Family Travel Tips
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First of all, congratulations to any and all newly-minted graduates! Well done – now go on and reach for those stars!
For you, and for many many families, this post will find you shouting, “Summer Vacation Ahoy!” No doubt there are summer trips ahead, and thus, it’s time to get organized!
But first, if you’re travelling abroad with your family, it’s vital that you’ve all had the recommended vaccinations to ensure you are protected against any potentially deadly infections and diseases. The PharmaVaccs website is a useful resource to use while planning your trip as it contains information regarding the necessary vaccinations for various vacation destinations. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s always better to be safe and prepared where your family’s health is concerned.
Travelling, though exciting and exhilarating, can induce anxiety and stress, especially when children are involved! Whether your’re traveling alone, with a single partner, or with a large family, stash these family travel tips in your travel arsenal to master the art of reducing travel stress.
PACKING FOR YOUR SUMMER TRIP
Clean Your Room BEFORE you Pack
This may be the last thing on your mind while in the throes of getting ready for a trip, but this may be highest on the list of family travel tips experts recommend. If the laundry is done and put away, all belongings are tidied up, and the bed is made before packing commences, it allows for more streamlined item selection. It’s easier to identify and choose favorite articles of clothing, and to check specific clothes off a packing list. We are also less likely to forget things we need, and it’s easier to pack on a neatly made bed than a messy one. Plus, everyone loves to come home to a clean house! Too busy or stressed? We can help with a one-time cleaning, regular cleaning service, or with home organization.
Roll With It, Baby
Most travel experts recommend rolling clothes instead of folding. By rolling up each article of clothing, your clothes stay less wrinkled and often take up the least amount of space. We’ve also come across a packing method called bundling, where you wrap your clothing around itself, with your most wrinkle-proof things in the center. One Bag, a website devoted to packing efficiency, seems to swear by it!
Another space and time saving idea is the Pick and Roll Packing strategy. The concept? PICK each day’s outfit BEFORE-HAND, then ROLL each outfit as one bundle (undies, socks, pants/shorts/skirt, & shirt). This makes organization and decision-making on the road and at your destination much much simpler! This is incredibly helpful with youngsters who can’t choose their own outfits yet!
In addition, if you’re on a multi-day road trip, you won’t have to lug in ALL your luggage each night – just your overnight kit and your ROLL for the next day. Brilliant!
ROAD TRIPPIN? HOW TO KEEP IT SANE!
Keep a trash bag in the car!
This may seem like the biggest no-brainer in the history of mankind, but we’re amazed at how many travelers don’t do this! Whether it’s a simple plastic bag, a recycled container, or a fancy auto trash can, put something within your reach to throw out your trash, and the floorboards don’t count! A few options for different applications:
Make a Travel Timeline
Let your children visualize your trip with this simple and fun timeline craft. Have your children draw pictures that represent each city or state that you will be traveling past. All you will need to pack in the car to make your own time line need is string, a hole punch, makers and paper clips.
Use Travel Organizers – You can find these everywhere – and for good reason. They flat-out work at helping keep your car well-stocked and organized. Keep one in your trunk for groceries, shopping bags, and sports gear. Hang one on the back of the front seat filled with your kids stuff: sippy cups, books, toys, and other essentials they need for a car ride.
Food Travel Kit – Using a tackle box or a similar box with dividers, raid the kitchen and assemble this snack kit before your next road trip. It will turn a simple snack into entertaining fun!
Organizing Junkie has great tips for corralling art supplies, DVD player, wipes, and snacks all in one handy place. There are some great printable picture packing lists the kids can use to get ready for the trip.
SUMMER TRAVEL INCLUDE LIFT OFF?
Wherever you go, Pack Light! Watching children carrying and moving around with multiple and heavy suitcases is stressful. You’ll be going through check-in lines, security, pushing strollers, rolling carry ons, plus managing the kids – and no one will be offering to help you. Do yourself a favor and pack light!
From Head to Toe – Wear slip-on shoes and nothing too metallic – you’ll be thankful when you get to security. Simple clothing is best, especially if you have to use the bathroom while holding a baby. Bring or wear a sweater since airplanes tend to be cold.
Don’t Forget to Take Care of You – When flying with kids it’s easy for adults to focus so much on their kids that they forget to make sure they have a few things that help reduce their stress (food, books, tablet, etc.)
AIR TRAVEL TIPS FOR KIDS
No one wants to be THAT family. You know, the family with the screaming baby, the tantrum-ing toddler, or the demanding diva. While you certainly can’t make a guarantee against these scenarios, with these family air travel tips you can certainly increase your chances!
Here are a few highlights to whet your appetite. There are whole blog sites dedicated to this topic, so use this guide as a primer and a springboard.
Use Backpacks not Rolling Suitcases – for you carry-ons. For young kids, especially, it’s difficult to navigate narrow aisles and sharp corners with a “wheelie.” Most kids can carry a backpack with everything they’ll need for the flight.
Always check in and confirm your seat assignment online before you leave for the airport. Definitely print boarding passes & put them in your carryon! Set a calendar reminder on your smartphone to remind you the moment they become printable!
Most airports have of wide-open spaces. Use these areas to encourage your kids to get some wiggles out. The time between checking in and boarding is not a time to “sit still.” They’ll be doing that on the plane! Wear them out if possible! Many airports now have family-friendly play areas. Identify them & use them!
For family vacations where you are not going to be in your own vehicle, you will want to consider a car rental service like e-mietwagenkreta who have a whole range of cars to suit families of any size. They operate in Crete and can deliver your car to a convenient location, be that your hotel or the airport.
Airborne Activities – Keep the kids busy on long trip with a DIY Portable LEGO Kit and Activity Cards. A great idea for those times where you have to wait.
Debbie at Deliciousbaby.com is one of the country’s most influential family travel gurus. Here’s her “Top 10 Tips for Keeping a Toddler Busy on a Plane:”
- 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?”
- Put some fun pictures onto your digital camera (you’re carrying it anyway). Good candidates are pictures of the people and places you are going to visit or pictures of a recent adventure (like the zoo). During the flight, you can relive the fun and tell stories about where/who you’re visiting.
- When the flight attendant delivers drinks, ask for a cup, a couple ice cubes, and a straw. There are endless games with this combination. Ice is fascinating to toddlers in and of itself, and you can teach them to swirl it on the bottom of the cup, or catch it on the straw (airplane ice usually has a hole in the middle). Watch that the ice doesn’t end up in their mouth though (choking hazard).
- Teach yourself some new finger rhymes (e.g. “where is thumbkin”) before you go.
- Get your children playing with the neighbors in front of and behind you before the plane takes off. (Peek-a-boo and kiss-blowing are hard for even the most stoic travelers to resist). Your seat-mates will be a lot more understanding if your children have a difficult time later once they’ve seen them at their cutest, and you never know what fun entertainment they’ll come up with.
- Extend snack time by challenging your child. “What is the is the smallest bite you can take” or “see if you can eat just one at a time (tricky for little fingers). Pack your snacks in Tupperware & the packaging becomes a toy when the snack is done.
- For young toddlers, screwing and unscrewing the top on a plastic water bottle is great fun (watch carefully as small tops are a choke hazard). Ask the flight attendant to bring you an empty bottle if you’re not carrying one.
- Learning how to fasten and unfasten an “old fashioned” seatbelt, jacket zipper, and snaps or buttons on their clothing (or a carryon bag) can keep them occupied for a long time
- Have your toddler help you make up fanciful stories about what you will do on your trip. For young toddlers, they might choose between two options, while older kids will be able to fill in parts of the stories.
- Three words: Barf bag puppets