10 tips for traveling with kids (without going crazy)

Toy car on map

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  (WOTV)- Charge the IPAD- enough said.  Just kidding- well maybe only a little.  Every parent knows having a tablet handy in the car or on a plane can be really helpful in keeping kids occupied for extended periods of time, but there are lots of other tips to try too.  It all starts with taking the time to prepare.  If you’re headed up north or across the country you really need to think through the trip from start to finish to make sure you have the comforts of home without going overboard.

Successful travel with kids 101

Woman sitting on a full suitcase

1. Start early.  As you get ready to pack suitcases you’ll find that something important is inevitably dirty and you’ll have to do a load of laundry.  When I went to pack my son’s bag for an upcoming trip up north I realized that he certainly didn’t have enough clean underwear! Never a good start for a 3-year-old.  Bring a small container of laundry soap too!

Housework: young woman doing laundry

2. Make a running list.   As I pack I start to jot down a list of things that are still needed for that bag so I don’t forget.  Sometimes you can’t add those items until the last minute like medicine, blankies and stuffed animals and when you’re in a rush with needy kids you’ll be happy to refer to your list.

black travel suitcases and backpack with clothing

3. Let your child help.  This is new for us but it working great.  Let your young child fill a bag with their favorite toys so they have the items they want most.  You may be surprised with what they choose.

Waiting for summer vacation

4. Don’t forget bedtime stories.  If you’re like me, every night you read a few books before bed.  Pack a collection of lightweight books so you can stick to your routine.

Close-up of two girls reading a book in bed

5. Think through each day.  Plan ahead by running through each day’s agenda to make sure you have whatever they may need.  For example on Tuesday you know you’re headed to the beach so make sure you’ve got sunscreen, a hat, swimsuit and a life jacket.  On Thursday you’re planning a hike so bringing Tennis shoes and socks is a must.  Thinking it through will save you a lot of frustration while you’re away.

maranda Child Swimming

6. Call ahead.  Baby and kids stuff can be bulky!  Call ahead to find out what may be provided by the hotel like a crib/pack n’ play/high chair ect.   See if your weekend host can borrow from a neighbor whose grandkids may not be in town ect. so you don’t have to haul big items.

woman on phone

7.Snacks and sips.  Don’t forgot lots of munchies and drinks for the car.  Nothing makes kids happier than munching away on the road.  You’ll also want to bring some wet wipes to keep things clean and a bag for trash.

Three girls (6-8 years) sitting on rear seat of car on road trip

8. Bring something to do.  Depending on the age of your children you’ll want to find lots of things to keep them busy.  Books, activities, travel games, the IPAD or toys are always great ideas.

Mother and son with a book in the car

9. Always pack medicine.  Don’t forget the Tylenol, Benadryl, cough syrup ect.  I also bring a bag of go to meds because parents know healthy kids can get sick in a snap and you’ll be happy you planned ahead.

first aid

10. Plan around nap time.  When it’s time to hit the road make sure your little ones are ready for a nap.  Taking a snooze for an hour or two will make the time pass by a little quicker for everyone.

Safe travels, relax and have fun with your familiy!

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