We’re not sure about you, but we’ve been taking more trips with our families than ever before. As a result, we’ve learned a lot about traveling with kids. Luckily, our kids are used to the road and really easygoing, all demands and potty stops considered, but that might also be a side effect of our preparation (*brushes shoulder off*). We’re excited to share our 5 best tips for traveling with kids with you!
We’re not here to just toot our own horns, but we realized after Ali shared how to pack a family of eight in one suitcase for a week that you might be interested in some of our travel hacks. These are things we previously texted just between the two of us!
Now, they’ll be your travel tips and hacks, too. Bookmark this page and come back to it next time you’re planning a family adventure. And, be sure to join The Bargain Sisters Group and follow us @the_bargainsisters to see how we’re preparing our families for our next vacation.
1. Get kids in on the planning
Our favorite travel tip for kids that helps to ease stress and make for a fun adventure for the whole crew is to bring your kids into the planning process. For younger kids, you can tell them where you’re going and when, how you’ll get there, and show them pictures of any stops along the way. Little kids thrive on routine and feeling a part of things.
Further, the older set (pre-teens and teens) may have some fun helping you choose. We like to give ours a timeline, a budget, and a deadline to come to the table with their proposals. Then, as a family, we present, debate, and vote! It’s such a fun way to teach kids budgeting, time calculation, and more. Plus, it makes for some very spirited dinner conversations.
2. Packing Travel Hack
Hey, we know some of you are procrastinators, and we can be, too. Trust! However, one of our biggest travel tips for kids is to pack early. We’re not talking about anything crazy like weeks in advance, but having a list, laying out outfits all together (seriously, check out Ali’s video—it’ll blow your mind), and preparing in advance will save a lot of headaches (and money!) later.
Again, this is where you can involve them and have a lot of fun along the way. Let them pick out some of their favorite things to put together and, if they have a backpack with them, put them fully in charge of what toys and books they want to bring along.
3. bring Travel toys!
Another of our packing hacks for traveling with kids is bringing surprises. We like to go to the Target Bullseye section (did you know they also sell online?!) and grab a few things for the road and for arrival. These things can be toys, treats, and even games.
Pro tip: Don’t forget about your return trip. Reserve a few items for traveling home, too! If you’re traveling with a toddler, this will be especially relevant. Keep in mind that younger children, including infants, can be entertained with things as simple as a plastic drink cup or a keychain. We’ve even handed ours a box of mints to shake in the backseat.
Relatedly, kids are easier to get out of the door with thoughtful bribes. We’re not saying you have to bribe your kids, but what we are saying is that if you let them pick a new toy they’re really excited about to bring with them and you keep it in the car the morning of your departure, there will be NO dragging feet.
Here are some of our favorite travel toys for kids. They’re super-portable, packable, and fun anytime.
4. The Holy Grail: Snacks
Above all, kids are food-driven. This has been proven over and over. We buy most of our travel snacks for kids in bulk using Amazon Subscribe & Save. Check out our post with our favorites and order ahead for your next family vacation. Plus, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t also buying them for ourselves (and our always-hungry husbands).
Also, bring more than you think you’ll need. Try something new or something you don’t often let your kids have (*cough* lollipops *cough*) and squeeze them into things like shoes to conserve space.
5. On-the-go entertainment
If you follow @the_bargainsisters, you know we’re big podcast buffs. The same applies to our kids. We like to prepare for our trips by creating family playlists and downloading kid-friendly podcasts (Wow In The World, Circle Around, Story Pirates, Brains On, Stories Podcast and audiobooks (Harry Potter, The Boxcar Children).
Moreover, if tablets are more your jam, we’re big fans of pre-downloading new games. Some of our favorites are Minecraft, School of Dragons: How to Train Your Dragon, Sonic The Hedgehog, Disney Magic Kingdom, PJ Masks, Paw Patrol Rescue World, Barbie Dreamhouse, and any of the PBS Kids games. Keep your eye peeled on The Bargain Sisters Group for any deals on tablets—we share those as we see them!
Let the good times roll
In sum, we’re here to make sure you ALL have fun getting where you’re going. We hope you can see from all these different options that we support whatever you want and need to do to keep everyone happy away from home. We’ve been there many times—we get it! These tips for traveling with kids will go a long way in maintaining everyone’s sanity.
What are your family travel hacks?