With summer vacation just around the corner it’s time to start making travel plans. Weather you’re hitting the road for a cross-country destination or taking a short weekend trip to the beach, traveling with children can be exhausting. The preparation alone typically sends me into panic mode.
Here are some packing and planning tips for less stressful family travel.
1. Take advantage of technology. There are many great apps geared toward travel.
- Sitorsquat (IPhone and Andriod)- Locate a clean, public restroom in just seconds. Need a restroom with a
baby changing station? No problem, you can search by features to locate one quickly.
- Rest Area Finder (IPhone)- This simple platform locates where you are and displays all of the nearby rest areas. Scenic views and welcome centers are listed also.
- GasBuddy (Iphone, Android, Blackberry)- Road trips are becoming more and more expensive with the high prices of gas. This app allows you to find the cheapest gas along your route. Best of all the app is free!
- MomMaps (IPhone and Android)- Find museums, playgrounds, restaurants, parks, and indoor play areas with this
mom run application. This app allows post reviews of your own favorite kid-friendly hot spots.
- PlayPlaces: Ultimate Kid Road Trip App (IPhone)- It’s hour six of your trip and the kids are going crazy in the
back seat. Use this app to locate a restaurant or rest stop with a play area along your route. The easy to use search
feature allows you to navigate to the play area of your choice.
2. Put it on a List
- Stay organized by preparing a packing list for all family members.
Here is a helpful travel list for babies/toddlers and school-age children.
- Are you short on trunk space? Do your research before your trip
and arrange to rent baby gear at your arrival
- Involve your child in the packing process. Toddlers and
preschoolers can help by using the My Little Suitcase
app (IPhone). Your child can choose between a beach, snow or sleepover
trip and fill their suitcase with items they need.
Once their suitcase is full they are rewarded with an interactive
scene. Engage school aged kids in the packing process by
having them create their own packing list in a special trip notebook.
Once the list is compiled help them pack their
3. Be Safe
- Before hitting the open road prepare your car for the trip with
appropriate car maintenance.
- Inspect all car seat belts and installation.
- Be sure to pack a first aid kit, flashlights, water and snacks in
case of an emergency on the road.
4. Keep them fueled and entertained
- Pack a cooler full of fruit, drinks, and healthy snacks to cut down on food costs and avoid fast food pitfalls.
- Let each child pack a small tote bag with toys they would like to
bring. Add a new toy to the bag right before
the trip as a surprise. Simple toys such as workbooks, word searches,
mazes, new pens, sticker books, or travel journals
- For younger children, a soft lap tray that will attach to the car
seat is perfect for keeping small toys off
the floor and is easy to remove. For older children, a 9 X 12 baking
sheet can be used as a flat surface for activities
such as drawing, legos and matchbox cars.
What keeps your family sane on long road trips? Where will your summer
travels bring your family?
About Mindi Stavish
Mindi is a working mom with two silly boys, Xander (age 3) and Noah (age 1). She spends her work days helping children with their speech, language, voice and swallowing disorders. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about their silly antics at Simply Stavish where she also writes a weekly feature with lots of information about child language, speech and feeding development. In her less than free time, she feeds her yarn addiction and knits. Her phone is never far from her and you can find her filling her social media addictions on Twitter, Facebook , Instagram at simplystavish, and Pinterest.