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Smarter Mom: Traveling with Kids Without Going Insane

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You board the plane with your crew of little ones and see fellow passengers with that look. You know the one. If you could see what they were thinking in a thought bubble overhead, it would read, "Please, please, please...don't sit near me!" We all know the trials of travelling with kids: we do our best not to annoy the others around us, and attempt to avoid an experience where we go semi-insane. Here are some tips to manuver around a mommy meltdown when heading out of town with the little ones. 

-- Bring a change of clothes (for everyone). Spills. Potty accidents. They happen. Having your four-year-old sit in apple-juice soaked pants for the remainder of a three-hour flight is just not good. Be prepared with changes of pants, shirts and undies for the kids...and don't forget the socks.

-- Be prepared. One time, I was flying and saw a mom with a little guy who was just not behaving that might have been because he didn't have anything to do except sit there. That's tough for anyone of any age (I offered her some extra sheets of paper and stickers and a few crayons -- us moms have to stick together). Have plenty of activities for your kiddos: movies and apps are great on that iPad, crayons, paper, small tubs of playdoh, One tip: avoid toys that are really small or with lots or parts. Really. Imagine trying to get on your hands and knees on an airplane. It isn't fun, trust me. Been there, done that.

-- Have food. The choices on the plane may be slim pickings in terms of having things your kids will like. Have enough in pre-portioned snack bags to keep them well fed.

-- Don't underestimate the "new" factor. Kids love most anything that is new. A new movie on the iPad will go over like gangbusters, and a new coloring book or fresh pack of crayons or a new type of snack...all good things.

-- Be comfortable. Especially if you are in the car or on a super-long flight, leave the tights and itchy sweater dress at home. Comfy leggings, sweatpants and so on will keep smiles on their faces...and toss in an extra layer or sweater in case the plane is cold. Same goes for you: wear your favorite pair jeans and that sassy sweater coat and avoid dangling earrings.

What is your best and worst travel experience with your kids? 


by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (11-20):
by Ruby Member on Nov. 13, 2012 at 3:49 PM

 worst, having the car break down & walking along the highway with little ones, twice!  the first time i was visiting my sister in nc & she had to go out of town at the last minute for work.  i had flown down so she had me take her to the airport so i'd have her car while she was gone.  her little one, about 18 months at the time, & i took her to the airport & then were going to meet my bil for lunch.  on the way to meet him my sisters car died along the side of 77.  this was before cell phones so i grabbed the diaper bag & my niece & headed for the next exit where i knew there was a bk.  before i got to the exit a lady in a delivery truck stopped & picked us up, taking us to the bk.  good thing because the exit was about a mile from where we broke down & during the day 77 outside of charolette is pretty busy.

the second time we were headed to oh so my family & friends could meet my hubby & our daughter, who was about 10m at the time.  we left at night so she'd sleep much of the 12hr drive.  in ky (we were driving from ga) it started raining so hard we couldn't see a foot in front of us.  so we pulled off at a rest stop & waited the storm out.  when it finally stopped, about 4am, we got ready to leave & found a tire was flat. so hubby put on the spare & we debated about what to do.  we decided to hit the road & head to cincinatti & wait there till a tire shop opened.  before tat happened hubby hit a pot hole, blowing the spare.  by this time it was daylight so we got the stroller out & loaded the babe into it & headed for the nearest exit, which we could see.  before we even walked a few feet a nice gentleman & his son, who knew the area, picked us up & took us two exits down to a denny's that was open 24hrs & which happened to be next to an auto shop.  so we had breakfast till it opened & then got two new tires for the car.

by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 4:05 PM
I'll have to save this list someday ill travel!
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by on Nov. 14, 2012 at 2:14 AM

I plan months/weeks ahead. I write down lists. 

I  freaked out a lil bit going to CA, only because we had a lot  of luggage.Our  trip was for 2 weeks. Everything went smoothe though and without my hubby, I would of been frantic.

by Ruby Member on Nov. 14, 2012 at 1:56 PM

 The best was coming home from visiting my brother in VA. I gave the kids my camera and thy toke a lot of pictures of them selves and the land scape.

by Michelle on Nov. 14, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Being prepared is probably number one ! :)

by on Nov. 14, 2012 at 11:41 PM

The hardest was when I travelled by plane with my then one year old for the funeral of my Grandfather. Thankfully, it was before all this new craziness.

by CeeCee on Nov. 15, 2012 at 7:04 AM

When they were young, we would try traveling at night

by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 7:23 AM

 We haven't traveled far with the kids for some years now. That was a trip on the Greyhound bus. I remember having to change DS1's diaper while sitting in my seat...I did pretty good! Other than that, it went great! I don't have any other experiences so I can't really give advice. These suggestions are good!

by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 12:15 PM

We have not taken our kids on a plane yet.  Only DD, but she was 16 months and our only child at the time.  We just do car trips... within 3-4 hours tops.  Driving with kids is actually pretty manageable since you can create a car command center before you leave. :)

by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 1:23 PM
I haven't traveled anywhere far with dd yet. The longest, I believe, was the 45 min to an hour trip to LA
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