Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Traveling with little kids

So, I had a request for some tips on traveling with kids.

My "traveling kids" are 6 (just turned 6 on the 22nd, birthday post to come) and 4 (going on 14).  We also have a one year old that has stayed at home with the grandparents for the past 3 trips so that makes it a lot easier (no dealing with big car seats, strollers, bottles, two naps a day, and diaper know it's bound to happen ;)

Anyway, some people think we are crazy for taking a 6 and 4 year old with us but we really LOVE traveling with our kids and opening their eyes up to the world around them.   And really, they are not much trouble at all!  Totally worth it!!

Here are some things that are essential for our travels:

1.  Pack lots of SNACKS.  Include things that are fun for the kids that they typically don't get at home.  I usually try to feed my kids fairly healthy, but on vacation I'm way more lenient.  Is everyone about to melt down.....let me whip out a fun size bag of M&Ms for each of you.  Catch my drift?!  Suckers and gum are good choices too!   Some other things I always bring:  applesauce packs, granola bars, yogurt pouches, animal crackers, pretzels, apples, etc.

Along that same line....I try to pack enough breakfast food for several mornings during our trip too (usually in the checked baggage).  Why?  Because its easy, saves a lot of money (breakfast for all 4 of us at some of these resorts would add up to at least $40/day), and it provides a more relaxed morning.  Some ideas are: a loaf of Cinnamon/Raisin Bread, individual cereals (my kids will eat without milk), canned fruit, mini muffins.  Seriously, $20 at your home grocery store could save you about $200 depending where you go :)  I was a little nervous about food going through customs but nobody said anything!

2.  IPADS (don't forget your headphones) .  These are lifesavers.   Are your kids as addicted to these as mine??  Each kid has their own so they can watch a movie or play games.  We limit our kids screen time at home and coming up before a trip I don't let them play on their iPads at all for a couple of weeks.....#1 because I know they will get to use it more than usual on a trip #2 It makes it more exciting when they see all their games and movies again.  

3.  Keep (baby) wet wipes close by along with hand sanitizer!!  Wet wipes? Yes, these come in handy for all sorts of things from sticky hands, dirty faces, spills, and cleaning dirty tables/armrests etc.  Hand sanitizer is self explanatory!  Also, Ziploc bags.  You never know when you might need to use...dirty clothes, half eaten suckers, dirty wet wipes, etc..

4.  We try to carry on as much as possible and typically just check one big bag.  Be sure to be smart about how you do this.  Our carry-ons always have what each person will need for the first two, just in case our luggage gets lost we will not be searching for the nearest Wal-mart at midnight.  The kids also carry a book bag as a "personal item" which allows us to carry more on.  Their book bags are not filled with toys....mostly clothes!  Also, with little kids it is always good to have a change of clothes handy.....and with this tactic we do!  On the way home, we usually check more bags because we are not as concerned if they don't make it on time and less to haul through airport etc. Basically, we are tired by that point and its worth it to us!!

Something I learned from Mix and Match Mama that I thought was pretty clever in certain instances.....  Instead of packing each person a suitcase for the entire trip, she packs in DAYs.  For example, they only open one suitcase that has everybody's clothes for the first three days.  Then shut that one up and open the next for days 4-6 and so on.  Does that make sense?  I did this when we went to Disney World because we changed hotels 3 times and it worked great!  Typically, I don't do this because I like to have options for each day.  

5.   Comfy shoes for everyone.  (side note:  little kids do NOT have to take their shoes off through security at the airport).  Also, we do not travel with car seats/boosters to make our life easier.  We prearrange our transportation from the airport and they have always had an option to include two car seats at no extra charge. 

I would love to hear from you!  I'm always open to new ideas, especially if they can make my life easier :-)

Happy Hump Day!!

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