I decided to list my DON’T’s first… As they are more important not to do than the DO’s! These are not in any particular order. Feel free to comment below with any tips and tricks you’ve learned when travelling with your kids!
- wait until the day-of to configure the arrangement of luggage in your vehicle
- wait until 4 days prior to departure to pack your belongings
- ask for your kids’ input on what clothing they’d like to bring (they’ll bring everything they see and will whine if you say no)
- forget to pack a few changes of clothes for babies and toddlers, in case of accidents/spills
- ignore the housework in order to pack
- forget things when you leave!
- forget to put your alarm clock on for the morning you leave!
- leave showers and baths until the morning you leave
- leave the pre-trip gas-up until the morning you leave
- not take spare batteries for electronics, special night lights, etc.
- forget charger cords for phones, tablets, etc.
- try to do all the packing and tidying yourself; enlist a family member or friend to help either with the workload or with the kids to keep them occupied and out of your hair
- leave in what you think will be just the right amount of time; give yourself PLENTY of time to get to your destination to allow for unplanned stops, extra-long stops, etc. (In my case we needed 6 extra hours!)
- make a list, check it twice, and cross things off as you pack or complete them
- Charge your cell phone/tablet before you leave
- add 2-4 hours (or in my case 6) onto the total time it should take you to arrive at your destination
- bring earphones for the airplane TV’s or other electronic devices (not for you, unfortunately. For your kids)
- bring snacks for your kids and yourself
- combine pit stops, gas stops and food stops into one stop – for ALL (whether they have to go or not)
- wear light pants and a t-shirt and pack a hoodie for each kid on their carryon
- bring a carryon for each kid that includes a hoodie, a change of clothes and pj’s, a stuffy, a spill-proof cup (empty before going through security screening), a couple of books, a Leap Pad or other device that is educational, earphones, and a travel-size game (I.e. Checkers, Yahtzee, etc.)
- pack a little games bag for your kids; things small enough to keep in a ziplock bag but fun enough to keep them occupied (Sight word games, spelling bee games, a Tic-Tac-Toe pad, travel-size Yahtzee, a doodle book or journal and pencil, Pictionary-style game cards and pad of paper/pencil, etc.)
- pack clothes in vacuum-sealable bags to save on space
- weigh your luggage before you leave so you’re not stuck rushing in the check-in line to switch items between suitcases to avoid extra fees
- have your camera handy to document your trip (so you can remember the good parts and forget the chaotic parts!)
- when driving, use a gps to plot out a plan for stops ahead of time
- bring a handful of ziplock bags to divvy up snack and easily pass them to the kids in the back of the vehicle
- play some games with the kids, or make up stories, things that can be done easily on the road or in-flight