I pack the same bag for my girls when we fly, but when we are driving, we have a more freedom in what we bring. We usually pack a disposable camera for each child, and we finally invested in portable DVD players for long trips. They are a lifesaver! Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about travel games, singing, and talking to the kids, but when we reach the 3 hour mark, we are all ready for a little quiet time, and this keeps them occupied.
Make sure to pack some handy wipes. My little girls are six and seven… and I still have a Ziploc bag in my purse full of handy wipes. I also like to pack an Emergency bag for the car. It has an extra set of clothes for each person, a roll of toilet paper, Tylenol for the girls and for us, snacks, and a $20, because you never know when you’ll need it.
My biggest tip for an easy traveling experience, is to make sure there isn’t any time for the kids to get too bored. Give them several options to choose from, and include them it picking out what things to bring. Let them pick out a new box of crayons and a new coloring book, and let them know it’s not to be used until the trip. It gets them excited, and the couple of dollars, is well worth it.
HANDY WIPES!! Yes I say it again…ha-ha! No matter how clean your kids typically are, for some reason a plane trip is when they decide to find dirt everywhere.
If you have time before your trip, you can find a book with information and pictures about where you are going. You can spend part of the flight teaching your little ones about where you are going. If you are visiting friends or family that you haven’t seen in awhile, put together a little photo album to look at on the way there. It helps the kids get excited about who they are going to see and it helps with any anxiety if they haven’t seen that person in awhile.
What I have always done for my little ones, is make them a “Fun Trip” bag. It started when they were one, and has continued until present. It has always helped with the boredom factor kids face while being stuck in a seat for several hours.
For each child, I find a cheap canvas bag or duffel bag. I spend a few minutes decorating it so that they know who’s is who’s. If I start planning early enough, I like to use bubble paints and have the girls help. This also helps them get excited about the trip. Once the bag is decorated and the paints have dried, I fill it with crayons, colored pencils, books, color books, travel games, and a CHEAP walkman (I actually found a couple of 1G MP3 players for $5, and loaded them with the girls favorite songs). Depending on the airline or airport, I will put a few snacks in the bag, and either a pack of sugar free gum, or a sugar free sucker. This helps with the ear pressure during take off and landing.
Infants are typically the easiest to entertain. If they have a handful of travel sized toys, most of the time, that’s all they really need.
Now, on long road trips, it can be more difficult. If you’re not the one driving, there are a few ideas to make the drive a little happier for everyone.
This is a great time for learning! Bring some age appropriate flash cards (Colors, shapes, animals). You’ll be pleased to see just how much those little minds absorb.
Travel toys! Pack a variety of Baby friendly toys. Here’s the trick I learned…Only bring one out at a time. If they haven’t played with it in awhile, even better. If you give them all at once, they are more likely to get bored with all of them. By bringing out one at a time, each one seems new and holds their attention longer.
Containers! Filling a container with baby friendly snacks, will entertain a little one for a very long time. If they do somehow manage to get the top off, they have a healthy snack.
Snacks! You never know when you’ll be driving and can’t find a place to stop. That thirty minutes until the next “Stop”, will feel like hours if you have hungry baby in the back seat. Make sure you have plenty of snacks and drinks, handy.
By taking a little time to prepare, you’ll have a happy, entertained little one!