Sunday, December 11, 2011

10 Quick Travel Tips With the Kids this Holiday Season

Some families stay home for the holidays.
Some families will go the distance.
Some families will venture out and go the long distance to visit relatives!
What will you be doing?

Traveling is one of those things that, in theory, sound like a great idea every time it comes up.
Think of all the places you can show your kids… all the historical monuments… the theme parks…. And all the different states and countries they could see. Think of what a great childhood that would you would be providing them!  This time you will be celebrating holidays and possibly visiting distant relatives!

And then you start to pack. And suddenly that weeklong trip with the whole family gets a little less exciting and a little more stressful. Seeing 18 different suitcases lined up by the front door with all the clothing and knick-knacks that just have to come along is enough to send any parent into a whirlwind.

The good news is that you can take just about everything you need while maximizing space and minimizing items.
  1. Make a list - Be realistic when you’re making your list. A lot of times people tend to over-pack when they’re getting clothes and shoes together to go out of town, taking things that they may need just in case. But let’s be realistic – how often do you really end up using half the stuff you bring along? Seeing what items you need in writing will help reduce this. Instead of just throwing items into a bag, prioritize the things you absolutely need and realistically evaluate what you, your spouse, and your kids will really use on the trip and what is being brought as an afterthought.
  2. Make multiple outfits from the same pieces - Instead of picking out a separate outfit for each day for each person in the family, cut back on clothes by putting together staple pieces that can match different outfits. This way you’ll cut back on how much you’re bringing with you, but you won’t be stuck wearing the same exact thing day in and day out.
  3. Roll your clothing - Next time you go to pack nix the folded clothes and roll them instead. This will not only save on space but will allow you to fit more clothes into odd spaces and help keep things from getting creases in them from being folded during their stay in the suitcase.
  4. Remember there are convenience stores in every city - Before you start to pack all the miniature toiletries that you’ve bought to fit the regulation size, remember that just about everywhere you travel there will be a convenience store that you can buy these items at if where you’re staying doesn’t already provide them. This is an easy way to save on space and you’ll probably spend just as much in another city on those miniature toiletries as you would in your own. Plus you’ll be able to throw them away when you’re leaving so you won’t have to pack them on the way home either.
  5. Figure out what you can buy when you get there - Before you pack two weeks’ worth of diapers and formula for your baby, do some research and locate different stores in the city or town you’re travelling to where you can pick up these items. It’s unlikely that you won’t be able to find these necessities and taking ten minutes to do some internet research ahead of time will save you having to lug around a bunch of unnecessary items.
  6. Limit the number of toys you bring - As much as your kids may want to bring seven different toys with them, they are just going to take up a lot of space that could be utilized for more pertinent items or space that could be completely eliminated. Let them pick two of their favorite toys and then let them pick out a new toy wherever you end up travelling to so that they have some variety without taking up a lot of room. The same goes for books – you may want to bring two or three to read, but you don’t need to bring nine different ones.
  7. Put shoes to use - Instead of rolling up belts and socks and putting them into one of the luggage pockets, stuff them inside of shoes so that you don’t waste that empty space and you leave room for other things that need to be packed. Most people overlook this space, but it’s ideal for smaller items, including jewelry and bottled items like lotion or makeup remover.
  8. Reduce all extra items to two carry-ons - This is a good way to weed out what you need and what you don’t when you’re flying. Designate one bag for you and one for your spouse and then fill one with the different electronic devices you may want to take along such as iPods or tablets and one with books and magazines for reading and snacks you can pull out in a pinch.
  9. Ship before you leave if you need to - If you’re going skiing or hiking or something that requires a lot of gear, but you’re flying out there so you’re more limited on what you can bring with you, you may want to consider shipping some of the bulkier items ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about checking them or carrying them on.
  10. Do laundry while traveling - It may take a little extra time during your trip, but it will drastically cut back on the amount of clothes you need to bring with you if you stop and do a load of laundry here or there. Instead of bringing two weeks’ worth of undergarments you can limit it to three or four per person and just wash them at different points when you reach your destination. The same goes for shirts, pants, socks, etc.
Travelling with kids for an extended period of time doesn’t have to mean that you need to pack up your entire household to take with you; it just requires a little extra planning before you head out.
By condensing items you’ll not only save space but you’ll also probably cut down on transportation costs too since you’ll be able to carry more stuff around with you and utilize public transportation instead of hailing a taxi or renting a car on your adventures. And all that extra money means you can buy more souvenirs, of course!


Remember: It is your 'presence not presents', that count during the holiday time!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Safe Travels!

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