25 Hacks For Traveling With Multiple Kids
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These 25+ hacks for traveling with multiple kids are sure to make traveling less stressful and more enjoyable.
Take food with you.
Bring crackers and snacks that will help to tide your little ones over. Chocolate kisses are an excellent way to reward good behavior and give them just a little sweet treat. (The handy Bentgo Kids Childrens Lunch Box shown above is available from Amazon.com)
Sleeping bags or a sleeping bag liner are a good idea.
Sleeping bags or liners can save you if the room you book is too small and will also save you from the “ick” that can sometimes be lurking on the comforter and sheets. The kids will think it is fun to camp out, and you won’t have to worry so much about cleanliness. (The Friendly Swede Travel and Camping Sheet Sleeping Bag Line, shown above, is available from Amazon.com).
Make sure everyone has their own set of headphones.
There is nothing worse than a cacophony of sounds. Give everyone their own set of headphones and earbuds so you can drown each other out and enjoy your own “me” time. (Photo of LilGadgets Untangled Pro Kids Headphones with SharePort. Buy here.)
Invest in a car carrier.
Instead of trying to pack it all in, invest in a carry along for the back, put one on the roof, or even consider renting a van. Sometimes the little extra money invested can make everyone more comfortable and give you a whole lot more silence instead of hearing “Nathan is putting his feet on me…” one hundred times. (The Keeper Waterproof Roof Top Cargo Bag shown above is available from Amazon.com)
Bring games along.
There are a ton of car games that you can bring along. Try to find ones that the whole game can play engage in. Tip: if you need some new games like the above Scavenger Hunt game, check out Amazon.com for “travel games” and filter by age in the left navigation.
When possible, choose accommodations that have laundry.
One of the biggest keys to traveling is to find rooms that have built-in laundry. That will allow you to cut down on the amount of clothes you have to bring. It isn’t a fashion show, the less baggage, the better.
Bring packable jackets.
Packable jackets are those that can be stuffed into a small sack. They are a great space saver if you need a jacket in case it is cool, but not absolutely freezing. There are plenty of options in men’s, women’s and kids’ styles and sizes on Amazon.com.
If you have two kids who don't get along, then don’t sit them next to each other. (Sit them with other siblings instead).
Even if the two personalities that get along either like gangbusters or not at all say they want to sit next to each other, don’t let them. Travel brings out the worst in kids. Tired, crabby and out of sorts will bring out the misery in them individually and combined.
Pack an emergency medicine bag with the essentials
You don’t want to have to find a pharmacy at 2 am. Bring along a little medical bag that has Tylenol, Motrin, Pepto-Bismol, bandages, hydrocortisone cream, band aids and any other quick medical fixes.
Bring device chargers.
Make sure to bring all your device chargers. It is also a good idea to pack double A and triple A batteries if you have other kid’s toys.
Make sure to charge all your devices.
Don’t hop in the car with ten percent left on everyone's mobile device. kids are happier when they have something to play on, not when they are waiting for things to charge!
Factor in the time necessary for frequent breaks.
Don’t be zealous about setting strict timelines. It only sets the stage for missing your plane, getting a speeding ticket or just being stressed out and upset by having to stop.
Only bring three outfits per person.
If you have laundry at your destination, only bring three outfits and wash them to cut down on multiple suitcases.
Bring a cup or airbag.
Because you never know when nausea or motion sickness is going to rear its ugly head, make sure always to carry something that can catch unexpected vomit.
Pack paper towels and wipes.
Things spill, children make a mess, and there is always going to be a need to clean something.... quickly! (There are numerous wipes options at your local store or your favorite online store. These Cottonelle Fresh Care Flushable Wipes can be bought at Amazon.com).
If going by car, try to do most of the driving during sleep or nap times.
It is a whole lot less stressful when children are asleep. Try to choose times when it is sleep or nap time.
Let your kids wear whatever is comfy for them while on the go.
If they want to wear their footed pajamas, then let them do it. It is more important for them to be comfortable than for them to look good. Also, make sure to have an extra outfit on hand, you just never know what life is going to bring, and if all your clothes are stuck in the suitcase, it can make your flight miserable, wet and uncomfortable.
Have rollers on suitcases and combine everyone’s things into one.
Even the little ones want to help shoulder the burden. If you allow them to carry their things, it will take some weight off of you. Invest in a suitcase on wheels and it will free up your hands.
Don’t give it all the fun at once.
The mistake that we make is to give away all the tricks and fun within the first hour. Try to piecemeal games, electronics, and food, to extend the fun for the long haul.
If driving, gas up before you leave.
Having a full tank will help you to get some distance underway before you have to stop. Once you stop, it is contagious.
Make a last minute checklist for must haves.
There are things that can be replaced and then those that can’t. Make sure to list all the important things like binkies, medicines, or comfort objects that can’t be replaced in transit.
Bring a bottle or lollipop for airplane trips.
Even if your little ones are too big for bottles, bring something for them to suck on. When the plane takes off, that sucking and swallowing motion will save them from ear pressure pain.
Not just for them, for you. You never know when motion sickness is going to hit! (Before you go, sure to check what ages Dramamine is appropriate for and what the correct dosages would be if needed).
Allergy medicine is a must, just in case.
Even if your little ones aren’t prone to allergies, having Benadryl will save you just in case they ingest or get bitten by something. It can also be a great way to calm their fears if they are afraid of flying. Just make sure always to follow the dosing instructions.
Use your personal hotspot, or talk to your carrier about getting one.
A lot of devices can become personal hotspot wifi.
Check out the weather to know what to bring.
Don’t assume you know what the weather is going to be like when you get there. That may leave you spending a fortune on sweatshirts and extra shoes. Find out what the forecast is for your destination before you pack things up.
Find a kid friendly place to stay.
The more activities you have on site, the more relaxing you and do. Find a hotel or resort that has things like “kids clubs” or activities to keep your little ones entertained. We all want five-star accommodations, but sometimes it is better to have some time off and go for the three to four star.
Have some plan of things to do before you get there, book trips ahead, etc.
You don’t want to spend your vacation time calling around and making reservations, or finding things to do. Research the area, and, when possible, plan day excursions to keep everyone entertained and make sure that they aren’t sold out.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Don’t worry too much about the journey. Sometimes you have to let the little things go and count to ten before you overreact. Being in small quarters can be very frustrating. You may want to consider some Dramamine or allergy medication for yourself.
Realize that you won’t remember the bad stuff.
When you look back at vacation with your little ones what you will remember are the smiles and the times you spent together, not the miserableness that can sometimes come with travel. Try to gloss over the stress and frustration of getting there, and focus on the things that really matter, like the memories you are building for a lifetime.