(StatePoint) Getting from point A to point B with young kids is an adventure within itself. Whether by plane, train or automobile, parents are on the search for ways to make family travel a little less stressful.
To help, Sandy Chang, mom of two and founder of SandyALaMode.com, is offering her five best travel hacks. These hacks won't guarantee a tantrum-free trip, but they will help parents feel as prepared as possible for the journey ahead.
• Save space in the suitcase. Pack a few essential clothing items that can easily be mixed and matched. For example, nights can get chilly, so take one cute sweater that works well with all your child’s outfits. The same idea applies to shoes. Opt for neutral colored shoes that match everything, instead of multiple pairs to coordinate with each outfit.
• Pack snacks that can also serve as entertainment: Nothing can set off a massive meltdown like hunger. Have a variety of food options at the ready, and bring less-mess snacks that add an element of fun. For example, certain cereals can be used for a stacking game, or turned into a necklace and then eaten. Fill a pouch with at least one unexpected treat for a fun surprise.
If you’re flying, bring empty bottles to fill with milk or water before boarding so your family can stay hydrated on the plane.
“I always make sure the kids are eating and drinking at takeoff and landing to help prevent their ears from hurting,” says Chang.
• Bring a lightweight, compact stroller. Little kids have little legs that frequently get tired, which is why a stroller is necessary gear when traveling with children. Make sure you choose a stroller that is lightweight since you will be opening and closing it many times and lugging it to different places.
“The Baby Jogger City Tour stroller has been a great option for us. In addition to the backpack-style carry bag that helps keep hands free to tend to little ones, it folds up small enough to fit into many airline overhead compartments,” says Chang. She also notes that, despite its compact frame, it doesn’t compromise on storage space underneath the stroller. The stroller’s UV50+ sun canopy with built-in extension helps protect babies on sunny days, and the durable wheels swivel for greater maneuverability, which is especially helpful in crowded airports. To learn more visit BabyJogger.com.
• Stay organized with plastic bags. Plastic bags can help you separate clean and dirty clothes as you go, and makes doing laundry much easier after your trip. In the car or on the plane, keep a plastic bag with extra clothing nearby. Having an extra set of clothes in an easily accessible spot will be your saving grace when there are spills or accidents on-the-go.
• Ask older siblings to help. If they are old enough, kids can lend a hand and help take some of the burden off parents. Before the trip, let children choose a backpack which they can use throughout the vacation to carry their own daily supplies and snacks.
Many kids love chipping in. “Austin absolutely loves pushing Vivian around in her stroller. I think it gives him a sense of control, and it’s just fun,” says Chang.
Traveling with children is never easy, but having a few well-planned hacks will help ensure a smoother journey and more fun for the entire family.