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Summer Traveling Tips for Vacationing with Young Children

Ah, the family summer vacation! Traveling with kids is certainly an adventure. At times it can be wonderful. There is nothing like seeing the world through the curious eyes of a child. However, sometime after that second bathroom stop and first meltdown, that wonder begins to fade. We've put together a collection of travel hacks to simplify your trip and hopefully create a more pleasant environment for everyone.

Our Favorite Travel Hacks

Packing: Plan Before You Go

No matter how many times I've traveled with my three kids, I still always feel like I'm forgetting something! These packing lists help me feel more calm and organized. Also, it's important to remember that, unless you'll be traveling in the middle of nowhere, most commonly forgotten travel essentials can be purchased wherever you go. Try not to stress too much.

The Ultimate Packing List from Smarter Travel

Traveling with Baby Packing List from Our Handcrafted Life

Ultimate List of Road Trip Necessities from Peanut Blossom

Beach and Pool Packing List from Life With Heidi

For Older Kids, Try this Packing List Kids Can Use To Pack Themselves from Kristi at I Should Be Mopping The Floor. That blog title is my favorite!

Be sure to visit the Travel Mamas for a great collection of packing lists, a directory on baby gear rental companies, and much more. One of my favorites is their Airplane Travel Kit for Babies and Toddlers.

Keep 'em Fed, Keep 'em Happy!

  • Snackle Boxes-My friend swears that this is one of the most important elements of a successful road trip with her 3 boys. Find the containers here.
  • Or try these snack trays. This ingenious mom even put a chalkboard on hers so they double as a fun activity.
  • Leave the sippy cups at home and turn any cup into one with these Silikids Siliskins, or you can make your own with cling wrap.
  • Freeze water bottle or juice boxes instead of packing ice packs.

Staying Comfortable on the Road and in the Air

  • No Bob Panda- I haven't tried this personally, but it seems like a soft, comfortable way to avoid slumped over heads in the car seat.
  • Travel pillow or Foot rest- These can make kids more comfortable in the car, and also provide neck, shoulder and back support. They've also been known to make children's car naps last longer. Hallelujah! A happy kid is the most important element of a pleasant trip.
  • Pacifiers- If your child is still using a pacifier to soothe themselves, you want to have lots of backups. I often drive my three kids to Ohio while my husband is at home working. I always felt like the pacis must have a magnetic pull that draws them into the most difficult to find hidden spaces of my van. Trust me, you don't want to be without one when you need it most. Use a small tupperware to keep extra pacis clean and easy to find. Store it somewhere easy to reach, like your center console.

Keeping The Car Organized and Clean-ish

  • We bring along this JJ Cole Diaper Caddy that has held up since our eight year old was born. There is room for plenty of diapers, wipes and there is a compartment where we keep diaper cream, children's ibuprofen, medicine syringes, bandaids, etc. I also love this Wipe case from Skip Hop. It makes diapers changes on the go so easy! I kept one of these in my car at all times for years. You never know when you're going to need it.
  • Bring an extra sheet to cover the floor of the car and/or the seats. When you get where you need to go you can just remove the sheet and shake out all the crumb
  • Use a cereal storage container as a portable trash can.
  • Use cupcake liners to keep cup holders clean.
  • These cheap storage containers and shower caddies below can be bought at the Dollar Tree, but do a great job keeping art supplies, toys and snacks organized.
  • Kid-friendly headphones- My kids love these Cozy Phones. I love that they stay on and are comfortable. Also, the cord that comes with them is soft and not rubbery.
  • Use metal baking trays as a hard surface for kids to color, eat or play with magnets on.
  • Buy cheap window clings to keep kids busy during long flights.

Better Safe Than Sorry

  • Don't forget to include a first aid kit: I love this DIY Kit from Mama Cheaps. It's small enough to put under the passenger seat in the car or in a carryon on an airplane.
  • On one of our last trips, we got a flat tire. Neither my husband or I had a clue how to change it, so this would've really come in handy.
  • I love this bracelet idea, especially if you have a child who likes to wander. If they get lost in a busy airport or highway rest area, people will be able to call you right away. Find the beads here.

Gear for When You Get There

These items can easily be folded down and put into a car or stuffed into a suitcase:

  • Mac Folding Wagon- Carry luggage and all that baby gear with this large wagon that folds down as small as an umbrella stroller.
  • White Noise Machine- I've had this one for eight years. It's very simple and a little bulky, but it travels really well and works like a charm.

For everything you need that you can't bring with you:

  • Baby Gear Delivery Service- If you desperately need a crib, high chair or even toys to keep your kids happy during your trip, check out this directory to find baby gear that can be delivered right to your hotel or rental.

More Great Links

Check out Modern Mom Blog for a VERY Comprehensive Guide to Air Travel with Baby or Toddler

Amazing List of Travel Hacks

The Kid-Friendly Road Trip Playlist That Won’t Make You Want To Blow Your Brains Out

Ten Signs Your “Vacation” Is Actually A Trip:

They aren't kidding about those airplane bathroom changing "tables", but don't let them scare you off. Travel with kids is possible! (But, yeah, if you can get people to come to you, you should do that.)

I hope these resources and ideas will help make your travels go smoothly this summer!

Happy Trails, Mamas!

♥ Erin