Traveling with kids is the BEST. And, at the same time, traveling with kids is the WORST. Every parent understands. The meaning of vacation shifts as you become a parent. It doesn’t evoke feelings of calm, restful, carefree days. The word I like to use is trip instead of vacation. You are traveling to a new place with your kids, but it probably won’t be calm or relaxing. But you will make memories. It WILL be worth it!
Here are my tried-and-true tips to help you actually enjoy your trip. Maybe it will even feel a BIT like a vacation!
1. Pack one big bag, not small ones.
Walking into a hotel or camp with one big suitcase (preferably on wheels!) is so much easier than hauling six separate bags. The fear is that it will get all mixed up with everyone’s things, dirty and clean, in one bag. One way to avoid that is to bring a separate laundry bag (even just a big garbage bag), so that there will never be dirty laundry mixed in with clean clothes.
*One caveat: If your kids are old enough to carry their own bag, I would change this tip. Let each kid who can carry their own bag have their own backpack of their things. Then pack the rest of the family in one big suitcase. I would start this at age four or five, depending on their endurance. This teaches them responsibility, and saves you from carrying EVERYTHING!
2. Ziplocks and plastic bags
This is a MUST. Bring ziplocks and plastic grocery bags for all the things that will be wet, leak, or be dirty. Bring extras. Throw the wet swimsuits in these bags to avoid getting all the other clean things wet. Throw the leaking shampoo in one. Throw the sand toys in one! When a kid pukes, throw the nasty towel in there. You will need them, trust me! This brings me to the next tip…
3. Plan for sickness.
Even if your kids are healthy, and good travelers, plan for the worst! This, unfortunately, we learned the hard way. Nothing is worse than a kid vomiting in the car, except for when a kids pukes in a car and you’re unprepared. I always throw a small empty bucket, a rag or towel, and some extra clothes for each kid in the backseat. A little prep work here can save you HOURS on the road.
4. Don’t stress if you forget! Buy it!
Yes, I know that finances are tight for everyone. You don’t want to be running to Walmart on vacation if you don’t have to. But there are very few things that are truly irreplaceable. For me, the only truly irreplaceable things are my glasses and contacts and my baby’s one specific kind of formula that she likes from Costco. Pretty much anything else that’s forgotten (toothbrushes, underwear, deodorant, charger, etc.) can be replaced if needed. So don’t stress about it. Focus on the irreplaceable things and relax.
Moms and Dads, what would you add to my list?
#roadtrip #family memories #vacation #travel #travelwithkids