Summertime is a great time to plan a vacation. But sometimes the thought of adding a baby and little kids into the mix can be a little daunting.
Here are some travel tips and tricks to ensure that you have a successful summer vacation with children in tow.
On a Plane
- Prepare for a delay. Make sure you have food, spare clothing, diapers and wipes with you to last up to 48 hours in the event you have a flight delay.
- Be smart about where you sit. When possible, be aware of the areas of the plane that may have more room and can better accommodate your kids.
- Fly direct if you can. While it can be more costly, a direct flight minimizes the down time and stress that can come with a layover and connecting flight.
- Make sure you say you're sorry. If your child is being disruptive, communicate with the people sitting around you. Often times it's the parents' perceived indifference that annoys passengers more than the disruption itself.
- Bring a stroller and/or carrier; leave the car seat at home. If your child is a toddler, you're better off leaving her car seat at home. If applicable, rent a car seat with your rental car, and it will be ready to go when you arrive. Also, travel with a stroller or other means of transporting your kids. The older ones will appreciate having a "home base" and get a break from walking. And if you have a newborn, a carrier is a great way to go.
- Help soothe earaches. Use a pacifier, nurse or feed your child a bottle on takeoff and landing to ensure her ears pop. If you have toddlers, give them a special treat for takeoff and landing that they can chew to avoid earaches.
On a Road Trip
- Pack the car the night before. Babies have a lot of gear, so save yourself time and stress by packing your car ahead of time. That way, you can just grab the baby and go.
- Keep the important stuff accessible. Whether it's a couple of diapers and wipes, some extra toys and snacks, it's a good idea to have the necessities within arm's reach. That way, you don't have to pull over every time your baby chucks her toy out of her carseat.
- Create a playlist for baby, and a playlist for you. If you have toddlers, this can be especially useful. Make a playlist of their favorite songs (and, if you're super savvy, some of their favorite podcasts or stories) to make the drive a little more pleasant. And, once they're asleep, put on yours and have a little jam session.
- Don't be afraid to let them have a little screen time. Whether it's tablet time, or setting up a movie on a laptop, don't be afraid to break up the trip with a little technology. Especially if you're going to be in the car for a prolonged period of time.
General Tips and Tricks
- Call your hotel to see if they have a crib or pack-n-play available in your room. That way, you won't have to take up valuable real estate in your luggage.
- Take a stain stick and a travel-sized detergent with you. Kids can get dirty, and you'll be able to hand wash items in your hotel room if a laundromat isn't readily available.
- Childproof your hotel room first, and nix the mini bar. Also consider booking adjacent rooms for better sleep, keeping the connecting door open throughout the night.
- Take reading books and games for the whole family. If your kids are old enough, have them each wear a backpack filled with some personal items and other activities catered to their preferences.
- Have fun! You're creating memories to last a lifetime and providing a great opportunity to bond as a family. Whatever inconveniences you may experience are totally worth it.