8 Easy Hacks For Traveling With Kids
Being a parent is all about improvising. Travel is one of those times where you wind up improvising a more then usual. For example, when the key’s from dad’s pocket are far more enticing than any of the toys from the bagful you’ve brought in the car or on the plane. Here are five of my favorite travel hacks with kids, I hope you find them handy the next time you head away from home with your kids.
1. Pack a cookie sheet
The cookie sheet or jelly roll plan is one of my favorite travel hacks. It makes the perfect because the edge keeps supplies from rolling all over the car. It can be a magnetic story board — buy letters and numbers or themed magnets. And it minimizes food stains on your car seat if you’re eating meals on the go.
2. Bring books
Be your own book on tape. Tackle a story that is a little harder for kids to read on their own, or something everyone can take turns reading. It might be a classic, a travel-themed adventure like The Rescuers, or a story related to your destination. Even kids who know how to read love to be read to.
3. Assign tasks
Make someone the banker to manage tolls and snack funds, make someone the DJ (they have to take requests), make someone the activities director for rest stops and have them organize Simon Says. You can let them bring games like fitness dice or ThinkFun’s Yoga Cards, or Yoga Spinner. Or download an app like GoNoodle.
4. Do laundry on vacation
This may seem crazy, but after long trips it makes easing back into every day life much easier. Before heading home sort dirty clothes by color and clean clothes by family member. When you get home, bring dirty clothes directly to the laundry room and put clean laundry away. (Read more laundry tips.)
5. Be creative about travel toys
Kids like small manipulative toys like mini animals, small play figures, Thinking Putty, Fidgets, Wiki Stix, pipe cleaners, stacking cups, and magnetic building blocks, like Tegu, that can be easily handled and fuel their imaginations. Keep a small bin of these toys in the back seat. Just be prepared to go chasing items under the seats once in a while. Zip lock bags are also handy for keeping travel toys organized and handy.
6. Store your ear buds
The travel hack that’s not just for the kids: Use an eyeglass case, candy tin or other small vessel to keep ear buds from becoming a tangle in bags and backpacks.
7. Bring a power strip
This heads off fighting over hotel outlets for charging everyone’s phones, tablets, video games and mp3 players.
8. Pack by day
If your road trip plans include a night here and a night there, organize clothes and toiletries by for each day rather than giving each family member a suitcase. The less you bring into hotels, the less you can leave behind.
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