Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Warner Bros. Pictures. While I was compensated to write a post about Blended, all opinions are my own.
As the sun shows more of its cheerful face and the weather warms up, it comes time for families to prepare for their annual break away from everyday life–vacation! While vacation is definitely something to look forward to and can be a very refreshing restart, it can also be a time of dread or stress when it is done with little ones in tow. Fortunately, the experience of others can be put into play to prevent any hassle and to make the most of these memorable times.
I asked my readers for their best travel tips while vacationing with children ages 6 and under. The responses were many and great! Here is a list of these amazing tips.
10 Tips for Vacationing with Young Children
- Plan ahead. To prevent forgetting to pack ANYTHING, make a list with EVERYTHING you and your wee ones will need, from clothes and diapers to toys and charging cords. Also, be sure to over pack a bit. Your child is certain to have spills, messes, and blow outs during the trip, so be prepared.
- Car/booster seat. If you’re travelling with a car/booster seat, make sure your seat is the right size for your child, is installed correctly, and that your wee one is buckled in safely. Also, if you’re flying anywhere, make sure your seat is FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) approved (there should be a sticker on the seat that states this or the seat’s manual will mention it). Lastly, keep in mind that many car rental companies will also rent out car or booster seats (which can considerably lighten your load).
- Entertainment. A child must be kept entertained at pretty much all times (well, when they’re awake). Bring along a wide variety of games, toys, and creative projects to keep the entertainment fresh. Also consider purchasing a special backpack (or other entertainment carrying bag) and brand new items that your child can’t use until your trip. Some suggestions: crayons (might I recommend Crayola’s trianglular crayons–not so much rolling!), reading books, coloring books, activity books, quiet books, travel games, and travel friendly toys (one of my childhood favorites was Wooly Willy). You might want to avoid puzzles, blocks, or toys that have many pieces as pieces are almost certain to go missing. A dollar store baking sheet serves well as a table to do activities on (and to use magnets with). Also, be sure to charge any electronics (iPod, iPad, etc.) that you’re bringing along (and remember to pack its charger).
- Snacks. Keep hunger (and thirst) at bay by packing lots of snacks and liquids to drink (if flying, be sure to check with your airport what is allowed or simply rely on what is available for passengers). Pack more snacks and drinks than you think you will need so you’re sure not to run out (plus if there’s an emergency, you have something to eat and drink in tow).
- Clean up. Bring paper towels, hand wipes (or just use baby wipes), and baggies to clean up messes and store sticky or gross things.
- Ship ahead. To help lighten up the load you’re travelling with, consider shipping supplies for your wee one to your destination. One good service to use for this purpose is Babies Travel Lite. They’ll ship ahead to your hotel, your cruise, or even your home for your return journey (be sure to check with them if the place you’re staying is part of their service).
- Potty time. If you are in the process of potty training your child or your child is already potty trained, bring along a portable potty seat for them to use. The one I have folds up and tucks into a pouch to keep it (and your diaper bag) clean and convenient. The potty seat can be used in public restrooms or in your hotel bathroom. Another idea is to bring along a potty chair in the back of your vehicle. Place half of a disposable diaper in the bottom of the potty chair to absorb liquids and make cleanup less messy.
- First aid and medications. Pack a travel first aid kit with antibiotic ointment and bandages for minor owies. You might also want to bring along gripe water (make sure it doesn’t need refrigerated), baby Tylenol, and other such items for teething (and adult pain killers and antacids for you, too).
- Blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals. To make sleep time more homey for your wee one, pack a familiar blanket, pillow, and stuffed animal (or if all of that is too much, opt for just whatever is their favorite).
- Strategic packing. When packing your suitcases, be sure to pack more immediate items (like snacks, beverages, toys, binkies, blankets, etc.) in strategic locations so they’re easy to grab and use.
Implement these straight-forward tips and hopefully you won’t run into too many unpleasantries during your family vacation with young children! Now if you happen to have older children or teenagers like Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore have in their latest movie Blended, that would require another post all to itself! But if you’re ready for some laughs and learning some life lessons before you hit the road for your vacation destination, I encourage you to watch Blended. This comical film takes you on a unique vacation and shares the fictional story of a single dad (Sandler) and a single mom (Barrymore) who end a terrible, awkward blind date only to find themselves together again on a family vacation to Africa. This film hits theaters May 23, and is rated PG13.