When you’re traveling with preschoolers, some advance planning will provide for a smoother trip for all. Here are some of the things I do to prepare, whether going by car, bus or train, or for a day trip or longer.
Google the city or location you’re traveling to and include mom blogs in your search to find out what’s going on locally and more importantly, what’s hot in town and what’s not. Also check the chamber of commerce, libraries, zoos and museums for activities, many of which might be free. (Just be sure to check the days and times of operation.)
So simple, but so smart for a longer trip. Take the time to press clothes and put outfits together before you pack. Not only will this help better organize your suitcase, this is a tremendous time saver. We all know there never seems to be enough time when getting everyone ready in the morning; besides, who wants to iron when you’re away!
Don’t always count on your destination to have that special cereal that your daughter has to have every other day in stock, or the availability of kid-friendly cups and bowls. For extended visits, it’s easier to pack the things you need and send them in advance This will ensure that you have what you need; it makes everybody’s life a little easier and more functional. I never leave home without my immersion tool to quickly mix pancakes, make smoothies, blend salad dressing, etc.
When traveling with more than one child, divide the suitcase in half. Each child gets a single side for their clothes (PJs, shorts, T-shirts, swimwear, undergarments, etc.). What doesn’t fit, doesn’t go. Shoes, toiletries and other necessities can be packed in a common bag; everyone doesn’t need their own lotion.
It’s highly essential to make sure your little ones have a backpack (not a tote, makes for free hands) of their own packed with trinkets, favorites toys, books, and games, etc. Just so you don’t end up with the entire playroom, with your discretion, let your little ones pack their preferred goodies, and then you can add a few special treats and surprises.
Immerse in the local culture, whether it’s visiting a museum, taste of the city or other historic site or event. Stick to your normal schedule; if your kids are more active in the afternoon, plan your activities then. Also plan for down or do-nothing days; kids (and moms) need to regroup every couple of days. This curbs meltdowns and overstimulation. And to help your kids adjust to a new environment and daily changes, don’t talk about plans too far in advance. They can handle only so much and you can handle only so many questions.
Don’t over do it. A little excitement will go a long way. On those days when the little ones need to get out and there’s nothing planned, do just that — get out. A park or playground in a new place will provide new adventures.