I’m not sure how it happened, but Memorial Day weekend is a week away. A week! The unofficial start to summer is upon us. Which means it’s time to hit the road! We’ve got a couple of summer trips up our sleeves so far, and of course, I’m a huge fan of the local weekend getaway, so I think our suitcases are about to get a lot of use. Now that my kiddo is two and we have a lot of traveling under our belt, I feel excited rather than anxious about vacationing as a family. While it can be incredibly stress-inducing, you can, in fact, hit the road and have everyone enjoy the ride. That’s why the mamas have decided to tackle family vacations for this edition of Real Talk, Real Moms. Given the varied experiences between us all, there’s probably enough here to write a book! So scroll down for my top tips and then be sure to check out the other mamas – between all of us, you’ll know every travel trick in the book.
Pack Less than You Think Need
I know kids clothes are really cute, especially vacation clothes, but you can really save yourself headaches by cutting down on all crap you haul on vacation. Outfits can be repeated. In an ideal world, you might have laundry where you’re staying. Plan looks for your kids and then cut the amount of stuff in half. Seriously. They’ll be in bathing suits 90% of the time. Also, pack your diapers in your car seat bag when you check it (it checks for free!) to save space in your luggage. Oh and if you desperately need something you didn’t bring (and you aren’t off the grid) there’s Amazon to save you.
Kid Friendly Schedules
Your children’s sleep is your best friend. If you can, try to plan your travel days around nap schedules. We typically try to fly between 11AM-1Pm to make sure we’re not too rushed in the morning and have a prayer of the kid falling asleep on the plane during nap time. Now that he’s two that’s happening less frequently, but a mama can dream.
Enough Time, but not Too Much Time
My husband would probably debate me on this tip, but see what you think. I like to plan our plane travel so that we’re always moving. No standing around and waiting. This can cause a little extra stress when you make the check-in cut off by three minutes, but I’m always thankful to walk straight from the desk, through security, to the gate, and onto the plane. Downtime just leads to crankiness and fidgeting and you run out of ways to entertain tiny people. Maybe I also like the adrenaline rush, I don’t know. But I say no getting to the airport two hours early and standing around. Keep your timing as tight as your stress levels can handle.
Have a Secret Toy
I cannot take credit for this tip. Another mom-friend passed it along to me, and it is genius for any plane trip or car ride. Find something little your child has never seen before. Something fun. Something with a bell or whistle or two that will attract and hold attention in your most desperate moment. Then and only then is when you bust out the Secret Toy. It will get used. It will save the day. You will be thankful.
Tons of stimulation, new activities, and unknown environments make littles way hungrier than you’d ever expect. So pack snacks where ever you go and feed at the slightest sign of crankiness. Crackers are also effective at bribing toddlers to sit in their seats during takeoff. Until you get held on the runway for an extra hour (see above tip).
Revel in Repetition
If you’re typically an adventurer, you might need to redefine the term. There’s actually something soothing about settling into a routine and it can definitely help your littles adjust to new places, new time zones and the unexpected. Embrace the slow and let it go.
Divide and Conquer
When it comes to traveling with your kiddos, your partner is your best friend. Or really anyone who is willing to lend a hand. Grandparents. Siblings. The random stranger on the airplane who will hold your baby while you pee. Take advantage of all the help you can get. Trade off meal preparation or bedtime duties so someone can get a break. Even on vacation child rearing is exhausting, so you want to make sure you build in some ways everyone gets their down time.
Nap When They Nap
If at First You Don’t Succeed, Drink Wine
And if does start getting a little overwhelming, take a walk, take a mini meditation session, take a deep breath. And then order more wine.
Enjoy Every Minute
All the cliches are true. It goes so quickly. They grow so fast. The days are long but the years are short. Soak it up, people. The good, the bad and the ugly. Because ultimately, in the end, all of it is actually good. In fact, it’s great.
Bonus tip: When you get back home from your vacation, have a photobook made of your adventure. Our two year old loves looking through the book about our trip to Hawaii (details on that here), talking about what we did there and what we experienced. It’s a great way to build memory and it’s really dang cute too.
For all my favorite travel destinations CLICK HERE
For the rest of the mama’s posts, click below.