Summer is here! It’s a great time to travel, and if you’re like me, it usually involves hopping on a plane. My husband and I also love taking our kids to see new places, so we’ve gotten pretty good at packing them up and flying off on adventures.
With school age kids, for us it mostly comes down to entertainment and food. :) Some of these may seem obvious, but here are a few ideas that have helped us have smoother trips.
- Pack extra clothes in your carry on…for everyone. Ok, this one has to go first, because it’s key on plane trips. When I flew with my oldest for the first time, I of course had extra clothes for her, but what about myself when she got sick all over me?! Ever since then, we all have a ziploc bag with a change of clothes in our backpack. It came in handy this past week when we had an unexpected night in Dallas after a delayed flight. Going forward, I’ll also put our toothbrushes in these bags!
- Snacks, snacks and more snacks. I don’t know about your kids, but my son needs an endless supply of snacks when traveling. It’s part of his entertainment! Pair that with his many food allergies, and having plenty of snacks is essential. Back to that unexpected layover, I was so grateful for what seemed excessive while packing.
- Everyone carries their own backpack. As soon as they could carry one, we had our kids start bringing their own backpacks. It started out tiny (and light!), but they loved having their own bag with books, coloring pages and their favorite stuffed animal. The key for this one is ensuring it’s not too heavy. For us, that’s actually gotten harder as they’ve gotten older because they want to stuff ALL the books in there and are SURE they can carry it.
- Bring headphones and a device for kiddos. I’m all in when it comes to leaning a little bit more on screen time when traveling, especially on planes. Most airlines offer free movies, and I’ll set my kids up with one every time. It’s hard to sit still for a five hour flight as an adult, let alone as a child! So, headphones and an extra device like a tablet for kiddo use are musts. These are great for car travel too with my motion sick kiddo. Downloading an audiobook for him to listen to helps pass the time when he can’t do much else without feeling poorly.
- Small games and kindles. I love this not only for flying, but for going out as a family whenever there might be wait time, like at a restaurant. Things I can throw in my purse are perfect. We love UNO and other card games, and a current family fav is Quixx. This is a super fun dice game (so not great for the airplane), and we pulled it out the other night when we were out to dinner and had a long wait. My kids are also voracious readers and bring their kindles everywhere. Amazing for travel (and, for my kiddos, the lines at Disneyland!). Just remember to download new books before you leave and bring your charger! This is also a great way to lighten the load in their backpack and have access to library books while away from home.
Bonus Idea: Have your kiddos pick out some postcards during your trip to write to family and friends. Not only is it great writing practice, but everyone loves receiving them. We’re visiting my grandma right now and my kids were so excited to see the postcards they’ve sent her over the years on her refrigerator, that they were ready to sit down and write the ones we just bought at the Smoky Mountains.
Wishing you wonderful summer adventures!
Stephanie Sansone, Colearn Education Specialist