Are you traveling with your kids this holiday season? If you are, sorry about that. It's a necessary evil when you have loved ones all over the country. Let's hope Aunt Betty has a stiff drink waiting for you.
My family has put in a lot of miles and I've got some tips that might help you navigate this holiday season.
1. Snacks: You literally can't pack enough snacks. Pack what you think you'll need and then double it. Don't forget candy! I'm not above bribing my children. Hard candy is also great if you are flying. It'll be a distraction for takeoff and landing and will help with ear issues.
2. Leak proof water bottles: Unless you want to hear your kid complaining that their shirt is wet for an hour make sure their water bottle is leak proof. It also sucks when your diaper bag gets soaked. I'm not kidding. Do a test run at home.
3. Food storage containers: These are super handy as lunch trays, snack containers, and to help contain small toys in your kids lap. The lid makes clean-up and storage easy too.
4. Plastic grocery bags: Plastic bags can contain clothes after a poop explosion and when shirts and pants get wet. Use them as garbage bags, too. Heck, we've even had to use them as barf bags. Pack a ton of them.
5. Rest areas: If you're driving, know where the rest areas are. Most are easy-on, easy-off from the highway. Rest areas will also have more than one bathroom stall. Nothing is worse than having to wait in line at a gas station when your kid has to go RIGHT NOW.
6. Portable potty seat: In the rural parts of the country you may find rest areas and gas stations hard to come by. A portable kid potty will save you when you need to stop on the side of the road. If it's poop, use one of your handy plastic grocery bags to line the potty. It's disgusting, but as we all know, so are kids.
7. Clip boards: These are handy to keep paper in place and provide a hard backing to color. Tip; don't give your toddler markers. Use crayons or colored pencils. I learned this the hard way. My kid looked like a tattooed biker when we arrived at Grandmas.
8. Books: Physical books and digital books loaded to the tablet. Let your kids pick the books they want to bring. They'll be more interested in them. Maybe.
9. Shows: Movies, cartoons and games on their tablet. Netflix lets you download from a selection of movies and kid shows so you don't need wifi. Don't forget their headphones!
10. Avoid noisy toys: Obviously, they're annoying. After 15 minutes you'll want to pull your hair out of your head. Inevitably, it will be the only toy your kid will want to play with. Don't pack them!
Good luck and safe travels!