Traveling with kids could be an Olympic sport. If you’ve ever tried to calculate how many diapers to bring for a week’s timespan, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Fortunately, we are done with diapers and our kids travel much smoother now, but there are some things I like to do before and when we travel to make our trip as stress-free as possible.
- Car trash can. I have a plastic cereal container (similar to this) that I use a trash can for our van. I simply line it with a grocery bag and put the lid back on. Not complicated at all and the trash gets contained. Before I placed this in our car though, I went over how to use it with my kids. I know it sounds simple, but I also knew that if I didn’t go over that with them, they’d still leave sticker wrappers and scraps beside or in their seats and the car trash can would just become another thing in our car. It also doubles as a barf bucket in case anyone were to get sick. So far, we haven’t had to use it for this (knock on wood), but I know it’s ready and available if need be. I’d just take the grocery bag of trash out of it, hand the kid the container without the lid, and wash it out as soon as we could stop. I know it’s gross to think about, but it’s a lot grosser to think about NOT having that barf bucket if you are ever in a sick situation.
- Outfits in Ziploc bags. I absolutely love this tip. When we went to Disney World, we flew and decided to only pay for 2 checked suitcases between the 5 of us. One thing that made this so much easier was putting all of my kids clothes in 1 suitcase and putting each day’s outfit for them in gallon sized Ziploc bags. My kids could easily pull out a baggie, take their own clothes out, and get dressed. There was no having to match outfits in the mornings or getting one kid’s clothes mixed up with another’s. All of the dirty clothes went back into the suitcase unbagged and clean clothes were kept nice and fresh in their Ziploc bags. At the end of the trip, I could easily keep the empty bags in the suitcase and reuse those bags for the next trip as to not waste bags. Side tip: You could also keep a Ziploc outfit in your vehicle for emergencies. Another side tip… We keep wipes in the van at all times too for easy clean up.
- Kids’ Travel Packs. Often times before a trip, we’ll give each of our kids a small bag that they can bring fun stuff in. We tell them that this stuff has to occupy them in the car or on the plane (depending on our method of travel) and that they are responsible for these items. If we’re in the car, all items must be back in the bag once we arrive at our destination. If we are on a plane, the items in the bag have to be appropriate for air travel. We allow them each to pack a snack or gum in these bags as well. It makes them excited to travel and helps to occupy them on long trips.
- No drinks in the van. I know this seems harsh, but if we happen to go on a long trip, we’ll stop for a meal and they get plenty to drink. If the trip isn’t long (less than 5 hours), I know my kids can go without drinks for that period of time. Drinks cause them to have to pee, and with 3 kids, that could mean stopping multiple times at various points of our trip, meaning MORE travel time. Occasionally, I will allow them to bring a small bottle of water. We choose water because none of my kids guzzle it and therefore won’t likely need to stop every 30 minutes to use the bathroom. If I allowed my youngest or my middle child to bring juice or milk, it’d be gone before leaving the driveway and we’d be stopping to use the bathroom 3 times in an hour. I promise they are not deprived and we provide our kids with plenty of foods and drinks, and if they need to use the bathroom, we always stop as soon as we can. 😉
- Clean up before you get up. Even if we are just driving to school, I always have my kids clean up anything surrounding them in the car. If I don’t, our van will collect food scraps, tubes of chapstick, toys, cups, papers, etc. faster than you can say, “mom van.” I always tell my kids to clean up before they get up and I check that they do it. This keeps our van so much cleaner each day and it has become part of our expectation and therefore, part of our routine.