By TMoM Team Member Anna Keller

I’m taking a bit of a different angle with this travel-related post. Instead of tips on what to do while traveling with kids…we’re going to talk today about what NOT to do while traveling with kids. These are things I’ve learned in my six years as a parent and want to pay forward so y’all can benefit. (You’re welcome!)

Travel with Kids

Ready? Let’s do it…

When traveling with kids, DO NOT:

Underpack underwear/diapers/Pull-Ups.

Nope. Don’t do it. I mean, yes, most places you go you can buy these things, but it’s infinitely more convenient to have them readily on hand. If you’ll be gone three nights and your child sleeps in Pull-Ups, pack AT LEAST four. There may be a freak accident where one may tear when they’re trying to put it on, they may need two in a night for the first time, well, EVER, etc. You just never know, is what I’m saying, and instead of sweating it just throw in a couple extras.

Neglect to bring extra clothes for YOURSELF while out and about on a trip.

It’s pretty much a no brainer to bring a change of clothes for your kids when you’re exploring during a trip, right? You know what’s easy to forget? A change of clothes for the PARENTS. And every now and then, a change of clothes for Mom or Dad can come in really handy. So do yourself a favor and throw in some extras for y’all along with the kids’ backup clothes!

Forget the snacks.

I probably should have put this one first, because forgetting snacks on a trip (or when leaving your house for ANY period of time, really) is a cardinal parenting sin. ALL THE SNACKS. Always. Especially in cars. Or on planes. Or in airports. Or…you know, just any time that’s not meal time. Or sometimes meal times, too, if you’re my 2-year-old!

Leave the stroller at home.

My husband and I made this mistake on a recent trip and ended up having to buy a stroller during our trip. (We DID find a great used one in amazing condition at Once Upon A Child which saved us money and helped us avoid a new purchase, which was a good thing.) But even if your preschooler rarely uses a stroller at home, a trip is a different story. A friend told me they traveled to Disney World when her daughter was close to 5, and they still brought a stroller and were SO glad they did, so depending on the activity level of where you’re going, you might even want one for your older kiddos. But for a toddler? FOR SURE PACK THE STROLLER.

Overbook your itinerary.

Even if you’re planning tons of kid-friendly, fun excursions during your trip, trying to do too much in a given day is a recipe for a meltdown or, at very least, a cranky child. Make sure to have a good amount of breathing room in your agenda and account for rest/naptimes as needed so EVERYONE can recharge.

Pack a suitcase without packing cubes.

I didn’t use packing cubes for years, and now I’m kicking myself. I adore them, ESPECIALLY when it comes to packing for my children. With packing cubes, the kids can easily share a suitcase and unpacking when we reach our destination is seamless. It’s easy to tell what belongs to who, and things are just far more organized in general. I’m a huge fan.

Book a flight with a connection if a direct flight is available.

I know it’s tempting. Those flights with connections can save you some money. But if there’s an option for a direct flight and you’re traveling with young kids, take the direct flight. You’ll save yourself stress, airport waiting time, plane time, an extra takeoff and landing, and more. (Oh, and it’s worth considering buying your child their own seat if they’re 18 months-2 years old. I know they can still fly free up to age 2 as a lap child, but having a squirmy toddler in your lap for a flight can be extremely unpleasant!)

Travel with Kids

I hope those are helpful as you plan your next trip (maybe some fun summer travel!) with your kids. Bon voyage!!

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