We recently took a trip over winter break! So exciting, but now always a stressful time since becoming a parent! Outside of packing for myself and my 5 year old daughter, I realize that there are certain things that really help minimize added stress throughout the process. So, here are the best tips I can come up with.
1) TSA Precheck: As simple as this sounds, it really helps as usually there are shorter security lines. As anyone with a toddler or young child can attest to, anything that appeases to an approximately 45 second attention span, is a good thing. I would also add checking in online to this point as we all know how long check in lines can take. At least this way you will only to stop by the bag drop desk.
2) Snacks: Simple, but such a necessity. I am usually the perpetually unprepared mom while on the go. I forget to pack after school snacks daily, my girl is always hangry with me as a result, and I always lose track of time between meals or eating. Avoiding this while traveling is definitely something you want! So plan ahead here. There is nothing worse than dragging your screaming child through an airport while trying to get to your gate on time. And as much as we all love a good healthy snack, I prefer to have something that I know my child will eat every time.
3) Toys: Obvious, but with space restrictions, the need to be discreet is vital. Time to gather up all those small toys that you always keep piled in a Ziploc, box, or storage container! Our girl is in charge of carrying her own toys. This way she knows what size, how many, and how heavy her items can be. Also this is a great way to use that extra makeup bag to save space and sanity to assure all these small items are kept in the same place, and easily reachable all at the same time. Again, nothing worse than a public meltdown because the one action figure that is buried in the very bottom of your carry on bag, up in overhead, is literally the one your child will want. RIGHT. NOW.
4) Layovers: See the aforementioned dragging your child through an airport. But seriously, I’ve come to realize, against my better planning, preparing, explaining, your child will NOT rush to get anywhere. Better take that extra hour (if it’s scheduled) to let that child run, play, explore. I am usually a hater of layovers, as I just want to get to my destination, but now that I’m a parent, I’ve learned to slow down and just let things be. I much more enjoy the fulfilled curiosity of my child, than the whiney bored curiosity that hates grown up things.
5) Games: Again, simple, but necessary. If your child is anything like mine, they will be bored. A lot. So having something to give them and distract them is key. Games can be in any form. Small puzzles, travel games, coloring books, workbooks, whatever your child likes. However, we like “I spy” the best. No tools necessary, it’s always changing, and can go on forever!
What are your favorite tips for traveling with children?