I had too many people tell me while I was pregnant with my first that I had better say goodbye to all the traveling that I loved so much. This statement had me in tears numerous times because I started to wonder if it was true. Here is something I learned to be very true once I became a mother. My husband and I get to decide what our lives look like as parents. We know what is best for our family and what works for us. My husband and I live for travel and adventure. It keeps things fresh and exciting. We get to experience the world and learn from it. And we decided that we wanted to share that passion with our children. (Side note: we have no shame in traveling as a couple still and letting our children have a blast with the grandparents or aunts. It is good for us as a couple.)
So if you are new to this parenting thing and share my passion for travel, let me tell you that you can travel as much as you want! My children love it and are great at it. Travel does look different than it did before kids, but it is still amazing. Let me share my top ten tips to successfully prepping for a vacation with kids.
- Make the most thorough checklist possible. I include everything so that I can run through it before we leave the house to make sure I didn’t forget diapers or my deodorant. I keep a standard checklist for all vacations, copy and paste, and add for the specific vacation I’m prepping for.
- Start your packing early. When you save it for last second it is stressful, and it is easier to forget things. Our guest room turns into my gathering space for a week or two before we actually leave.
- Pack a separate bag or backpack for each child. This way when one of your children needs something, you know to grab their bag and find what you need there. This eliminates the frantic search all over the car when your child has a blowout in the car seat. On that note, every child should have a wetbag, spare underwear, and a backup outfit no matter their age. The wetbag is to keep the nasty or wet stuff contained until you get to your destination.
- Use carabiners (I love the Mommy Hook) to hang each child’s backpack in an easy to reach location in the car.
- Speaking of accidents, Piddle Pads are amazing! They are waterproof seat liners to protect the car seat. No one wants to travel in a pee or milk covered seat.
- Pack healthy snack and drink options for the entire family. I get that Doritos and Reese’s taste delicious, but they make everyone hyper and uncomfortable. Hyper is bad if you have a twelve-hour car ride ahead of you. Hyper is also bad on a plane full of quiet adults.
- Have more activities than a tablet. The tablet is great for travel, but my kids also love to take leggos, hot wheels, books, puzzles, coloring books, and their favorite stuffed animals. Make the rule that when they are done with one activity, it goes back in their backpack before they move to the next activity. Play games as a family. Listen to fun music. Have fun!
- Easy to get on and off shoes are a must. There is nothing worse than a child about to pee their pants struggling to get their tennis shoes on and tied! Same goes for trying to get through airport security.
- Clean your home before you leave. Trashcans get nasty over a week. Dirty laundry somehow gets stinkier. And honestly, it is beautiful coming home no matter what, but coming home to a clean house is a great feeling!
- Expect plans to switch up a bit. You have to be flexible with kids in general, but when traveling it is a must! Allow yourself a little extra time. Go with the flow, and enjoy your vacation!
Teach your children young to love adventure. Watch their minds grow with new experiences. Enjoy the look in their eyes when they see the ocean for the first time. Stay right by their side as they try something new. Cheer them on. Love every second of watching them grow a passion for travel, and share that passion as a family!