I am excited to have Kendra Thornton, Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3, as a guest poster today! Rather than write about her, I will let her introduce herself and her post in her own words:
I am a long time travel expert who has been packing my bags and traveling the world since I was 3 months old! I’ve found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home. I have taken my excitement for travel and brought it to you with some of my favorite travel tips and tricks. Enjoy!
Top Tricks for Traveling with Children
Traveling with children does not need to cause an overdose of stress if you pay attention to the details prior to planning your trip. The best thing about a family vacation is being able to relax, laugh and explore with the people you love most. A trip to another city, a rural area or even a foreign country offers your children enriching and educational experiences they are sure to treasure. Additionally, preparing for your trip in advance can help you and your children to have a more enjoyable and memorable vacation.
The following five tips and tricks can help make packing and traveling a less stressful experience for the entire family.
1. Choosing Your Accessories
Deciding what kind of stroller or car seat to bring when traveling with your little ones can be a daunting task. Knowing whether your airline charges extra to check these items or whether your everyday stroller will fit through security is essential to smooth travel. Don’t let these questions prevent you from traveling with your kids! Investing in a stroller that caters to your family’s needs while on vacation is imperative. If you’re traveling through Europe, make sure your stroller has larger wheels to absorb the bumpy cobblestone; these strollers also come in handy for navigating beach terrain. For children under 40lbs, child safe car seats are recommended for air travel. My family loves the Gogobabyz travelmate, which substantially lightens your load by adding wheels to your child’s car seat.
2. A Distracted Kid Is a Happy Kid
There are few things more impatient than toddlers, and that’s why bringing plenty of distractions while traveling is a must. Unfortunately, bringing along the entire toy box is typically not an option, so choosing wisely is important. I recommend a new toy along with a few old favorites that together should hold the attention of even the fussiest child. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a car with a TV in it, but a portable DVD player makes a great alternative. For parents with iPads or smartphones, there are thousands of apps, ranging from games to audio stories that can be downloaded for free for all ages. Parents can even childproof their devices to prevent breakage and accidental purchases.
3. Picking Your Home Away From Home
When deciding to take a trip, your first three questions are typically: where to go, where to stay and how to get there. Oftentimes, families resort to skimping on the hotel in order to spend their money elsewhere. Although cutting costs is key to a well-planned vacation, there is no need to settle for accommodations that are less than ideal. Pick a price that you do not want to go over (keeping in mind extra tax and fees that will be added upon booking) and do some research! Use the Internet to read reviews of the best hotels in your destination city to assess what would be best for your family. When my family visited the Hawaiian Islands, I was able to review all the top Honolulu hotels without seeking advice from professional travel agents. Each resort and hotel is different; picking the place that best suits your family’s needs is essential to the perfect trip.
4. Bring Their Bed With You
Vacations are exhausting for every member of the family and that is even more true for children. For those traveling with babies, think about investing in a portable crib for your trip, such as Baby Bjorn’s Travel Crib. This Travel Crib is lightweight and designed for a comfortable full nights sleep. These can be used not only for vacations but for trips to grandma’s house as well. For those embarking on a road trip, try to recreate your child’s bed in the backseat. Spread a few blankets and be sure to bring comfortable pillows. To avoid a grumpy wake up, try purchasing car blinds to block the shade.
5. Be Prepared for the Worst
It is always a good idea to prepare for a minor emergency. You never know when your little one is going to scrape a finger or toe. It is a good idea to bring your own first aid kit with you on vacation to alleviate any issues as soon as possible. Include several bandages (I recommend their favorite character as these seem to have a magic healing power that generic ones lack) as well as ibuprofen, Tylenol and Benadryl. Make sure to always keep have extra copies of your insurance cards in case you misplace or forget the original. I always have my pediatricians number handy as well, should we even need it.