Summer is here and we are all gearing up for vacation season. While traveling with kids can seem overwhelming at times, don’t let it stop you. With some pre-planning and preparation, you will be ready to travel with your kids in no time.
Car travel and plane travel will have a few different requirements and mean slightly different preparations for your family, but these tips cover general good practices for either and will have you ready for fun Summer adventures.
A month before you travel
The month leading up to your vacation, you’ll want to start thinking about a broad plan. Here are the things you will want to have squared away the month before you travel with kids:
Lodging-where will you stay? Will you be renting a hotel, home or apartment, or staying with friends or family? Each of these types of lodging options requires different preparations. Tie up all of these ends well in advance of your trip so you don’t have to worry about them as the trip gets close.
Itinerary- Some people are super planners on vacation and want to map out and schedule every minute of the day, while others like to simply go with the flow. Like all other things that involve kids, you will want to keep to some type of routine while you are traveling. You don’t need to make a strict schedule down to the hour, but try to keep bedtimes and mealtimes consistent, as well as map out activities you know you will definitely be doing.
Car or flight preparations- If you are flying, you will want to make sure you have all of your necessary documents and passports for each family member. Keep this all together with your tickets so they don’t get misplaced. If you are driving, schedule routine maintenance and check up on your vehicle so you are ready to hit the road without any unexpected auto issues.
Two weeks before you travel
In the two weeks before you travel with kids, make a packing list for each family member. Put together everything you already have and then make a shopping list for the things you need. Depending on the ages and needs of your kids the things you need to pack will differ, but here’s a list to get you started: ( link to checklist or blog post (s)) ***
Tip for traveling with babies or younger kids: Packing a few items that are their favorites will make them feel more at home while they are traveling and sleeping in an unfamiliar place. Also, try to keep their natural or regular routine in mind when it comes to sleep and eating.
Secure the home front- Two weeks before you are set to leave finalize any plans you have made for who will be taking care of your house and your pets, if you have any, while you are away. Make sure they have important numbers and any special instructions before you leave.
A week before you travel
The week prior to traveling you will want to start packing.
Pack for each person- Take your list and start packing for each person who is traveling. If you have older kids, they can use their own list to pack. If you tend to be an over packer, here’s where you will want to use some restraint. Stick to your lists and avoid throwing in extra things for each family member. Before you know it you will have more suitcases and bags than you know what to do with.
Stick to the list- Another negative to overpacking is that you have to unpack it all when you get back. Do yourself a favor and pack only what you need. Unless you are going deep into no man’s land you can always pick up something you need on the road or when you get to your destination.
The night before you travel
The night before you travel try to have all the last odds and ends wrapped up.
Final check-ins- Check in earlier in the day with house sitters to finalize plans. If you are traveling by car fill the gas tank and check your tire air pressure. Pack up the car. Prepare any road snacks as well as a bag of things you might need while driving, such as any tech gear, music, hand wipes, ect.
Get some sleep- Don’t forget to plan to go to bed early the night before you travel. You’ll want to hit the road early and rested to get the trip off on the right foot. You will also want to have the energy you need to deal with any last minute mishaps. You are a parent, you know these are inevitable.
Hitting the Road!
The big day is here and you are ready to hit the family and travel with the kids. Because you are so well prepared, there shouldn’t be very much you need to do the day you are traveling. Double check your packing list, check that keys are left in the right places for house and pet sitters, make sure all bags are packed and safety kits, tech for traveling, including chargers for all devices and phones and snacks are on hand. Now all you have to do is pile everyone in the car and hit the road!
Traveling with your kids has so many benefits for them and for you. These tips will have you ready to hit the road this Summer. Remember the best travel trip of all: Plan ahead as much as you can, and then be prepared for anything!
Want more tips on traveling and packing? Check out posts here and here.