The weather is getting warmer and you’re itching to take the family on a summer getaway. Let’s face it, traveling can be hard for adults and children. As parents, we know that traveling with a baby/toddler means planning a detailed packing list days in advance. Forgoing a packing list runs the risk that you’ll forget important items that will cost you a pretty penny on your trip. To help you prepare for your travels, I’ve come up with a list of 7 tips to keep you sane and enjoy your trip!
Tip #1: Do your homework
Not every destination is “kid friendly”, so make sure you’ve done your research. Just because you want to go there, doesn’t mean your kids do too. Look for attractions that the whole family can enjoy!
Take a peek at recommendations from websites such as Trip Advisor to plan out activities, dining, and more! Reviews can be very helpful and can save you from unpleasant experiences during your trip.
Tip #2: Location, location, location!
Consider booking a hotel or Air B&B/VRBO close to the main attractions to cut down on your travel time back and forth. Don’t rule out public transportation. Buses, trollies, metro, light rails can reduce your daily travel costs. Your wallet will thank you and you’ll unlock money to be used in other parts of your trip.
Tip #3: Take some advice
Know someone who’s been on the same trip? Give them a call or text to get advice about what’s hot and not in the area. Your friend will likely have similar interests and their recommendations may come in handy!
Tip #4: Write a packing list
No one really wants to write a packing list, but you’ll thank me later for doing it. Write it by hand or type it up to print off - just promise me you’ll write one! When preparing your packing list, consider including lines for item quantities. I like using check box bullets to quickly see what I’ve added to my bags.
I like to set-up my packing list by “carry-on” and “checked bags” when I’m flying. If you’re driving, you could organize your list by “car bag” and “luggage” to keep it simple. The carry-on/car bag is going to include everything you need immediate access to on the trip.
Checked bags/luggage is everything you can do without. If it gets lost in transit, you’re not going to have a mental breakdown. When doing your research back in tip #1, check to see if your lodging provides access to washer and dryer units. If you can wash your clothes, you won’t have to pack for every day and will leave room in your bags for souvenirs.
Remember, when you’re packing your carry-on/car bag, plan for the worse case scenario. That means extra clothes for your little ones, more snacks that you think they’ll eat, more diapers than you think they’ll wear, and medicine/first aid supplies.
At the end of the article is a snapshot of part of my packing list. I hope it will help you design your own!
Tip #5: Throw some rules out the window
Hold strong to rules that your kiddos really need to follow - especially when safety is involved. You may want to think ahead about rules like bedtimes, food, and purchases. Do you want to bend these while you’re on vacation? Talk with your partner to make sure you’re both on the same page.
Tip #6: Be flexible with your normal schedules
When traveling with little ones, be aware that their normal nap and eating times may be different. Change is harder on kids than adults. Be flexible and meet them where they are. Give yourself grace and plan to unplan = taking things off the itinerary. You may have to make sacrifices on your trip to ensure your little ones are happy and healthy.
Tip #7: Don’t forget the purpose of your trip
Need to say it? Have FUN! Remember your “why” for the trip. Is it to relax? Be adventurous? Try new food? Teach your little ones? Good ole’ fashioned fun?
Hold on to your “why” and enjoy your trip!