Wednesday, October 25, 2017

6 Must Dos When Traveling with Kids

We love to travel with our kids.

We have a long list of places we can't wait to take them and another list of new places we'd love to explore with them.

We've gotten good at road trips, flying with little ones and being out and about with two kids.  It takes a fair amount of planning, researching and packing to make it happen, but it's almost always a good time.  Even if things get crazy for a bit we always think the good moments of a trip far outweigh the hard ones.

Traveling with kids isn't always easy.  It is not relaxing or restful, but we know that going into it.  My one year old sleeps like a champion at home, but doesn't sleep great when we're out of town.  My four year old is pretty darn portable as long as we have her favorite things - snacks, bunny, blanket and pillow.

I thought I'd share some traveling tips with you today because I know many of you will be traveling to see family for the holidays or taking trips in the coming weeks.

We bring the same gear when we are flying and driving.  Small strollers for each kid instead of our double stroller so we can both push strollers and not have to deal with our bulky stroller.  We always bring our car seats with us when we fly.  They get checked for free and we feel great knowing the kids will be comfortable and safe in our regular car seats.  They have always installed really easily in our rental cars and the kids ride great because they are used to those seats.  We bought those inexpensive orange car seat bags from Babies R Us years ago and they're perfect.  They have a handle on them and are so easy to spot on the baggage claim belts.

We talk about this ahead of time so everyone knows what to do.  We pretty much have the same routine for every trip now.

Kevin researches and buys our tickets.  He's in charge of check in and reservations.
I do all the packing and logistics of getting all of us ready to go.  I charge up all the electronics and pack the cords so we're ready to go for the day.

He drives drops us off at the airport check in.  I stay with the kids, the bags and the gear.  He parks and hurries back on the shuttle to us.  We've found that it's way less stressful to divide and conquer.  The same is true for the return trip.  I wait with the kids and the stuff at the pick up and he goes to get the car by himself.

We really love flying Southwest for their flexibility and their friendly employees.  They are always so sweet and go above and beyond to be kind to families.  Example: I asked for ice waters for the kids and they brought them cups with straws and lids.  I love the family preboarding time and we've always been able to find great seats together when we board at that time.  Be sure to find an airline that works great for your family.

Comfy shoes, comfy clothes, special items like a favorite stuffed animal, backpack for each kid with snacks and toys and a change of clothes/underwear.  I like to do a mix of surprise toys/treats and favorite toys/treats in their backpacks to keep things interesting.  Try to do the same for yourself - dress comfy in and easy to wear outfit.  If we are driving I will do the same and pack fun things for each kid.  That way they each have a bag of things to entertain them in the car.

4. ENTERTAINMENT & SNACKS (in flight or in the car)
We love to sit together when we can and trade off who heads to the bathroom, who gets snacks, etc.  Pack snacks for the kids and lots of them.  My kids are always happier when I have packed their favorite foods - pretzels, Gardettos, Check Mix, Dum Dums, fruit ropes, applesauce pouches, dry cereal, Rice Krispie treats and empty cups to fill with ice water.

The kids had THE BEST TIME with these extremely inexpensive stickers from the grocery store.  They're technically labels and end up being $2 for hundreds of dots.  Both kids had a blast sticking them all over the place and they all came off easily.

We also brought along favorite movies, a couple of Matchbox cars for each kid, Highlights magazines or a book that will engage them for a long time, Crayola Mess Free Color Wonder Markers and paper are a lifesaver!!  Olive colored a whole character book from IN to FL one year.  She loved being able to color in the car and we loved knowing she couldn't make a mess since the markers only worked on her coloring book.
Playdoh - not for the plane, but always a fun option when you get to your destination.  I pack the playdoh and then we just use plastic stuff for tools.

If you're driving - plan stops regularly to get out and stretch your legs.  Clear trash out of your car and enjoy the sights.  I like to map out the tourist attractions when we're on the road and we both enjoy stopping when we see something fun.

If you're flying, run around the airport as much as possible, use the restroom and get a yummy snack.  We like to look at the souveniers

Your attitude will make all the difference. 

If you're running late, stressed or frustrated, your kids will pick up on it and act accordingly.  Try to give yourself PLENTY of time to get somewhere and keep a smile on your face.  Eat regularly, say kind things and give each other lots of grace.  Laugh off the crazy moments (kids licking things in the airport) or (your baby napping as you land after you've tried to get him to nap for 2 hours) and enjoy the ride!!  Delays in your trip aren't a big deal if you have plenty of snacks, fun music to listen to and a good attitude.

What are your best travel tips for traveling with kids??


  1. #3 & #6 are my favorites. I find those helpful for every day life really, lol! Any time I get tense or anxious, my girls ALWAYS feed off of that. I really try to not let that happen.

  2. Great tips!! Any tips that you have specifically for traveling with a 6 month old? We're about to do that in a month.

  3. Traveling with kids can be so tricky if you don't go in being really prepared. As a family that travels often, I love your tips!

  4. Attitudes are crucial! And who knew you could have so much fun with neon dots!?


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