This post is written by me on behalf of Cuties. All opinions are entirely my own.
Traveling with little kids can be seriously overwhelming. I’ve traveled with them since they were infants and I’ve learned a lot of things along the way. Given all the mistakes I’ve made, I figured it was about time I share little travel hacks that can make traveling with kids a whole lot easier and less stressful. Here are my top 6 tips to make traveling with kids a snap.
For Christmas this year, we headed to San Diego for a nearly three-week vacation. It was an ideal situation. My parents decided to rent a condo in Pacific Beach for a month, and my office is closed the week between Christmas and New Years. I was able to schedule some work meetings in LA and San Francisco the weeks before and after the holidays which allowed my kids to be in California with their grandparents for nearly three weeks.Despite the amazing vacation plans, I was a bit nervous. Traveling with kids can be a lot. However, after a lot of trial and error, I finally know how to make traveling with kids work for me. If you’re traveling with your kids this winter or spring, definitely check out my tips for stress-free travel with kids.
6 Tips for Traveling with Kids
1. Create Structure and Routines
I was pretty excited to get away from the cold Boston weather for nearly three weeks. To be honest with you, I was a little bit dreading how my kids would do for that length of time without going to school. They are used to a routine and they are used to structure. What I’ve learned is that I can absolutely create structure and routines while traveling. It can be difficult, especially on the actual travel days. However, once you get to your destination, it is imperative to start creating routine and structure immediately. Everyone parents a little differently, and that is totally ok. I don’t need to go into all aspects of our daily routine. However, I tried as much as possible to normalize their sleep and their eating routines, because those are the two things that most affect energy and mood, in my opinion. Do what you can to make your new location like your home – read on for more on that.
2. Pack a Ridiculous Amount of Snacks
If you have a long flight like we did from Boston to San Diego, I can’t stress how important it is to pack a lot of snacks. When we moved to Boston in August, I didn’t pack enough snacks for the flight and my kids were miserable. On this flight, I went a little overboard and packed enough snacks for probably 3 flights. However, I wanted to be sure they were well-fed because well-fed kids tend to be less grumpy.
Once I was in San Diego, I also pack snacks when we plan little outings and day trips. I want to ensure the kids have a healthy snack whenever they are hungry. Regular eating helps to regulate their moods so tantrums are a lot less common when they are well-fed.
One of my favorite on-the-go snacks is Cuties. Not only are they totally portable, they are a super nutritious snack that my kids love to peel and eat themselves. They feel like a big boy and big girl and their little hands love to unwrap and enjoy them. I am also happy because I know just how good Cuties are for their health. They are seedless, sweet, and totally kid-sized and kid-friendly. Especially with the cold and flu season, I am happy they enjoy Cuties to get an extra dose of Vitamin C. Cuties are one of my favorite snacks for my kids, especially this time of year. Being in California for Christmas, it’s even more appropriate to enjoy cuties because they bring sunshine and love from groves right here in Cali. Right now, Cuties is celebrating their 100 days of sunshine, so pick up a bag to share the love and sunshine with your friends and family.
3. Schedule Special Activities
Since we are gone for nearly three weeks, it’s really nice to break up the trip with special activities. Each day, we plan something little for the kids to do before or after nap time. Every day is something different, but it gives them something to look forward to and it also helps quell boredom. It doesn’t have to be anything big. For example, since we are in San Diego, today’s adventure was simply walking to a little outdoor park by the Bayfront. The kids played on the swings and the monkey bars and I got to enjoy the bay view lined with boats. Another day, we took the kids to La Jolla to enjoy the sea lions and run around in the gorgeous park that sits on the cliffs. It was just as much fun for me as it was for the kids.
4. Get on Local Time
Within the first day, I had my kids on their normal sleep schedule. Yes, they were still waking up on an Eastern Time schedule (4 am, ugh. I made sure they were taking their nap and going to bed at the same time they do at home. They did have a little bit of jet lag and it did take them about three days to get on a new normal sleep routine. However, the sooner you can get your kids into the new sleep routine, the better. Tired kids are cranky kids, and no one wants their children throwing tantrums on vacation. Do your best to get them to sleep at normal hours and try not to skip too many of their naps. Kids under 5 (especially) still need naps. Even if that means you have to schedule your events around their naps, make sure they are getting their naps most days. We did skip a few naps like when we went to the amusement park in Carlsbad, but the rest of the time, we made sure they got their naps.
One thing that also helps me get on local time is to get back into a fitness routine as soon as possible. Being in southern California, it’s easy for me to get outside and walk or take a jog. If you’re looking for other ideas, here are 7 ways to fit in exercise while traveling. Exercise is a great way to get your body acclimated to the local time.
5. Bring Home with You
Each time we travel, I let my kids bring one blanket and one or two toys from home. That way, they always have a piece of home with them. There is something very comforting and reassuring for kids when they are able to bring something from home with them. Just having their special blanket, stuffed animal, and another little toy, they feel more at peace wherever we are. I’ve also found that the blanket comes in handy on the airplane ride. It is always super freezing on airplanes, so I often take out the blanket and cover all of us up with it. This time, my daughter chose an electronic toy that helps them practice their numbers. Although the toy has been great for entertaining both of them, it has caused some fights. I’ve learned a new lesson this year that I need to make sure whatever toys they pick, that they can be sharing toys. Next time, I’ll make sure to bring identical toys or ones that can’t be fought over – lesson learned.
6. Let the Kids Help with Packing
Not only do I let my kids bring something from home, I also let them help me with some of the packing. We always go to the store before we leave for the trip and I let them pick out a new movie to bring. It has been a lifesaver to have a little mini TV to bring on trips. I don’t have tablets for my kids, but if you have tablets, I would suggest letting your child select a movie or video game that they love to play/watch while on the flight. This year, my kids picked out a couple Christmas movies, which I thought was a lot of fun for them to watch while we were traveling. It kept them completely entertained on the flight and really made the 5 hours go by fast. If you’re traveling with an infant, here are the 7 things you need to bring. Also, if this is your first time flying with an infant, read this story for everything you need to know about flying with an infant for the first time.
I hope these 6 travel tips for traveling with kids help make your next trip a little bit easier. Although it can be stressful to travel with kids, there is nothing better than the memories you make when you get to experience special moments with your family. Happy traveling!