If you have kids, you don’t have a lot of time to read. My pet peeve is a long winded blog about family travel that’s light on tips, but just FULL of funny anecdotes. You just need the tips. So here they are, quick and dirty.
Bring balloons to inflate.
You can work off a lot of kid’s-been-in-a-car-all-day energy at the hotel. Yet an inflated balloon doesn’t travel far and won’t break anything.
And while we’re at it…bubbles.
Blowing bubbles helps with the same thing especially at airports and are totally worth taking precious ounces of what the TSA allows you to bring in liquids.
How to fly with young children.
Parent one uses pre-board to load in gear, sets up shop. Parent 2 waits with children and boards absolutely last. This way you wear them out, don’t expose them to the most stressful part of the trip-the boarding process and they are not constrained an extra 45 minutes (or longer) for the flight to leave.
Never feel bad about going to McDonalds.
Or any fast food. for that matter. Being a quick and stress free meal is EXACTLY what these restaurants were made for.
For god’s sakes, no buffets.
Mom’s are required to do all the getting up and down, assembling, pouring, cutting spreading and STILL leave a tip.
Use the ironing board in your room.
No, not to iron, but for more counter space or a TV dinner table. Lower it to make an activity table.
Two words: Duct tape.
Use it to childproof outlets, tape drawers and toilet lids shut and wrangle dangling chords.
When you walk into any new space (like a hotel room, Air BnB, cruise cabin), drop everything and check windows are locked, balcony doors shut and anything else that could be potentially dangerous for a wandering child.
Seek out restaurants with booths.
Children relax more in them and even fall asleep. This old fashion seating can be found at Denny’s, Perkin’s, Cracker Barrels. Yep the food maybe mediocre, but at leastI get to eat that mediocre food.
Long day sight-seeing?
Throw a pair of thin flip flops into your handbag and some baby powder. At lunch or on a break, take off your comfy shoes (they won’t be after 6 to 10 hours on your feet) slip on the flip flops and sprinkle your feet with BP. Instant feel good.
Never leave a location without using its restroom.
Your children will say they don’t have to go. They lie.
Dress for battle.
For those of us still helping children onto the potty, let’s be honest: you are going to be spending more time than you want crouched on a bathroom floor. A PUBLIC. BATHROOM. FLOOR. I like wearing a nylon hiking pant from Columbia, which I can easily wash off with a paper towel drenched in Purell. They have articulated knees for easy bending AND a high waistline so I’m not flashing my thong underwear every time I bend down to help my kids.
Pack for your real life, not your imaginary one.
Just leave the book, fashion magazine, or a crossword puzzle at home. You won’t get a chance. Trust me.
Ditch the wheels ASAP.
I once asked a father of two sets of twins (TWO!) for his best advice. He told me to get them out of the stroller and used to walking. It was a painful process, but I stopped pushing a stroller when they were three and now at five they can go anywhere and keep up with me. I still wipe their butts, so I can’t get too cocky.
Build in a siesta.
No matter your age, we all get tired and cranky from around 2 to 4pm. Build in a break, nap or low-key time for kids to color…okay maybe you can bring that fashion magazine afterall.
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