We love to travel as a family. Most of our trips until now have been short jaunts to the beach or to visit family. However, this year we are planning some bigger trips and I wanted to share more about how we travel with all of you.
Everything I post on here will be places we have actually traveled to with the kids, but we will update them with tips and suggestions we receive. I am also excited that these pages will be a collaborative effort with my husband Justin.
So, before you explore the Travel & Event Guides, I want to share some of our tips and tricks for packing and traveling with kids.
Traveling with Kids
- Toys. This is a big question I get. Do we allow the kids to pack toys or not for a trip? This is the simple answer. Yes. They are each allowed to bring one toy, one stuffed animal and their tablet. We also bring crayons and coloring books sometimes too.
- Snacks. This is an affirmative. No matter how far we are going or where we are going, we are bringing snacks. I keep them in the hotel room to avoid paying the hotel prices for a bag of chips. I also make sure to bring their absolute favorite things so that they will be more exited to eat what I brought rather than what the hotel has.
- Games. If we are on a road trip, I always have a game up my sleeve. I spy or 20 questions or an animal game. I can literally make things up at the drop of a hat. When they get to squabbling about something in the car I yell out, LET’S PLAY A GAME. Works like magic.
Packing with Kids
The hardest thing about packing a family of our size (5 people) is the sheer number of essentials you need. No matter if we are traveling for a day or 10, we always need the same essentials. I have come up with a few guidelines for packing and am also going to include my packing matrix in this section.
The biggest issue for most people is over packing. This just weighs you down when traveling but it can make coming home and unpacking a nightmare too. Think about what you are going to be doing on vacation. Do you really need two outfits per day, or will you be at the beach and mostly in a swimsuit? Do you really need all the toiletries in your bathroom or are there some you can buy there, or the hotel will provide you? These are all things we think about before we even start packing.
Packing Matrix (based on a 5 day trip):
- Me: 5 daytime outfits, 2-night outfits, 1 pair of pajamas, 3 pairs of shoes. If we are going to the beach add 2 swimsuits and 2 cover-ups.
- Husband: 5-day outfits, 2-night outfits, 1 pair of pajamas, 2 pairs of shoes. If we are going to the beach add 2 swimsuits and 2 t-shirts.
- Kids: 5-day outfits, 5-night outfits, 2 additional in case something happens, 2 pairs of shoes, 1 pair of pajamas. If we are going to the beach, I would trade out the 5-day outfits for 2 swimsuits and 3 t-shirts.
Big Events with Kids
- Backup plan. We always have an exit strategy. We always know in advance what we will do if it starts raining or one of the kids loses their minds! We park close and pay a fortune, but it gives me the peace of mind to know that I can leave at a moment’s notice if we need to. Now that they are older this isn’t as much of an issue anymore, but it used to calm my nerves.
- Emergency Plan. This is something that I hate that we have to do but has become one of the most essential things on our list. What if there is an emergency? What if there is a situation with a bomb or a shooter or some other catastrophic event like a fire. If we are separated where is our home base? If we can’t use our phones, where are we meeting. We always choose a place when we are walking in and discuss it with the kids. If something happens, we meet here, ok? Sometimes they will ask us what we mean, and we always say, if there is a reason you need to meet us here you will know. They don’t question it, but I am sure as they get older, they will ask more, and we will answer them then. I am confident that they will know what we are talking about if the situation ever arises.
- Food and Drink. I like to have an idea of where the food and drinks are as well as the bathrooms. This is great information because you know as well as I do if the kids get hungry, they usually need to eat right then. I always have emergency rations in my bag.
- Location. We always pick a place close to the bathrooms and the food. Especially at events like Jazz Fest and French Quarter Festival we never go in the middle of the crowd or too close to the stage.
- Essentials. No matter where we go my bag is always packed with the following: snacks, water, sunscreen, sunglasses, Band-Aids, Benadryl, wipes, a small umbrella, suckers or skittles, a blanket or towel they can sit on. In the car I also bring an extra set of clothes.