OUR 10 FAVORITE TRAVEL HACKS
KidTripster’s expert parent-journalists share their tricks to traveling better.
Who do you turn to for parenting advice? Right, other parents… moms and dads who’ve been there and tried that. All of our writers at KidTripster are parents who are right there in the trenches with you. Because our travel writers travel a lot (duh!) with their kids (double duh!), they’ve got a few tricks up their sleeves for kids of all ages. Hopefully, some of these travel hacks will come in handy on your next family vacation.
1/Pack swimsuit & goggles separately
From writer Christa Reed
Pack the kids’ swimsuits and goggles in your carry-on bag. That way, if your room isn’t ready or the bell hop is slow with your luggage, you still can head straight to the pool upon arrival at your hotel or resort.
Read about Christa’s favorite all-inclusive resort for families, Finest Playa Mujeres along Mexico’s Riviera Maya.
2/Write on your kid’s hand
If you’re traveling in an area (airport, amusement park, concert) where you fear that you may lose track of your kids, write your cell phone number on their hands for an added bit of security.
Emilie is our expert on all-things-Maine.
3/Write on the windows
From Jamie Farber
Yep, you read correctly! On long car trips, pack dry-erase markers and let the kids draw on the windows. Just clean off as needed. The kids will love being able to do something that they normally aren’t allowed to do.
4/Stock up at the dollar store
From Deb Beard
A brown bag filled with dollar store purchases or happy meal surprises can be a lifesaver when traveling with an antsy toddler. Every half hour, they can pull out a new distraction! Pack everything from Silly Putty to clay to Matchbox cars.
Read Deb’s suggestions for a mother-daughter (or son) trip to NYC.
5/Collect the “bag of junk”
From Marcia Breen
Here’s a variation on the dollar store bag, and it’s completely free. If you have toddlers, start collecting things that you otherwise may throw out: small screw-top bottles, compacts, used lip balms or empty mint containers. Wash them thoroughly and then toss them into a zippered bag. If you’d like, you can fill the containers with stickers or other knick-knacks that you don’t mind losing. If your child is anything like Marcia’s, she’ll sit on a plane for hours opening and closing that silly mint box incessantly!
From Elizabeth Ely Moreno & Lindsey McKissick
When it comes to stuffed animals, bring a clone on vacation. Just in case one gets lost, dirty or - yes - thrown up on, major meltdowns can be avoided with an inconspicuous substitute.
7/Exercise portion control with snacks
When packing snacks for a car trip or flight, use several small, snack-size plastic bags. That way, when your child spills his trail mix on the floor, all is not lost! Just pull out another round.
Read Kara’s road trip for Southeast New England and Long Island.
8/Listen to screen-less entertainment
From Holly Thiel & Angelica Curtis
Audiobooks and podcasts are fabulous substitutes for movies and video games. Before you leave home, download episodes and books on your phone or other electronic devices. Most public libraries offer a good selection of kid audiobooks to borrow. If you’re traveling by car, listen as a family. This idea works just as well for teenagers.
KidTripster Tip: If you’re looking for a good podcast, Angelica recommends The Unexplained Disappearance of Mars Patel. Her young sons listened to it for hours on their way to Montana with no complaints.
9/Fake out the toilet
From Holly Thiel
It’s a more common problem than you may think: kids getting freaked out on public toilets that flush themselves. Keep a pack of small post-it notes in your purse or bag. When it’s time for your little one to go, simply place a sticky note over the automatic sensor. Viola! No loud flushing while your child is sitting on the throne.
10/Color coordinate your wardrobe
From Shellie Bailey-Shah
Hear us out! Shellie isn't suggesting that the entire family be matchy-matchy, but she is suggesting that you pack travel clothes in the same color family. Why? First, it makes it way easier to mix-and-match your wardrobe when everything goes with everything else. Don't waste precious space packing the shirt that only goes with that one skirt. Secondly, your travel photos will look better if the family's wardrobe is not clashing. If you really want to raise your game, pick a color scheme that will go with your environment. For example, if you're headed to the desert, choose burnt oranges, brick reds, and olive greens. Or if you'll be Instagraming from the beach, wear bright yellows, oranges, and blues.