Summer vacation is finally here!!! I’m sure many of you are gearing up for a fun family trip while the kids are out of school. Finding entertaining activities to do in-transit can be challenging. Here are some helpful hints if you plan on traveling with kids via air or car:
- Avoid the stress of last minute packing and try to be reasonably packed in advance. You’ll have to carry what you bring so remember that you don’t really need all of those items, and you’re probably going to be traveling to a place that has stores should you desperately need something.
- Mandatory items to carry with you: Band-Aids, children’s pain reliever, wipes/diapers, Sippy cups/bottles, pacifiers, a few snacks, chewing gum (during takeoff and landing helps soothe children’s sore ears), change of clothes, and extra Ziploc bags for wet clothes and nausea. If your child is on certain medications, pack plenty of extra, along with a copy of the prescriptions.
- Bring entertainment such as coloring books, crayons/markers, headphones, a portable DVD player, a deck of cards, stickers, and travel board games.
- Travel in something comfortable and dress the children in bright colored items that are easy to spot. You may want to tuck a card into their pocket with their name/address/cell number in case they get lost. Also have a recent photo on you and if your child is a wanderer consider a child safety harness.
- Kids with certain dietary restrictions (i.e. allergies, diabetes, kosher, etc.) can request special meal plans before flying. Many flights no longer provide meals, especially foods that will appeal to your child. Bring plenty of portable, non-messy, nut-free snacks on board such as small crackers, juice boxes, cheese sticks, and grapes. Keep yourself and your children hydrated with bottled water.
While you are waiting to board your flight, your kids will probably get antsy. Here are a few things you can do once you’re at the airport:
- Take an “I Spy” walk and identify objects at the airport.
- Watch the airplanes take off and land.
- Grab some food before the flight.
- Walk up and down the stairs.
- If there is enough room you can do some jumping jacks, yoga moves or play “Simon Says” to burn off some of that extra energy before having to be seated for a long period of time.
If you’re going to be driving…
- Make sure to schedule plenty of stops to take bathroom breaks, get a bite to eat and stretch.
- Plan to leave just before a meal, and pack that meal to go. Otherwise, when you eat before you leave, bathroom breaks are sure to follow shortly into the trip.
- Pack a backpack of treats for each child that includes a mixture of healthy snacks. They’ll love trail mix, dry cereals, baked crackers and cheese, pretzels, etc.
- Don’t assume fast-food has to be unhealthy. The addition of salads, veggies, and wraps to many fast-food restaurant menus mean choosing a nutritious meal is possible. Plus, the added bonus of playrooms and bathrooms, toys in kids’ meals and being able to leave the mess behind, make them worth visiting.
This is soooo borrrring!!! Not anymore! Here are a few fun ways to prevent your little whiners from making you crazy:
- Before your trip stock up on DVD’s, CD’s and books on tape. Hand held video games are also a sure way to keep their boredom at bay.
- Pick up a few small surprise gifts for each child. The novelty will be exciting and provide some distraction.
- Look for CD’s that quiz kids on general knowledge – Quizzology is a great one.
- Play “I’m going on a picnic.” Start naming items in alphabetical order that you would bring. Ex: I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring apples. I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring bananas.”
- Play the classic game of 20 questions.
- Make a scavenger hunt of the trip and list a few things they should watch for. Some suggestions: Owls, old tires on the side of the road, weird sculptures/landmarks and a vintage car.
- Play the license plate game and see how many states you can find.
- Play travel board games.