As a frequent traveler and mother of three young children, I’ve learned a lot of lessons about how to travel with my family so everyone stays happy and (mostly) sane. Trial by fire through the years, but we love to explore new places and make amazing memories with our children, regardless of how young or old they are. What you won’t see in the travel photos I post online is all the planning that went into that trip, the inevitable tantrums, tears and looks of disapproval from my tween.
To set myself up for success, these are the guidelines I follow every single time when traveling with my kids.
I plan flights or travel arrangements around my kid’s normal schedule. In the past, we didn’t care what flights we booked because money was tight and YES, I WANT THE CHEAPEST FLIGHT. But now that we’re older (read: more financially stable) we can be selective with the flights we want because: my kids are monsters if they don’t get their sleep. I avoid flights with extra early wake-up calls, red-eye flights and when possible, flights that avoid nap time. Of course, those longer, international flights are a whole different ball game, but for any domestic flight, paying a little extra for a mid-afternoon take-off time is totally worth having a happy kid versus a fussy one.
I bring snacks. AND LOTS OF THEM. Traveling is the perfect time to bring the ‘special’ snacks, meaning, the snacks every kid wants that I never buy. I’m a little strict about the healthy snacks around the house, and of course I pack those too (cucumbers, celery, clementines, or apple slices) but it’s a nice surprise when I crack out mini boxes of sugary cereal, small bags of chips or M&M’s. Pro tip: be sure to save a few extra treats because BRIBERY (the things my kids will do for a Dorito…)
Purchase a few new toys. These toys don’t have to be fancy, they just have to be new and something they have never seen before to keep the kids occupied for a few minutes. I’m talking dollar store finds or some coloring books, stickers or activity sets from the Dollar Spot at Target. They aren’t expensive, so you don’t have to feel guilty if they don’t end up liking it, spending a lot of time with it or losing it.
External batteries and extra charging cords are LIFE. We travel with 1+ device per person, so I always carry external batteries and charging cords - no matter where my family is traveling. It's so hard to find outlets at the airport, so this ensures a fully charged Kindle or iPad for the kiddos all day long. (Check Amazon for some great options.)
Have an extra change of clothes for everyone. Have you ever lost your luggage with 3 young children after flying 7 hours to Hawaii? No? Because we have! And did we freak out? NO! Because I checked all our bags except one carry on, which had pajamas, diapers, extra baby food, medications, toiletries and a change of clothes for each family member. So, we could get on with our vacation and not have to worry.
What are your go-to tips for traveling with your kids? For more tips from me, visit LaurensLatest.com!