So you want to go on a nice family vacation. A quiet getaway to… oh wait! There is no quiet when you’ve got the kids! I recently read a fun article in Conde Nast Traveler that could help out any parent: “The A-to-Z Guide to Traveling with Kids.” Wendy Perrin does a great job of sharing “Secrets every smart traveler should know.” I’m going to share some of my favorites directly from her article. If you want to read the whole article you can check it out on their website.
Wendy also has a blog and Twitter account: @wendyperrin.
My favorite letters… my notes follow with a double **
B is for Bananagrams.
Think Scrabble but with no board, no complicated scoring, and no need to wait your turn: Each player works independently and at his own pace and skill level, thus ruling out frustration and boredom. Your child can play alone, or the entire family can participate, and even when you lose some letter tiles under the airline seat, it’s still playable (bananagrams.com).
H is for Headphones.
Not the awkward inside-your-ear type that falls out of kids’ ears but the over-the-ear type that remains firmly on the child’s head. When your jet-lagged child wakes up at 3 a.m. in the hotel room and announces, “I’m tired of sleeping now,” give him the headphones and a movie and go back to sleep. **my bet is this works even when you don’t fly!
I is for Invisible Ink.
Colorless ink leaves no mess to clean up. The only frustration with invisible-ink activity books is when they come with only one pen and your child loses it. Once that happens, I is for iPhone, with its plethora of mess-free children’s game apps, but fair warning: It’s a slippery slope from Encylopedia Britannica Kids’ Ancient Egypt app to Moto Mania Dirt Bike Challenge.
J is for Journal.
It needn’t be fancy—just a simple notebook where, each day of the trip, your child writes a paragraph on the highlight of his day or three things he learned. If your child can’t write yet, he can draw a picture of something he liked that day. Leave space in the journal for trip photos that your child can add later. **I remember doing this as a kid. It is fun to look at my drawing journal from when I was in Kindergarten!
K is for kids eat free, kids ski free, kids cruise free, and other money-saving family vacation packages. Look for these deals at FamilyGetaway.com, FamilyVacationCritic.com, and WeJustGotBack.com.
T is for Thinkfun games.
Portable mind-sharpeners that have kept my kids occupied during long train and plane rides. Our favorite is Rush Hour Jr.—an addictive puzzle that involves placing vehicles on a grid in a different arrangement each time, then trying to get the ice-cream truck out of the traffic jam by moving vehicles around the grid. It’s a single-player game, though, so when your kids start fighting over it, T is for Time Out (thinkfun.com).
W is for Wikki Stix.
The least heavy, least bulky, least messy way to do arts and crafts on the go.
**Do you have any more suggestions for traveling with kids? Help out a fellow traveler and share them by commenting below**
Take care, Elizabeth