Essential tips for traveling with kids

Treat your trip like an adventure – and before you know it, the annoyances, missteps and mishaps simply become small obstacles for your hearty band of explorers to overcome. If you get stressed when you can’t find your hotel, your kids will get stressed too. When you think of it as “exploring the neighborhood,” voila…it becomes an adventure and the whines and groans vanish into thin air.

Yes, it would be easier if you visit kid-friendly destinations while you are away. Places like a children’s museum or the zoo are great fun for the whole family. The key to a good vacation with kids is to keep them busy!

Bring lots of travel games and activities for the kids to do in the car or on the plane. Personal gaming systems like the Nintendo DS and a portable DVD player can be a real sanity-saver on long road trips.  Bring plenty of snacks and drinks- keeping little tummies full and happy keeps you sane.

When you are flying: Most airlines have Children’s meals. They tend to include more kid friendly options and often come with toys or stickers. Don’t forget to pack in some pretzels and candy bars. Pack in a good set of portable art supplies with crayons, markers and some paper and lo behold…the supplies work their magic into transforming boredom into hours of amusement.  Don’t forget the medical insurance, medicines and baby wipes.

Oh yes, at the end of it what you really need is the right attitude. Whether you are pushing a stroller with one hand while pulling a wheeled carry-on with the other, or if you are tagging along a toddler who insists on pulling his own rolling bag (at his own leisurely pace), allow yourself – and your kids- plenty of time for check-ins, security checks and walks to your gates. Kids have an amazing ability to completely ignore the urges of parents who are late for an appointment. So go on with a smile and keep a camera ready – you can always capture a candid moment

Things to carry on a road trip…

•    Frisbee – great for some quick exercise when making a stop.  Also can be used for a handy tray for eating on.
•    Plastic Boxes – To hold the supplies – the lid makes a great desk.  Fill with crayons, mechanical pencils, highlighters
•    Clean Water – several bottles of water work best for drinking, a quick wash up, cleaning a scrape and so on.   Buy a case for the trunk or refill at rest stops.
•    Lightweight Blanket – small child’s blanket for cuddling with at nap time, blocking the sun or using as a pillow.
•    Paper Towels – for quick clean ups.
•    Snacks – Cookies, hard candy, pretzels…lifesavers in our book.
•    Compass – Fun for the kids if they want to help navigate.
•    Zip Lock Bags – bring several different sizes.  These come in very handy for collecting items (shells), storing food, wet clothes…
•    Trash bags – for storing laundry, wet items or for keeping the car clean.

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