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With two children, ages 2 and 10 months, it probably doesn't surprise you that going on vacation takes on a whole different meaning than it once did. Having just survived a weeklong trip to the beach with my hubby and our two little ones I thought now would be a great time to share my best travel tips with you.
* Surprises! Throughout the year I post freebies of kids free books, samples of toys, and other kid friendly items. I store them in a box in our basement until needed. A great time to pull out these little tidbits and freebies is during a long trip in the car. Handing them over to little fingers to explore while on a lengthy car trip keeps them occupied for short spurts of time. (You could even wrap them in newspaper like little presents to add to the excitement.) At the end of the trip you don't feel bad about doing a quick once over of the car and pitching unwanted items or trading with family members for the ride home. These little surprises also make great bribes for getting kiddos to cooperate with behavior in restaurants, nap times, outings, etc.
*When packing place outfits for little ones in ziploc baggies. This ensures that all the pieces for little ones are easily accessible when spills, accidents, and early mornings and late nights occur. No rooting through suitcases for matching items this way.
* ALWAYS pack A TON of snacks. The car rides to and from attractions, restaurant waits (before and during seating), and irregular mealtimes while away can make even the sweetest cherub a grump. I separated larger bags of snacks into smaller sandwich baggie snacks. I created trail mixes and kept packs of crackers and small sized juice boxes readily available in our diaper bag at all times.
* Keep their schedules as routine as possible. Being away from home isn't an easy adjustment for most kiddos. My kids have a very rigid routine at home and while away I try my very hardest to stick as close to possible to that routine so that they know what is expected and their cooperation is given. Keeping meal times, nap times, and bed times consistent will help to keep everyone smiley.
*Bring a comfort item from home. Each of my children has an item they nap and sleep with and take with them when leaving home. These little items offer them comfort and are a reminder from home. While you may be tempted to keep that favorite animal or blanket at home for fear of losing it, chances are vacation will go a lot smoother if your little one has it in tow.
* Clean before you go. I HATE coming home from a trip to find that not only do I now have to do all of the laundry we acquired while away, but I also have to clean the house, make meals, and pay bills. I try to have my house in tip top shape before we go. I pay all the bills, balance the checkbook, clean the house, do all laundry, stick a meal or two in the freezer, and do a final run through of all rooms. I LOVE being greeted to a clean and maintained household after a trip.
I have found the above tips to prove successful for our family when traveling with little ones. I would love to hear your best tips. Please share them in the comments or leave them as a comment on my Facebook page here.