It’s officially the season for travel (whoo!) and whether you’re planing it, driving, or taking the subway uptown for a picnic in the park, we’re all for getting out with the kids. A top question from our readers is always “but what do I pack!!??” (Number of exclamation points not exaggerated.) Well, you’ve come to the right place because we’re huge advocates of traveling with kids, and we do it ourselves, a lot. Even Kristen, and she has four of them!
So while yes, you need clothes and snacks and crayons, on behalf of our awesome new partner Micro Kickboard–whose awesome scooters grace our own garages and front entranceways–here are some of our own favorite tried-and-true items to pack for family travel that you might not have considered.
-Don’t miss a limited time, exclusive discount code from Micro Kickboard below!-
1. Swaddling blankets or scarves
Even if you’re past the swaddling stage, a lightweight blanket or large scarf rolled up in a tote can be a lifesaver and is always our #1 packing recommendation. It’s a picnic blanket, an impromptu shawl in a chilly restaurant, a “sit on this and not that dirty bench” cover, a light blanket over a sleeping child in a car seat. (Shown: Etanesh scarf from fashionABLE)
2. Oatmeal packets
If your kids wake up early like ours begging for food while you’re still in bed, breakfast foods can be a life saver. Especially in a hotel. If you’ve got hot water in a hotel room, then it’s so easy to whip up some oatmeal in a coffee cup to satiate the kids before it’s time to head down for the real breakfast. Or as our kids call it, “second breakfast.” Can’t hurt to travel with a spoon too, should you want to serve some up in a paper cup on-the-go.
3. Their scooters Yes, we have both traveled with our kids’ own Micro Kickboard scooters on road trips and recommend it to every family we know. Seriously. The Mini Micro (now on sale with the discount for our readers) and Maxi Micro actually both pack up easily in a regular suitcase when you unscrew the steering stick. On a car trip, of course they’re so easy to toss into the trunk.
The Mini Micro gives our younger kids an impromptu physical activity (that’s free!), even if they’re just toddling around a hotel room or Grandma’s driveway. For bigger kids 5-12, the Maxi Micro Kickboard can even buy you a few hours to yourselves if they have a place to head out and ride by themselves. (Can you tell how much our kids love their scooters?)
Also, if your kids get bored walking around seeing sites or cruising the beach boardwalk, a scooter is a way better solution than hour-long piggyback rides. They even stand up by themselves when you park them, which our backs appreciate very much. Just don’t forget to pack helmets too.
4. A travel journal or blank notebook
From when they were about three or four, our kids have loved having their very own journals on trips. Perfect for scribbling, sketching art in a museum, taking notes, or playing hangman in the back seat. We’ve even made up our own “I Spy” games by writing in 10 things we want our kids to spot in a particular destination. It’s a neat way to get kids more active and involved with the trip. Plus the journal can convenient place to tuck in postcards, ticket stubs, and other ephemera, because as we all know, kids want to save everything. (Shown: Bon Voyage travel journal by BoyGirl Party)
5. A small flashlight or reading light In a pinch, a portable light source gives children a little comfort in a new environment. Terrific for reading under the sheets at night before bed, or just for midnight trips to the bathroom–hopefully without waking you up first. (Shown: Mightybright Clip-On Lamp)
6. A headphone splitter
If you have more than one kid, but only one tablet, a splitter can help stave off the inevitable fights that happen when you ask each child to use a single earbud. Let alone the breaking of said earbuds. Another option: The new volume-limiting headphones for kids with plugs that include automatic splitters to allow multiple headphones to plug into one another without a splitter. (Shown: Belkin Rockstar Headphone Splitter)
7. Kids’ own pillowcases from home
Even after a long, hard day of vacation fun, sometimes it’s hard for kids to sleep in new environments, whether it’s a hotel or a friend’s house. Along with a favorite stuffed friend, consider packing up your kids own pillowcases from home. They are lightweight, take up so little room, and Kristen’s found with her own kids that they be a huge comfort. (Shown: Easy Care Pillow Cases from Target)
8. Reusable water bottles
They can save you hundreds of dollars on bottled water the airport (okay, exaggerating a wee bit) let alone parks, zoos, museum cafes and hotel-mini bars. It’s also reassuring for kids to have a familiar bottle from home on their bedside at night. It may seem like one more thing in the carry-on, but we assure you, we have never once regretted bringing a water bottle, on even a short day trip. (Shown: SIGG reusable water bottles)
9. Bedtime Stories
Whether it’s a single favorite book or some options downloaded to an iPad or ereader, it’s so easy to forget to pack a good book for the kids. So, don’t! It’s a perfect way to reconnect and wind down after a busy day. Then get ready to start all over again. With oatmeal, of course. (Shown: The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh)
Micro Kickboard Scooters are super popular for their gentle steering, three-wheel stability, and terrific control, even on bumpy urban sidewalks or beach boardwalks. We are so pleased to have them join us as our newest partner, especially since we already own a zillion of them between us. Maybe half a zillion.
EXTRA COOL: Use code CoolMomSummer for 15% off the Mini Micro Scooters PLUS free shipping through June 15, 2014. The Mini is perfect for kids 3-5.
Totally agree about the scooters. When we go camping somewhere that has flat land, we always bring them and it is a life saver for when the kids start to get bored. I love the idea of a travel journal – we will try that next time!