Traveling with kids is a great joy, and an opportunity to create memories that can last a lifetime. On the other hand traveling with kids especially young children can be a challenge too. No matter if we are going to the local park or a trip around the world there tends to be a push to bring a lot of stuff. So much stuff that travel sometimes does not seem worth the bother. If we want to be able to travel with our kids we need to determine what we really need to bring and find ways to let go of the rest. Depending on the type of trip you are taking here are some tips to simplify what you bring and therefore improve your whole travel experience.
Short Day Trips
For short day trips with our kids the key is to simply make sure we cover the bases. Short day trips are a perfect moment for products that can be used for multiple purposes. For example you might consider alcohol wipes which both can be used to kill germs as well as remove any substances that our kids get on their hands. Instead of carrying around separate hand sanitizer, and paper towels, and some water to keep our kids clean we can just grab one package of wipes which will serve the same purposes. It is also important to realize that we are never going to keep our kids 100% clean and that if we do not get everything off their hands that it ok. Our kids will be fine if we have to wait until we get home and give them a bath.
When we go on a weekend trip with our kids we want to make sure we have anything they might need. While it is normal to stress, remember you can stop worrying, most of the places we go for a weekend are located near stores so if it turns out we forgot something important we can pick it up. For some items it might make sense to pick them up when you get to your destination anyhow. Typically for a weekend trip the most important thing is to have a change or two of clothes, the rest can take care of itself. While it is important to think about what you need to bring on a weekend trip, these trips provide you the opportunity to be flexible.
For extended trips with young children the key is to make sure you have one or two items of comfort for them. A comfort object or security blanket may come in the form of a blanket, a stuffed animal, or a favorite toy. Having such items will help your child deal with the stress that can be caused by being somewhere unfamiliar, especially at bed time. Travel can be hard on kids as they tend to get over stimulated, and are without their normal day to day routines. Sometimes what others might see as our kids acting out is really our kids having trouble expressing that they are overwhelmed. A comfort object can make travel a lot smoother for children.
In addition while we may think about comfort objects for really small children, in reality people of all ages may have items which make them feel more at home. Some parents find they always have to bring a certain pillow or bring a weighted blanket in order to find comfort themselves. If the ways you normally maintain calm won’t be able to be accessed on your trip seek out alternatives. For example if you typically have a background noise maker on in order to sleep you might consider finding a background noise video on facebook that you can have playing on your phone instead.
While considering our children when traveling is important it is also important that we consider ourselves in order to prepare for the stress of travel. If we have a few tricks or items to lean on it means we will be better able to be at our best selves. And typically if kids can sense you are calm they are calmer in response versus when kids can tell you are already stressed they seem to act up even more.