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Tips for Traveling with Kids
  • Pack a bag of wrapped surprises for your children. There are lots of travel-sized toys as well as old standbys like crayons, glitter markers, coloring books, rubber stamps with ink pads, finger puppets, silly putty, toy cars, small magnet puzzles, etc. Audio books with a Walkman, Game Boys and personal DVD players are options for older children.
  • A travel day schedule suggestion for drivers: start early, while your kids are in their pajamas. Drive a couple hours while they sleep. Make a breakfast stop where they can change clothes then pile back in the car for a few more hours of driving. Make rest stops every two hours or so. Time your arrival for late afternoon so everyone has time to unwind by swimming in the hotel pool.
  • Pack snacks! Excellent choices include pretzels, raisins, crackers, string cheese, dry cereal, fresh or dried fruit, baby carrots and celery sticks. To make the snacks more interesting put them in baggies you’ve decorated with colorful stickers or pictures of the places you will visit on vacation.
  • Bring a water bottle for each child. For older children, you may want to invest in a small, reusable bottle with an open-and-sip spout.
  • Pass out packs of bubble gum and have bubble blowing contests. See who can blow the biggest bubble, the funniest one, etc. Also, if flying, chewing gum will help pop your kids’ ears and relieve the pressure.
  • Bring a first-aid kit including a thermometer, adhesive bandages, non-aspirin pain reliever, insect repellent, sunscreen and antibiotic ointment.
  • A great gift for a child is a miniature toiletry kit they can pack with travel-size products. This ensures remembering small necessities like a toothbrush, shampoo, hairbrush, etc.
  • Pack familiar things from home. Ideas include a favorite blanket, stuffed animal or toy. This will help your child feel more comfortable while away from home.
  • With little kids, you might take "pretend trips" before you go. Involve them in packing a small suitcase, set up rows of chairs like a plane or your car, take turns being waiter and customer in a restaurant…use these activities as an opportunity to teach kids what to expect while traveling.
  • After checking into your hotel, teach children how to operate the security locks. Establish a code word so they don't open the door to strangers.
  • You may want to bring a night light with you as it can be comforting for a child sleeping in a strange room.
  • If your children are old enough, pack a camera for them. Let them take pictures of whatever they find interesting, without your input! A child's perspective is different than an adult's and you may end up with some great shots you would’ve missed otherwise.