We recently returned from a family vacation in Boston/Cape Cod which provided the inspiration for this week’s Parenting Hacks series. Traveling with children is an adventure that can be so rewarding but also stressful at times. I’ve found that preparing a few things in advance helps alleviate that stress and allows for a much more relaxed and fun-filled vacation!
You may know that we have four (VERY HUNGRY ALL THE TIME) boys. They constantly are asking for snacks. When traveling it’s not always convenient to find places to grab a quick snack so I prep these bags ahead of time. I pack a gallon-sized ziplock bag full of snacks and gum (for the plane) for each family member labeled with their name. The boys each have their own day pack that has their snack bag in it along with their thermos full of water (packed empty in the checked luggage) that they carry around each day. If we have a long day of walking ahead of us (pretty standard for our vacations) we put a limited amount of snacks and the waters in a main back pack that Dad carries for the family. Yay Dad! These snack bags have saved us not only on plane rides but car rides and long wait times in line (hello Disney!).
Long car rides can definitely be a breeding ground for boredom and a time when we’ve had to stave off meltdowns. We try to limit tablet time by keeping our boys busy in other ways. Each of our boys have their own clipboard with blank paper for drawing as well as sheets of dot to dots and other activities that I print off before our trip. They particularly like Extreme Dot to Dots. You can find these and other printable activities online.
We also have 50 wipe clean travel game cards (sold by Usbourne) that I punched holes in the corners and split into four sets secured with a metal ring. I pack a ziplock full of magic erase markers and a few paper towels for cleaning and our younger boys switch card sets when they’re finished with the set they’re working on. They love these!
Also, for road trips we bring along Road Trip Bingo where they try to find things outside of the car while driving around such as Construction Workers, certain road signs and buildings. I bought ours in the Dollar Spot at Target years ago but you can buy a four pack of these on Amazon for less than $10. They also sell license plate Bingo sets. If I’m really on top of my game I’ll even pack prizes (small candy usually) but they enjoy playing even without.
Hope these travel tips help keep your kids content while on your next adventure. Happy and safe travels!