Before kids, planning a vacation simply meant grabbing your swimsuit and stealing away to a romantic destination. But traveling with kids is a whole new story. When you have to remember everything from the pack ‘n play to sippy cups, the carseat, and more, things can get overwhelming – fast. But before you cancel the airline tickets, check out these inspired hacks for vacationing with kids.
Don’t get caught with a potty training toddler in a long TSA line at the airport. Instead, get in the family lane and ward off meltdowns before they start. You can usually find these life-saving fast lanes at major airports.
Looking for ways to survive the flight? Create busy bags: Simply fill a pencil pouch with stickers, post it notes, colored pencils, and small toys. Check your local dollar store for ideas. And be sure to pack plenty of fun, filling snacks for the flight. You don’t want to be stuck waiting for the drink cart to satisfy all your little one’s requests (or to appear on demand). And in case of emergency, pack a few bribes, ahem – candy. It works wonders for motivating calm behavior.
Fill a Ziploc baggie with child proofing tools. It just takes a second to throw together basic outlet protectors, night lights, and a roll of painter’s tape for softening sharp furniture edges. Need inspiration? Take a fresh look around your own house to see what tools you can’t live without.
Have a child who is too young to memorize your cell phone number? Look into temporary tattoos or QR-code bracelets with your info on them in case they lose sight of you. Or go hi-tech with their safety and get a GPS-enabled tracker watch.
Pack by the day, not by the family member. Consolidate everyone’s clothes for Monday in one grocery bag, everyone’s clothes for Tuesday in another, and so on. That way you can avoid rummaging through multiple suitcases each morning. Try to find a unit with a washing machine to reduce baggage fees. Then, simply pack sandwich baggies filled with a scoop of laundry powder each.
Look for vacation rentals that specify they’re child-friendly. When these are available, they often include baby gear such as a pack ‘n play, crib sheets, etc. These can be a life-saver and save you from checking mountains of gear.
Need to eat in the hotel? Try packing instant oatmeal packets for breakfast, and all you’ll need is water and a microwave. The same theory works for lunch: find microwavable bowls of mac and cheese for when the kids get tired of sandwiches. And when you first arrive, stick a few yogurt tubes and applesauce squeezes in the freezer. These make great ice packs for a long day in the sun.