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  • Kristen Bellamy - Kidtivities

15 Packing Hacks for Family Travel

My family loves to travel. By the age of 4, my son had been on 20 flights, visited 10 countries and swam in 5 oceans/seas around the world. There's a large stigma around travelling with kids and it's almost like it hits a trigger in people when you mention the idea. There are some challenges but, overall, it can be a pretty fun, seamless adventure!

Being prepared and organized is my biggest tip for any parents planning to travel with young kids! Here are some tips & hacks I've learned in our travels that will hopefully help to prepare you and alleviate some of the stress and anxiety involved in your planning process.

Packing Hacks:

1. Pack full outfits in rolls so that kids can grab and go each morning of the trip. If you have a preexisting itinerary, you could go so far as to label each rolled outfit with painters tape to keep things extra organized each morning!

2. Pack empty garbage bags (labelled according to how you sort your laundry) and dryer sheets to store dirty clothes at the end of each day. Flatten the bags and throw in your suitcase as is at the end of your trip. Cleaning up after your trip will be 10x easier when your laundry is already sorted and ready to throw into the washing machine!

3. Pack a Power Strip. Have you ever noticed that hotels typically have a limited number of outlets? Plug in a power strip so that you can charge all devices at once!

4. Secure your bottle caps to avoid a messy luggage explosion by using plastic wrap underneath each cap and taping them shut.

5. Pack a First Aid Kit. Accidents and Illnesses happen, and you never want to be stuck in a foreign country struggling to find a medication you're comfortable with. Our simple first aid kit includes sunscreen, bugspray, bandaids, tylenol, benadryl, antacids, thermometer, tweezers and hydrocortisone.

Carry On Essentials:

1. Antibacterial Wipes. Wiping down your area when you first get on a plane is essential these days, but charging kids with this task also keeps them busy as other passengers board the plane

2. Lollipops. Everyone knows the tried and trusted trick of chewing gum during take off and landing to avoid popped ears but, for kids who are too young to chew gum, lollipops work just as well at producing saliva that includes the swallowing process to allow for air pressure equalization.

3. Pre Packed Snack Boxes. Airlines are pretty lenient when it comes to what kids are allowed to bring on board. I always pack a snack box filled with healthy, high protein snacks that the kids are familiar with to keep their blood sugar balanced to (hopefully) avoid any meltdown scenarios. A couple go to snacks I also like to include are clementines and pistachios, as they keep the kids quiet for an extended period of time while they navigate the peeling ;)

4. Small, empty garbage bags. Trash is inevitable when travelling with young kids and sometimes it takes the Attendants longer than you'd like to come around to collect it. Bringing a couple small garbage bags to hang under lap trays help to keep trash out of the way, off the ground and in one place until it can be disposed of properly.

5. One New Play Per Hour of Flight. I hate overpacking bulky items to entertain the kids but I also don't like the idea of my kids sitting infront of a screen for the entire duration of the flight (this might work for some, but my kids tend to get overstimulated and irritable when this is the case). Instead, my rule of thumb is to pack 1 new to them activity per hour of flight (and don't forget to store away the same number of activities for the flight home)! Make sure to check out my next post for details on what we packed for our most recent trip!

Packing for the Beach:

1. Foundation Brushes/Sponges. I know this sounds weird, but they are PERFECT for applying sunscreen. They feel nice on the kids' skin so they don't argue as much and they blend in the high SPFs so much better than your hands!

2. Cellphone Protector Pouch. Some people like to just use ziploc bags to protector their wallet and cellphone at the beach, but I really suggest investing in an underwater cellphone case. They're 100% waterproof and touch sensitive so you can use your phone at will to take photos etc. without even removing it from the package. The ones we have work great (you can even snorkel with them up to 100ft underwater) and they are $16.95 for a 2 pack here.

3. Mesh Produce Bags for Beach Toys. Tracking sand into your room after a day at the beach is inevitable, but mesh bags make them SO much easier to clean. Rinse them clean, toss them in the bag and then shake out excess sand (instead of letting it all fall into the bottom of a beach bag where it will, inevitably, end up being transferred to your bed... We got ours at the dollar store, but something like these would work well too!

4. Baby Powder. Another sand removal hack. Baby powder dries up sand on feet and legs so quickly, it makes it a lot easier to dust off when you're leaving the beach.

5. Water Colour Paints. You can get little water colour paint palates and brushes at your local dollarstore as well, and they're a great little beach activity for kids. Have them search for sea shells on the beach and use their paints and beach water to paint and repaint the shells.

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