Traveling with kids requires a whole new level of planning and preparation. Whether you’re taking a road trip to Florida, flying to foreign places, riding in a train through the mountains, or hiking in the woods, you’ll want to pack a few extra items to be best equipped. While the essentials vary depending on the age of your kiddo, here are some things you won’t want to forget:
Traveling hours upon hours can result in a greasy discomfort. And depending on the age of your child, you never know when an “accident” might happen! A wet wipe can help clean off sweat, dirt, and other less-than-pleasant materials.
Chances are, you and your loved ones will get hungry. And there’s nothing quite as unbearable as traveling with a hungry, whiny kid—be it a toddler or a teen. Bring several assorted snacks, packed in small Ziplock baggies to avoid those “hangry” (hungry and angry) moments.
Airplanes are notoriously either scorching hot or ridiculously cold. Be sure to bring a blanket along, so that you can stop the shivers and catch some ZZZs.
Sun Screen and Aloe
Regardless of where it is you’re traveling, sun finds its way. Some SPF protection and aloe vera will help prevent and soothe any burns.
Whether your destination is particularly “buggy” or not, the last thing you want is to be clawing at your skin while traveling. Apply a thin layer of bug spray or lotion to your kiddos throughout the day, just to be certain no lumps and bumps interfere with a good time!
Something to Entertain Them
If you like to limit screen time, bring easily digestible books (maybe audio—the hardback is one less thing to carry around!), crossword puzzles, and learning games. Or, bring a tablet with newly purchased movies, specifically for the trip! This gives the kids something extra special to help keep them entertained during a long flight or car ride. Music, video games, and all that jazz works too!
A first-aid kit is always a good idea. Be sure to pack basic meds for an upset tummy, allergies, a soar throat, any minor injuries, and the like. Nail clippers, Emergen-C packets, and tweezers (for splinters) are a plus!
Pack comfy jackets and raincoats for cooler nights, and in case the weather turns sour. And by all means, don’t forget your undies!
The Right Kind of Shoes
Leave your heels behind, and instead go for the multi-use, comfortable footwear. Vacation isn’t a fashion contest. It’s a time to relax, and you can’t do that walking around in blister-causing shoes.
Chances are, you and your little one(s) will accumulate a few souvenirs along the way, so be sure to pack an extra back to carry on your way back home! Or, if it’s easier, just be sure to leave extra space in your pack.
- Consider Renting Baby-Gear: Depending on the service you choose, it is possible to have baby supplies waiting for you at your hotel, or even delivered to the airport when you arrive to your destination. Some of these services include Jet Set Babies, Babies Travel Lite, or Baby’s Away. If you choose to bring your own baby gear, make sure it’s lightweight and easy to carry. Consider Baby Bjorn’s Travel Crib or Phil and Ted’s Traveler Crib.
- Be sure to Double- and Triple-Check the Flight Schedule: There’s nothing quite as infuriating as showing up to a flight way too early (and of course too late) with a whole family of anxious little travelers.
- Explain Security to Your Young Ones: And while you’re at it, be sure that any “bomb jokes” are not funny.
- Print Boarding Passes at Home: As if you didn’t already have your hands full enough with checking in bags and navigating through airport terminals! Printing at home seriously will save you so much trouble.
- Pack Lightly: Even if you’re taking your own car on a road trip, overcrowding the space is stressful and suffocating. Keep things simple for your own sanity!
- Pack Baby Food, Breast Milk and Formula: Have breast milk and baby foods prepped prior to your drive, train ride, or flight. Airports are now allowing breast milk and other liquids on flights, but be sure to double-check their rules and regulations. Remove these items from your carry-on bag, if flying, so that they can be screened separately from everything else.
By doing a bit of research and packing lightly—yet thoroughly–you’ll save yourself and the kids a lot of trouble later on. The more legwork you can do upfront, the more you can relax once finally on the airplane, in the car headed West, or with your toes in the sand.