Summer is near and you know what that means? It’s time for some family fun! Whether you’re planning a road trip, beach vacation, or family reunion, traveling with kids can be challenging. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with some easy tips to make your summer travel a breeze!
Summer Travel with Kids Made Easy
- Plan Ahead – Be Prepared!
Before you pack your bags, do some research about your destination. Look up the weather, contact your place of residence to find out all the details (crib rentals, how dark it is, noise restriction policy, etc), and plan out your activities so you can also try to fit in those naps as needed. If you plan to rent baby gear and equipment such as strollers, cribs, and high chairs then be sure to reserve them at the same time you book your flights to guarantee they will be available.
- Choose Kid-Friendly Accommodations – More Fun for Everyone!
When you book a hotel or rental, look for one with a pool, playground, or kid’s club (this one is a must if we stay in a resort). It’s easier to relax when the kids are happy and occupied. Plus, you’ll have more energy for family time. Also, the more fun activities available for your kids, the easier it will be to get them to bed after a long fun day. We always resort to staying in rental properties instead of hotels, especially now with two littles. If you do need a hotel and have a baby or toddler then be sure to use a Slumberpod over their travel crib to give you that privacy. Even more exciting, the Slumberpod was invented by an Atlanta Mom!
- Pack Smart – Don’t Overdo It!
Packing can be overwhelming, especially with kids. Make a list of everything you need, and then pare it down. Focus on essentials and don’t forget a favorite toy or stuffed animal. Also, think about using a backpack for day trips. It’s easier to carry than a bulky diaper bag. Using these packing cubes such as these also makes it easy to pack baby and kids clothing. The most important thing to pack in those cubes would be a used crib sheet (for babies) or a pillowcase (toddlers and older) so when they sleep on those things at night it is familiar to them. This helps mimic their sleep space home away from home.
Packing activities or toys to keep littles (and older children) busy is key. Packing activity bins or backpacks for them as detailed in this blog is going to be a huge lifesaver on your next road trip or flight.
For a more detailed packing list, be sure to GRAB A FREE ONE HERE.
- Stick to Your Routine – Make It Feel Like Home!
Kids love routine, so try to maintain a similar sleep schedule and routine as your would at home. A sense of familiarity can help your child feel more comfortable in a new environment. Try to take some bath toys with you and their hygiene essentials–again see the travel checklist linked above. Try to have a slightly longer bedtime routine when traveling to give your kids plenty of wind-down time after a busy fun day.
- Take Breaks – Stretch Your Legs!
Long car rides or flights can be tough on kids (and adults). Plan for rest stops or attractions along the way to break up the journey. For babies under 6 months, I recommend stopping every 2-3 hours to offer a feeding and diaper change as you would do at home. Here is my favorite tip if you have a toddler or preschooler– pack a potty seat with you so they do not have to use public bathrooms. Place a grocery bag over the pee/poop capture area for easy cleanup, have them do their business, and trash the evidence before getting back on your way.
If you plan to fly then be sure to take a carrier or wrap for contact naps, tons of snacks and activities to occupy the older ones, and book a flight during nap time so they can sleep most of the flight. If you plan to go overseas then ask for a bassinet and a seat by the bassinet if your plane has that option. I may get some harsh comments on what I am about to say next but book a nonstop flight if your flight time is less than 6 hours. I know, I know you must be thinking that I would have recommended booking the layovers but I actually do not recommend them. If your child fell asleep 10 minutes before the first flight lands then most likely they will wake up during all the transfer chaos. They also add unnecessary travel time to your day which non of us want and you take a risk of making sure your luggage containing all of your essentials makes it on the next flight. NO THANK YOU. I will always book the nonstops.
- Stay Flexible – Be Prepared for Anything!
Even with the best plans, things don’t always go as expected. Stay flexible and be ready to adjust your plans as needed. This will help you avoid stress and make the most of your trip. If naps don’t have as they should then try your best to do an earlier bedtime. Early bedtime is literally my secret sauce for so many sleep struggles and it works most of the time.
- Consider Your Child’s Sleep Environment – A Good Night’s Sleep is Essential!
Kids sleep better in a familiar environment. Bring a favorite blanket or stuffed animal to help them feel at home. And if your child has trouble sleeping in new places, consider bringing a sound machine or white noise app to help them fall asleep. You may even need more than 1 if there are several people sleeping in tight spaces so help block out extra sounds. Maybe even put a sound machine in the hallway if staying in a rental house for an extra sound barrier.
By following these easy tips, you can make summer travel with kids a breeze! So pack your bags, grab your kids, and get ready to make tons of family fun time. As Rafiki from The Lion King says, “It is time!” – time to make unforgettable summer memories with your family.