By Ann Laurence
Hard as it may be to believe, traveling with kids can actually be fun. Over our 10 years of marriage, my husband and I have often tested our parental patience by embarking on family vacations with babies, toddlers and more recently – preschoolers in tow. We’ve traveled by plane, train, automobile and boat. We’ve flown and driven cross-country. Suffice it say, we have our fair share of travel stories.
Some legs of each trip were invariably a challenge – young kids in cramped spaces for many hours = a not so fun situation. But with a bit of early planning and preparation, traveling with kids can make for some of the most enjoyable and memorable moments of your family vacation.
The following tips I’ve learned along the way are great for long car rides, but work equally well for any mode of travel:
• Bring along favorite DVDs and music
• Restock the first aid kit. Be sure to include kid-friendly Band-Aids. I can’t tell you how many boo-boos became non-issues as soon as a Band-Aid was applied.
• Pack a bag of non-electronic entertainment including coloring books and crayons, card games (our kids once had a marathon hour-long round of “Crazy 8s”), books to read (if your little ones don’t get carsick reading in the backseat) and a few dollar-store toys for something new and fun to play with.
• Pack favorite snacks. Look for munchies that are not too messy (think fresh cut fruit, small sandwiches, Goldfish in a ziplock bag) and juiceboxes or bottled water.
• Stuffed “friends,” soft blankets and other favorite items from home can help keep your tiny travelers comfortable.
• Hand sanitizer and baby wipes for clean up. Enough said.
• Thank Goodness for Rainbow Looms – I can’t tell you how many hours these little gems kept the kids entertained – and off the electronics.
• Keep the car as clean as you can as you go. Even on short trips, it doesn’t take long for the floor of our minivan to be covered in cracker crumbs, crayons and discarded juice boxes. Have extra trash bags handy to empty out the garbage each time you stop for potty breaks or to refuel.
Above all, enjoy every moment of making new memories!