Monday, December 19, 2016

10 Rules for Traveling with Your Kids

Whether by land, air or sea, a one-day or three-week trip, your family vacations can now include all your kids and still be fun and relaxing. No need to leave the baby with the grandparents unless you want to, as traveling will present ways to teach your children about different cultures, domestic or global. Just apply these ten simple rules for traveling with your kids and your family vacations will be fun for everyone.

1. Safety first, if applicable be sure to pack an adequate amount of any medication your child may need, or a doctor’s prescription which could be filled en route in case of an emergency. Also bring extra glasses or contacts (if worn by your kids), as well as a thermometer, pocket-sized tissue packets, and the small size of either Airborne, Children’s Motrin or Infant Tylenol. Organize each child’s (and your) medical needs in a tightly-sealed clear bag, and label with the appropriate name in permanent marking pen.


2. Travel paperwork must be in order for children as well as adults. Passports are now mandatory for all family members traveling outside the U.S. and must be up-to-date. Whether domestic or global travel, remember to include current medical/dental/optical insurance cards for each family member.


3. Individual travel bags, diaper bag/travel bag combination, and child-size pull-along luggage-on-wheels. Whether flying, driving, or ocean cruise, everyone gets their own luggage to be responsible for packing (with your help). Be sure to label each child’s luggage (last name only), with current address and cell phone or emergency number.


4. Your children will need appropriate clothing for the trip, as well as staples like play-clothes, jeans, t-shirts, p. j.’s, socks and under-clothes to last your whole trip. Depending on the destination, also pack shoes, flip-flops, bathing suits, swim trunks, beach towels, snow boards, snowsuits, skis, boots, parkas, or warm coats.


5. If traveling for a special occasion or the holidays your children will need an additional outfit. For example a wedding or Christmas dinner may warrant a suit with tie or special dress and party shoes with tights. Your children’s dress-wear should be packed together in a separate garment bag and kept along with your luggage.


6. Every child gets their own small-sized toothpaste and toothbrush, comb or hairbrush, travel-size shampoo and lotion/sunscreen, fingernail clippers and nailbrush, soap and deodorant (if older). And as in suggestion #1 organize each child’s grooming necessities in a tightly-sealed clear bag, and label by name.


7. Each child will need one favorite stuffed animal, toy, book, or hand-held game to help pass the traveling time. Remind them that the rest of their toys will be waiting for them when they get home.


8. Your baby will need all of the above plus a sufficient supply of bottles, formula, diapers, baby wipes, and/or pull-ups. Also remember to bring your baby carrier, a “Snuggly” device (to wear baby) and/or a fold-up stroller.


9. If your older children need to catch-up on any school subject, or have pending reports, make sure to bring the appropriate materials. Possibly bring a notebook with pen and paper, a camera, and/or laptop computer.


10. Finally, don’t forget the travel snacks! See my article “Making Tasty Treats and Healthy Snacks for Your Kids” for home-made trail-mix ideas. Bring your own bottled water, packing one or two bottles in each child’s luggage.


Remember that traveling with your children is one of the best ways to enrich family memories. Travel brings-to-life the things your kids may have only seen or read about in school books or online. And family trips will present many ways to teach your children about their world while creating lasting family memories.


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