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Tips for Stress Free Travel With Kids

November 5th, 2010 · No Brilliant Opinions · Travel Tips

  1. Keep ‘em snacking – We like cut up pieces of fruit, raisins, crackers, baby carrots.  We usually place snacks in sandwich bags, with individual ones for each  child.  Nothing provokes more mid-air  fights  than having to share a snack with a sibling.
  2. Extra Clothes – Always have a change of clothing (including undies) for yourself and your kids in your carry on bag.  I have been through unexpected bouts of diarrhea and vomiting both on car trips and in the air.
  3. DVDs, CDs, IPods, Books, Games, Cards – A busy kid travels well.  We have our kids read on their ipads (the 10 hour battery is great for international trips and long road trips).  Actually, my daughter reads and my son plays video games and downloads movies.  For older kids, there are great magnetic games in a tin flat box (i.e. checkers and tic-tac-toe) available at www.stirlingfox.com
  4. Hydrate and Lubricate – Skip the soda and opt for water.  Also the lips and skin can get dry, so keep some lip balm and lotion (no more than 3 ounces) in your carry on.
  5. Have a Plan – You may really want the kids to appreciate modern art….but they may really love that water park.  Plan events the the whole family will enjoy.  Now that our kids are older, we ask every family member to pick a place or activity they want to see while on vacation.  That way we can enjoy Rembrandt and roller-coasters.  When visiting popular attractions, go online and purchase tickets, passes etc ahead of time.
  6. Consider renting a vacation home or condo – Hotels can make for close quarters for families.  We usually rent a home when we travel.  The benefits include spacious quarters for two or more families, a full kitchen (which decreases our meal costs), laundry room and often a pool and/or hot tub.
  7. Rent Your Gear – Consider renting your car seats, pack-n-play, and strollers at your destination.  This is a popular service in many resort areas that cater to families.   In addition, some hotels and vacation homes can provide these services.
  8. Pack Light – But Don’t Forget Your Sense of Humor – Purchase small suitcases, ideally they should be able to fit in the over head space, even if you plan to check your bags.  A few tee shirts, shorts, undies, sandals, sneakers, swimsuit and sweater is often all you will need on vacation.  Think about clothing that layers well.  Bring sturdy, good looking items that can you can mix and match.  If you took my advice and rented a vacation home, you will be able to launder your clothing as needed.
  9. Know Customs Regulations and Restrictions for Carry-On  Luggage – Make sure the kids don’t have coins in their pockets. We also make sure they wear socks on the way to the airport so they are not standing on a cold, dirty floor during the shoe check.  Take out your electronics and turn on laptops, e-readers as required.  I like to place all my cell phone, lap-top, and electronic cords in a gallon sized ziploc bag, instead of randomly tossing them into my bag so they don’t resemble cords running through my bag  to a home made bomb.
  10. Stop trying to sneak in the bottled water, rum and wine. Remember the rule of threes for fluids during air travel.  (There is an exemption for breast milk, baby formula, and larger amounts of prescription liquid medications but you should declare these items at the screening point.) Liquids, gels and aerosols must be in 3 ounce or smaller containers and fit into a one quart zip top bag.  The zip top bag should be removed at the check point and placed in a bin on the conveyor belt.
  11. Don’t Be A DUMB DUMB – Get the GUM GUM. If you are traveling by plane, take lots of sugar-free gum for when that air pressure causes painful ears.


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