By Susanne Myers
A little preparation will make a big difference in how enjoyable traveling with your kids can be. Use some of our tips and ideas below, whether you and your children are traveling by car or plane. After all, this is the time of the year when we are ready to relax and rejuvenate, not stress about how to get to our favorite vacation spot while listening to “Are we there yet?” every 10 minutes. Outlined below are some ways for you to make sure both you and your kids are comfortable while traveling.
Dress everyone in comfortable loose clothing and pack a spare outfit for everyone where you can easily reach it during your trip. Pack a small pillow and a light blanket for each of the kids, as well as their favorite stuffed toy or doll to snuggle up with at night or during naptime. These not only work great on the plane or in the car, but will also make your kids more comfortable once you arrive at your destination.
Whether you travel by car or by plane, pack some drinks and snacks for the kids, so you don’t have to rely on rest stops, kiosks at the airport or the meals that are served on the plane. We usually give our daughter only water in the car. It’s not nearly as messy as some of the fruit juice or sports drinks if it gets spilled. To make plain water a little more interesting and to keep it cool, fix an insulated zippy cup or sports bottle with ice water. And believe me, they will spill it sooner or later, even if the cup claims to be spill proof. Some good choices for not-so-messy snacks are trail mix, pretzels, teddy grahams, dried fruit, fresh apple slices (drizzle them with a little lemon or lime juice to keep them from turning brown), mini marshmallows, and baby carrots. Come up with some snacks that your kids love and put them in individual zip-lock bags.
The zip-lock bags also come in handy to pack up some crafts supplies like crayons, stickers, blunt scissors and glue sticks, for the artists in your family.
To keep your little one’s entertained, you may also want to pack some coloring books, picture books, or pack a child friendly novel, like the Harry Potter books to read aloud in the car. Audio books and music CDs or tapes also come in handy.
For some great travel games you and your family can play, take a look at Car Travel Activities for Kids.
If you are traveling by car, plan in frequent stops and let the kids run around. You may want to pack a jump robe, ball or Frisbee to make moving around more fun. If you are driving through the night, plan a longer stop an hour or two before bedtime so the kids can wear themselves out and release all this build up energy before going to sleep.
Instead of eating lunch at a fast food place or restaurant off of the interstate, try bringing a picnic. You can cater to your family members tastes and it is bound to be cheaper, better and more healthy than what you would be able to find fast food place. Your kids will appreciate not having to sit still again and the sunshine and fresh air will do wonders for all of you.
If you are traveling by plane, bring some small toys, picture books, coloring books etc, to entertain your child in the seat. Depending on your child’s age, bring some gum, hard candy, zippy cup, bottle or pacifier to have them suck or chew on something during take-off and landing to equalize the pressure in their ears. You may also want to pack a sweater for your child, since the air temperature in the plane can be quite chilly.
To keep your kids excited on longer trips, make up some small goodie bags for them. Collect some Kids Meal Toys for a few weeks, or purchase some inexpensive toys at the Dollar Store and put them individually in some small brown paper bags, or even wrap them. Tell your kids that as long as they are being good, they will get a new goodie bag every 2 hours or so. You’ll be amazed how well behaved they will be, and you will keep them from being too bored on a long trip by giving them something new to play with.
Susanne Myers is the founder of www.kinderinfo.com , the one-stop online children’s resource center. Sign up for our newsletter at www.kinderinfo.com/newsletter for even more great tips and ideas to have fun with your kids this summer.