If you are heading out of town this holiday season, here are some family travel tips to make your journey more smooth and less stressful. Sit back, relax, and TRY to enjoy the ride!
Check out my 12/16 segment on Fox23News on Holiday Travel Tips!
Tip #1: Pack an SAT bag for every kid, every hour (or two)
S.A.T. stands for Snack, Activity, and Toy. If your travel distance is epic, more than four hours, an S.A.T. bag is a life saver! The idea is that each hour (or two if it’s really long) the kids receive a new bag with that hours activity, snack and toy. Don’t over think this! SAT items can be from the dollar store, borrowed from friends, garage-sale finds or SaratogaMama Swap finds!
Tip #2: Don’t forget your first aid kid!
Make sure you bring all the medicine and supplies that you might need. Benadryl, Tylenol, cough syrup if the kids are old enough, and a good first aid kit. Also, in the unfortunate event of motion sickness, make sure you have a towel, change of clothes, baby wipes and some plastic bags readily available! Always pack hand sanitizer too and use it often.
Tip #3: All about the food
At the supermarket, pick up some special snacks the kids have never had before. Don’t forget about picking up some extra’s for the tip home too. Try making your own granola bars (yummy recipe here!) and pack plenty of cut up fruit. Fruit is better for hydrating little travelers in lieu of juices that warrant more potty stops!
Tip #4: Air Travel Tips
Airplane security can be a little scary for kids. Prepare your children that their backpack, blankie and personal belongings will have to go through the X-ray machine. Child-related equipment including strollers, baby carriers, car seats, diaper bags and toys must all go through the X-ray machine. Collapse your stroller and condense your gear when you arrive at the security checkpoint. I’ve had to take my child out of my Beco carrier and put the carrier through security, so babywearers heads up!
Tip #5: Bring It, Ship It or Rent It?
Bring It: Cribs offered by hotels may not be up to the latest safety standards. We love our Kidco Peapod Travel Bed because it is super lightweight (under 7 lbs), portable, and easy to set up and use. Pack n Play’s are fine too, but they are heavy and bulky. Another option is to rent gear, see below!
Bring It: Most rental car companies will offer car seats to rent but they may not meet your standards and since most won’t let you reserve in advance, you might be out of luck when you arrive. It’s a lot of baggage, but bringing your own is the safest way to go. All the airlines I’ve dealt with traveling with kids have been very tolerant and have even provided giant plastic bags to protect our car seats.
Rent It: If you need gear like strollers, cribs and high chairs, consider renting it at your destination. Baby’s Away, Travel Babees and Traveling Baby Company are three options that have locations all over the US.
Ship It: For a long trip traveling with infants, I had diapers, wipes, formula and baby food all shipped to our location via Diapers.com. It was way easier to have it all there waiting for us, then to have to pack it all.
Tip #6: Game ON!
In addition to the obvious digital time-passers such as portable DVD players, Leapsters, LeapPad’s, and Nintendo DS’s, mix in some non-digital activities too! These are some of our favorites:
Item 1 – You can get the whole family involved in this License Plate Game by Melissa & Doug (under $20 at NY Toy & Hobby)
Item 2 – We love these Crayola washable window markers and crayons. The kids can write all over the car window and their masterpiece will wash off with water.
Item 3 – Invisible Ink books and games are inexpensive and mess-free! Under $5 each at NY Toy & Hobby
Item 4 – A cookie sheet from home makes a great play tray. Add magnetic paper dolls or magnetic poetry, and enjoy the ride!
Enjoy your holiday season and always stay safe! Check out SaratogaMama’s Holiday Survival Guide for lots of other ideas to make this season brighter.