, and you can bet all the hassle that packing it causes will be forgotten when you don’t have to carry that hot and sweaty (and heavy!) little guy all day. Bonus — when he’s not riding in the stroller, it serves as an awesome way to tote your stuff around while giving your shoulders a break!
Prepare for the worst
Experienced traveler Carrie Anne Badov, Partner and Editor-in-Chief of EverythingMom Media Inc., never planned for her son to split his chin when traveling out of the country, but she was happy to have the medical coverage provided by her credit card to cover the cost of his stitches. Badov recommends that families either purchase travel insurance or sign up for a credit card that offers similar benefits before taking a family vacation.