In case you missed it, here is a recent post from “Rosie to the Rescue”, my blog for Parents Magazine. I wrote this blog when I was on my Mommy IQ: The Complete Guide to Pregnancy book tour. After taking each of my children on a different portion of the trip, I collected my top 10 tips on traveling with kids to share with you in this blog. Don’t miss the rest of the “Rosie to the Rescue” posts, available here.
I have officially begun my book tour for Mommy IQ: The Complete Guide to Pregnancy and I am not in the least bit prepared, at least not in the usual way. I know most would have their outfits all laid out in advance, and at least some idea where on earth they were supposed to be at any given time. But not me, at least not on this particular adventure because I have decided to travel with one of my kids on each leg of the tour.
Firstly Vivienne. She is the greatest at the longest flights, not through any amazing skill of mine but because she is only 4 ½ months old and has no idea we are on a plane! So she is joining me cross-country to California. JR is coming to Dallas, Minneapolis, and Chicago, as he is by now a superstar travel companion since I’ve made him hit the road with his mama pretty much since the day he was born (maternity leave isn’t a luxury I have yet had). And Wellington is joining me in Atlanta, Bethesda, and Cherry Hill, NJ. Holy Moly is all I have to say! He is 19 months old and a total hurricane—a sweet one nonetheless.
What I am prepared for, however, is traveling with kids, as prepared as one can ever be! I thought this would be a great opportunity to share with you some of the tricks I have picked up over the last few years as I try and juggle work and the great opportunities for adventure across America with my children. Hope these 10 points will help you, whether you are traveling by train, plane, or automobile:
1) Forget all your normal rules (if you have any, which I hope you have a few) like “no sugar!”
2) There is no such thing as “making good time” when you are with kids (that is directed mainly at you, dads!). Build in time for breaks!
3) I know this is a tough one, but you really shouldn’t feed your kids while the car is moving.Choking is a real danger, so make stopping to eat part of the adventure.
4) When faced with the question, “How much longer?” try and quantify time in terms of your kid’s favorite TV show, as it will make more sense and likely satisfy the question.
5) Buy mini gifts and wrap them well. Have your wee one open them throughout the trip. I love stickers, books, UNO cards (you can adapt the rules for many ages), lollipops, connect-the-dot mini books, and crayons.
6) Try to book flights during nap times and if there is ever the opportunity for a red-eye, take it! Get the kids in PJs before the flight and explain that it’s “lights out” as soon as you take off. Nothing like the hum of the engine to help kids sleep.
7) As well as packing extra clothes for your kids, remember kids can also vomit on you (oh yeah, I’ve been there), so always keep an extra shirt for yourself somewhere handy.
8) Take as much nutritionally rich food, but not messy, as possible. Luna bars are amazing as they are extremely tasty, seem like a treat, and not messy. There’s nothing worse than being at the whim of gas station or airport food!
9) You can take stuff to drink past airport security so you don’t have to spend so much money on water or juice. Just mention you have kids and security will run special tests on the liquids. I was one happy mommy when I figured this out!
10) Most of all, remember that the journey is part of the adventure and it can be just as full of anxiety and excitement for kids as it is for you. Take a little time to explain all the steps of the trip and then try and enjoy them, even if they don’t go according to plan. Just because you aren’t sunning yourself with a cocktail by the pool doesn’t mean you’re not on vacation!