The point of a family vacation is to have fun, right? These travel hacks will make sure it stays that way! Whether you are headed out on a road trip, or headed to the airport, you know that if you are traveling with kids, it can be extremely stressful and challenging. However, there is some good news because things don’t have to be this way at all. There are some tips and tricks you can use to make things easier and smoother. Here are some travel hacks for traveling with kids.
Related: Taking Advantage of Last-Minute Family Travel Deals
Travel Hacks for Your Family Vacations
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DVD case coloring supplies
Need a creative and easy way to store all of your child’s coloring supplies? Just use an empty, unused DVD case to store paper and colored pencils.
Keep things nearby
Traveling with kids can sometimes be a bit unorganized. For instance, the baby is crying and you are trying to find their sippy cup. Try taking a shoelace and tying one end to the handle of the sippy cup and the other end to the underside of the car seat. This will prevent the sippy cup from getting lost and is readily available when needed.
Don’t forget the nightlight
Many kids are not comfortable sleeping in an unfamiliar place. Don’t forget to bring along a night light when you are traveling. This will help them feel more like they are sleeping at home.
Lint roller cleans up messes
Think that lint rollers are just for cleaning up lint? Think again! Lint rollers can be used for quick cleanup of messes like cereal, sprinkles and glitter. Having a lint roller handy is ideal for both road trips and airplane flights.
Waterproof cell phones
If you are heading to the beach for the afternoon or headed down to the hotel pool for a few hours, everyone naturally wants to bring along their cell phones. But as we all know, water and electronic devices don’t make a good match. The solution? Slip your phone in a Ziplock bag to not only keep water out, but sand as well.
Mark the Miles with Goodie Bags
If you’re taking a long road trip with kids, break up the monotony of the road with scheduled goodie bags. Fill little bags (paper or reusable) with fun items, like little toys, a travel game, new coloring sheets for their DVD coloring case, etc. Before you embark on your journey, tell the kids that when you reach a certain destination, they’ll get a goodie bag…as long as they behave. If you’re on a long, boring road, dole them out at certain mile markers. Otherwise, pick landmarks and other scheduled stops as “reward time.”
Hit the buffet armed with baggies
If you’re staying at a hotel that offers a free breakfast buffet, snag a few extra pieces of fruit or snacks for in the room later on. When I went on a cruise years ago, I always stocked up at the buffets because room service- while free- was very limited. If you are on a cruise or in a hotel with free room service, order extras (like milk cartons and juice) at night before you go to bed. That way, if your kids wake up before breakfast, they have something to hold them over.
Clear out the mini-fridge
Speaking of cruises, room service and hotels: do you know those little bottles of water in the mini-fridge often cost more than a whole case of water in a store? Rather than trying to keep your kids from removing water and soda from the mini-fridge, ask the room attendant to clear it out. Then have them lock the mini-bar!
Rent, don’t bring
If you’re flying, consider renting as much big baby gear as possible at your destination. Hotels usually have portable cribs, restaurants have booster seats and most shopping centers rent strollers. Even if you’re driving, you might want to consider leaving the big stuff at home so you have more room in your trunk for the cool stuff you pick up along the way. This is especially important if you’re visiting family, as we all know our moms always send us home with at least one huge box of random stuff, be it mementos she dug up from our childhood during her last cleaning rampage or things she’s collected over the year that she thinks we’ll love!
Vacations should be fun! As long as you plan ahead and follow a few of these travel hacks, they will be. Most important of all, try not to stress over the small stuff. Get out there and make some happy memories. In ten years from now, your kids aren’t going to remember that you forgot to pack their favorite pair of underwear or that you didn’t buy them that weird knick knack in the quick stop (trust me, my son has long since forgotten about the dancing hula girl he asked me for when he was 3!). They’ll remember all the fun you had together as a family.
Do you have any favorite travel hacks for family vacations? Tell us in the comments!