Over the River and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go.... I love that song but oh how times have changed. Back when you took a sleigh and horse to grandmas is a thing of the past and we would rather take our cars and airplanes to get there fast. Back in my flight attendant day I loved seeing families heading out for the holidays. I learned a lot about traveling with kids and the ins and outs of airport travel. The good and the bad. So today I am going to share with you my tips and trick to navigating your travel plans with kids! Because we all know if the kids are happy in the air or on the road, Mom and Dad are happy too!
Before any Trip away from Home:
1. Have a family meeting- Sit down with your kids a day or two before you leave home. Talk to your kids about your travel plans. Set your expectations. Talk to them about where you are going, how long it will take, and what they will need. Make a plan as a family to help the kids have good behavior while traveling. I loved this idea, Keep the Coins. This helps kids stay accountable for there own behavior and rewards them if they keep the family travel rules. What a brilliant idea! Money can motivate. Just be sure to stick with the program and follow through.
2. Always eat a healthy meal before you leave. When families hit the road for the holidays or vacation they usually eat a lot of fast food. Start off your vacation smart and have a healthy meal. Your kids will be happier if they have a full stomach.
A lot of families consider car time as family time. Use this time to talk to your kids without all the pressure. You will be surprised what your kids will start talking about in a casual conversation.
3. To keep your kids entertained try using Books on Cd. Since my kids were about 5 they have loved listening to books on road trips. My husband and I even enjoy listening to them. Some of our favorites are Fablehaven, Percy Jackson, Adventures Wanted and the Tree house series. We use these books as a learning tool in our car. Our boys frequently ask us to stop the book and ask us questions about what a word means or to explain to them what is happening if they don't understand. Using these Cd's as a learning tool has really helped their reading ability and school work.
4. Play a game. Try playing a travel game. Here are a few I found in the blog world. Some are free or very inexpensive.
5. Pack a Healthy Snack: When we travel I try to pack a small cooler of Healthy treats and snacks packed with Protein. Cutting down on the sugar and increasing the protein can help cut down on tantrums and hungry kids. We love packing Nuts, Jerky, String Cheese, Yogurt Tubes, 100% Juice, Water bottles, fresh fruits and veggies.
6. Most kids love technology, use a GPS or have a map that goes from point A to point B. Show stopping points and rest stops on the map. Your kids can learn a little geography and know how much further you have to drive before the next stop.
7. Plan your flights. Know your itinerary. If you can, try to get from point A to Point B in the shortest amount of time. Sometimes it costs a little more, but when it comes to your kids it may be worth it. The less stops you make the fewer delays you will encounter.
8. If traveling with a baby, be sure to pack a couple extra diapers, a pacifier or two and an extra outfit. I use to pack one diaper for every hour I am on the plane. You will never be sad about having a few extras. I was asked more than once of we had diapers on board or had a baby taken off the plane wrapped up in a blanket because they blew out a diaper and there only outfit.
9. Before boarding the plane, play a game in the gatehouse with your kids. Kids always have extra energy. Before boarding the airplane get them up and play Simon Says, use the bathroom, or have them do some exercises like jumping jacks or jog in place. Burning off a little energy can go a long way.
10. When traveling on an airplane you want to travel light but also have what you need to keep your kids entertained. I let my kids have a small bag of things to do and snacks. I like to have my kids bags ready to go. I fill the bags with small wrapped toys and snacks with a time on them. At the time designated they are allowed to open the next item. Same goes for snacks. Her are a few travel friendly toys you can make.
11. Know your car seat. Be sure the car seat has airplane guidelines. Most car seats with a 3 or 5 point harness can be used on board. If your seat is more of a booster, you will not be able to use it. Save yourself the hassle and check it.
12. During take off and landing have gum on hand for the older kids and a pacifier or bottle for the younger ones. This will help relieve ear pressure and discomfort. Everyone on board will appreciate it!
Just remember your are traveling with kids. They can be unpredictable and get frustrated when they are out of there element. Remember to be patient and just enjoy your vacation.
What are some of your travel tips??