This post includes travel tips for parents. We went on a road trip this past weekend. The scenario was a five hour ride to a ski resort in the mountains with a 2.5 and a 1 year old. We stayed in a 400 square foot “junior suite” (basically a studio with a small kitchen).
The below is just a taste of my musings on a survival guide not only for the car trip but during the stay as well. This list is only the beginning. There are many more tips to add but the below list is a good start. Lifting toddlers out of their familiar environment is challenging to say the least. They are certainly resilient but not without a little painful adjustment, mainly for us parents.
Simple Travel Tips for Parents
- Bring Something Familiar – A blanket, a sheet, a stuffed animal, a book, a toy. Whatever it is, it’ll help ease your little one.
- Don’t Stress Out – Just remember that all bets are off when it comes to sleeping and eating, the source of typical parental worries and concerns. I know you’re probably rolling your eyes at this point but I mean it. Take it to heart. The more you relax, the better time you’ll have as a family. So, don’t crazily plan your vacation around naps. Sure, work them in but don’t stress about it. If you’re hiking, let your child sleep in a carrier. If you have a stroller, let your child sleep in a stroller. Read: Take the path of least resistance!
- Portable Entertainment is Key – Travel felt story sets are easy to pack and if you pick a story with lots of fun characters, your child will find all sorts of new adventures to have with these characters. We chose Giraffes Can’t Dance. I packed an old wallet with old membership cards, an old check book, a small post it note pad, a mirror and other goodies. You’ll be surprised at how much entertainment this wallet will provide your child. Small container of crayons and small notebook are perfect for travel. I also added stickers for good measure. As we traveled, we stopped for coffee, obviously, so I grabbed a cup and cover for my children’s enjoyment. A stirrer adds a lot of fine motor skill development too. A laminate lacing page is easy to pack too. Lastly, masking tape is pretty key, especially if you have little boys who like vehicles of all kinds. You can create roads, tracks, letters, numbers and shapes for endless entertainment for your child all over your rental, your hotel room or your random relatives home.
- Splat Mat – I threw in our splat mat very last minute this last trip and it saved us. We ate meals – had “picnics” – on the floor and played with play dough on the mat. In other words, we contained the mess.
- Do your Research – I always know the local library, swimming pool, kid-friendly food spots, etc at our destination.
- Find a Place to Stop & Move Your Bodies – Know where a park is along your route. Pack a picnic. You’ll be amazed at what fresh air and running around exploring will do for children & adults!
- Make traveling & packing fun!
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