Traveling with your kids this spring break? Here are some tips for making traveling easier when you’re bringing the kids, and EVERY mom could use that, right?
1. Pack Light
Bring only the essentials. The more you bring, the more you have to keep up with and the heavier the bags. Some car rental companies also rent child safety seats and some hotels offer childproof rooms or cribs upon request. Call ahead and find out which items you can cut from your packing list.
2. Expect the Unexpected
Not to contradict tip #1, but make sure you have plenty of what you need in your carry-on: diapers, wipes (which are great for a multitude of things), medications, change of clothes, snacks, and a secret coloring book.
3. What Kind of Toys to Bring
Be sure to bring something to keep everyone entertained, but leave the singing Barneys and beeping video games at home. You and everyone else will be glad you did. Backpacks for each child: Toddler or teen – give each child his own backpack to carry with their chosen toys/books/etc. The catch is if they pack it, they carry it. Trust me, one heavy backpack experience and they’ll learn just how much to take to Grandma’s.
4. Car Seat Must Knows
Car seats Do NOT count as checked luggage on any airline. You will NOT be charged. Get yourself a durable car seat cover and check it for your trip. Nicole’s secret tip: when your suitcase is over 50 lbs, avoid the overweight fees and stick some of those extra clothes in the car seat bag.
5. Airplane Seats
If your child is under the age of two, then he/she technically does NOT need a paid seat on the plane. Be prepared to prove your child’s age. I.E. – birth certificate. I recommend that you purchase a seat for your infant once the child is mobile (even if he’s only one year) especially for flights over 2 hours in length. The airplane seat allows them their own space to wiggle and dramatically reduces on-board melt-downs.
6. Security Screening
TSA Security Screening can really delay you if you aren’t prepared. Know this: medications, baby formula and food, breast milk, and juice are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Plan ahead! Practice getting that stroller broken down quickly!
7. Breakfast Tips
Eat breakfast where kids eat free and split meals. This can mean an enormous saving for a family of four or larger. Children are many times too excited or tired to eat much at a time. Restaurants that are kid friendly are more than happy to accommodate special requests for extra plates. Many do free meals for kids (with the purchase of an adult meal) on different days of the week.
Bring your own stroller. If you’re going to visit theme parks then this can save you $7 to $30 (for a double) a day in rental fees. We love the SUMMER INFANT 3DFlip Convenience Stroller – it’s light and super simple to fold and carry with a special strap. It also has a reversible seat design that allows the baby to face you or face away from you. Brilliant to keep baby’s face out of the sun.
9. Water Bottles
Bring along individual refillable water bottles. These can be refilled at the hotel and at restaurants around your destination. A family of four could easily spend $20 or more a day just buying water.
10. Most Important Tip!
The most important tip of all is to be flexible. Lines will be long, traffic will be heavy, flights will be delayed and children (and adults) will get grumpy. But with just a little planning and an open mind, you’ll survive and enjoy another family vacation.