Traveling with kids is definitely not easy whether you’re traveling within Long Island or going much further away. You have to bring three times as much stuff as you normally would for yourself and you have to make three times as many stops as well. You also have to try to keep them entertained when they bore easily. If you are hitting the road this summer with the kids, whether for a day trip or overnight, here are some tips to make your trip easier.
Plan ahead – We cannot stress enough the importance of planning ahead when traveling with kids. While impromptu activity is always welcome, it is better if it is built around planned activities. Showing up to a location or activity and finding it fully booked or closed is guaranteed to throw your child into full meltdown mode. We recommend planning at least 1-2 activities per day and having a short list of restaurants where you might want to eat. This will give you some flexibility in your day, but guarantee that you will have something to do.
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Bring toys or games to play with – Adults may enjoy the journey of getting to a location, but kids typically do not. Bring along toys or games to keep them entertained during the trip. If you are driving, there are portable tables that you can buy which kids can use in the car allowing them to play games and do arts and crafts easier. While we are not advocates of kids zoning out on electronics, long road trips or plane flights are definitely a time that we think it is okay for kids to spend time using electronic readers and tablets. Load them up with educational games or books before the trip so at least they are doing something educational and not just playing games.
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Pack snacks – Always bring along snacks and drinks when hitting the road. If driving, you never know when hunger pangs will hit and if you will be able to find someplace quickly to buy a snack. Even if you do find someplace, it will most likely be a convenience store, which is definitely convenient but usually more expensive. If you are flying, airport food is extremely expensive and food on planes is not much cheaper. We recommend bringing along granola bars or Nutri-grain bars as they are easy to carry. Bring along bottles of water in the car or an empty bottle for the airport; you can fill it up at a water fountain after you go through security.
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Pack a change of clothes for kids and adults – Kids are notoriously messy and no matter how you try, they will mess up their outfit when traveling. Pack an extra outfit that you can change them into when they get messy. Also pack an extra outfit, or just a shirt, for the adults. Whatever gets on the kids usually gets on the adults too, and the adults are the ones who end up wearing it all day as most of the time they only pack extra clothes for the kids.
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Bring along wipes and hand sanitizer – Always bring along wipes and hand sanitizer when traveling. You might find a bathroom on the road, but it might have no soap or even worse no toilet paper. You can also use wipes for cleaning faces after snacks in the car or stops for ice cream. If you have wipes and hand sanitizer with you, you are ready for almost anything.
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By Mikaela Walker
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