“I’m going to need a vacation from this vacation…”
“I’m at the beach, why am I still so stressed???”
We’ve partnered with EZPacking today to bring you some travel tips that will help make your trips this year a lot less stressful!
Vacations as a parent are a LOT different than the restful trips I remember having in the pre-kids stage of life. Gone are the days of sleeping in while listening to the waves lapping agains the shore through your open hotel window. Gone are the days of shutting your eyes on the beach and not watching your kids like a hawk to make sure every one stays safe.
Gone are the days of everyone packing their own bags and having the ability to find their own underwear. (seriously, it’s all in the backpack, how hard can it be kiddo???)
Vacations can be stressful, but I’m one of those people that LOVES travel. I’m willing to go pretty much anywhere and only need about 20 minutes to get ready (an hour if I’m taking the kids). Even with the added challenges and sometimes stresses of traveling with kids, I still LOVE to do it, and have done a lot of work to figure out the best ways of removing stressors when taking the kids along. We’ve gone from a very stressful first vacation to now, where I love taking them places.
From airports, to road trips and even international travel with kiddos…we’ve learned how to travel more efficiently and make things a lot less stressful, even when taking the kids along!
Though to be fair I still hate getting up early on vacay, but that’s not something that will change until their teens, I’m sure!
So how do you take a potentially stress-filled vacation and turn it into a FUN one with awesome memories being made my kids and parents alike? Two words…
It amazes me how many difficult situations I can avoid with my little ones when I take the time to prep ahead of time.
The toy bag – If you are traveling by plane, make sure each kiddo gets their own carry on bag complete with toys. Same for road trips… everyone needs to be in control of their own toys so there aren’t arguments about who gets to use the purple crayon first. Trust me, I’m a huge fan of teaching kids to share and creating opportunities for them to nicely color together with the same set of crayons…but those opportunities are not meant for vacations. Give each kiddo their own crayon box in their own bag. Same goes for books, games and other toys you bring. This alone will eliminate a TON of fights on the way to and from your vacation destination. Starting off on the right foot is ESSENTIAL, so pack those bags with care and avoid at least some of the bickering in the car on plane.
The clothes – After several dramatic showdowns with “missing” clothes or children wearing dirty underwear and socks because they “thought they were clean” we discovered a better way. EzPacking has clear packing cubes that solve ALL of your problems when traveling with kids. One cube is for shirts/pants, another is for underwear/socks/swimsuit and the last one is for DIRTY clothes. That’s right, the dirties won’t be right next to the clean ones in the bag anymore, so they can’t get away with wearing the same thing again and again.
These packing cubes can also be color coded so siblings can share a suitcase without getting anyone else’s clothes confused OR disorganized. FINALLY. Get a discount when you order the complete bundle of packing cubes together!
Getting ready in the mornings is so much easier when the kids can handle it themselves. Even if you have a baby or toddler who isn’t quite able to work those zippers yet, this will help you find their clothes and keep from losing those TINY socks and baby clothes.
Want to se the cubes in action? Check out this video!
Honestly, I’m using them for my own travels now too, it’s so nice to have everything packed in such a way that it’s not getting jostled around. There is a convenient small cube that’s perfect for toiletries, so you can pull it out at the security check and easily pop it back in (this works a lot better than the zip loc bags I had been using).
AND since each bag has a convenient handle on it, it’s a great solution if you are not sure if your bag will be overweight. If you get to the check-in counter and find that you ARE overweight, simply pull out one of the packing cubes and carry it on with you like a bag or personal item. These can save you SO MUCH MONEY on overpacked bags!
But let’s get back to traveling stress-free with the kids.
Screens – The answer to the screen time debate is one that looks different in every family, but for us, the rules change on vacation. When the kids are up at 5, they can totally watch a show or two while mom and dad get in a few extra winks or brew the early morning coffee. When we are at the hotel, we let them use screens whenever, BUT when we leave the hotel room, all devices stay behind and we enjoy our time together site seeing and experiencing what our vacation town has to offer. Regardless of where you fall on the screentime debate, make clear “vacation rules” with your kids so every one know what they can be expecting about this topic.
New toys – You’ll need some new stuff for in car entertainment AND in hotel entertainment. Hit up the dollar store for some exciting new stuff and tuck it into their bags when they aren’t looking. Save some in your bag too so they have new (never-before-seen) toys for the way home as well. Again, I wouldn’t usually spoil them with that many new toys in one week, BUT it’s totally worth spending the few bucks to have a bit more peace and sanity on the way to and from our vacation.
Snacks – I saved this for last but it is SO IMPORTANT. For some reason, every one is 10x hungrier on vacation than they are at home. Pack snacks. Then when you think you have enough, PACK MORE SNACKS. You can’t really over do it when it comes to munchies. Especially since it’s loads cheaper to stock up at a bulk foods store for discount prices than it is to have to buy snacks with inflated prices at gas stations or in a vacation town. Stock up before the trip and you’ll be extremely thankful you did!
Lastly, I have some great news! EZPacking has agreed to give my readers (that’s you!) 10% discount on their products for the next 7 days! So if you are on the fence about that full bundle, now is the best time to snag it! Get your coupon code here.
Do you have any tips for saving yourself from stress when traveling with kids? Share your best advice in the comments so we can all add to our vacation strategy!