We’re getting ready for a big vacation out west in just a few short weeks. Can I tell you how excited I am? Really, super-duper, terrifically excited. My husband and I will get to visit with our parents and siblings (many we haven’t seen in over 4 years), our children will be able to get to know their awesome cousins (and get in some serious playtime), we’ll do some camping and we’ll visit our favorite sites in Utah (namely Temple Square and BYU).
But I do have a little apprehension when it comes to the actual travelling time. Driving 2 hours to the airport, hauling all our gear through the airport, and on the airplane for 6 hours (including a stop) with 3 children in tow. It makes me tired to think about it.
So of course…I’ve been doing my research on traveling with kids and staying sane. Here are the best tips I’ve found that I think will work for us:
Snacks are essential: hungry kids are grumpy kids.
Bring the magnadoodle: I bought one for my first flight with the Ant Bug when she was 17 months old. It comes to church with us every week and is still going strong.
Load up the iPod with music and books and movies. (What I would really like is one of these. It would entertain us all).
Play I Spy and favorite finger/nursery rhymes (I think I’ll look for a few new one’s to share).
Crayons and coloring books are a must have.
Encourage creativity. Pipe cleaners can be twisted into shapes or threaded with cheerios. Colored painters tape is fun to stick on bodies and to make shapes with, and it’s easy to clean-up.
Bring out the toys and activities slowly, one at a time. Maybe even wrap them up to prolong the excitement.
Don’t forget the specials: blankies, beloved stuffed animal or doll, etc.
Go on a scavenger hunt through the airplane magazine. On each page, pick one item that your child has to locate. For older children, hand them the magazine and say “can you find a picture of an airplane?” (Idea found here).
Refer to this list on Delicious Baby to help me pack.
If you’re doing any traveling this summer, be sure to check out the links below for a lot of great ideas.
Delicious Baby: Family Travel Tips: everything from packing lists to travel toys to preparing your children for travel. There is a ton of helpful information on this site, I spent almost an hour just browsing there.
Tiffany at Simply Modern Mom wrote a series of posts on Traveling with Children. Her Traveling Tips for Children: Flying Domestically post had a lot of good reminders, as well as her General Children Traveling Tips post.
Simple Mom:7 Ideas for Screen-Free Travel with Kids: Play games (don’t forget I Spy or 20 Questions), sing songs, read books, tell stores, write notes, take pictures, be quiet.
Organizing Your Way: Minimizing the Stress when Traveling with Children: Pack ahead, simplify, and plan activities.
Organizing Your Way: Share Your Best Tip for Traveling with Children: Many great reader suggestions.