7 Travel Hacks for Parents

Monday, July 24, 2017

“Is it me or this is way easier when they are older?” I marveled as I experienced the joy of traveling with growing kids. The interesting thing is that the kids have always been flexible. Mamãe on the other hand, not so much. My greatest excuse was that traveling 700 miles to do all the work I could do at the house was not worth the effort. Still, we travel little but travel we enjoy. Here are 7 hacks for parents traveling with kids any time of year:

Organization for re-entry • I didn’t over do it on the house cleaning and decluttering but I did leave the house in a pleasant state so that when I returned, everything was ready for re-entry. I’m sure that some of you know this already but in the past I was so overwhelmed that I just left the house without looking back. This summer I looked ahead and even placed pajamas in the kids' beds so that when we returned all they had to do was get dressed and get in bed. Planning ahead makes sense.
Pack your Snacks • I’m amazed at how many bad snack options abound on the road. I packed a small bag with fruit, crackers and trail mix. I thought about packing sandwiches but I ran out of time. Bringing snacks saves me money on the road and it is better for our health.

Easy Hairstyle • I braided the girls’ hair with those small braids. I knew it’d be easier to manage before during and after our trip. I like small braids because when they swim it looks good and when they have something more formal to attend, it also looks great. I like small braids for weeks I want to save time on adorning two heads of hair.

Capsule wardrobe • I took the popular concept of capsule wardrobes and made a travel version of it for the kids. A few staple pieces, one pair of pajamas, two pairs of shoes and we were packed and ready. This was also the first time I experienced not having to carry everyone’s bags. Each one had their own backpack which helped a lot with organization.

Do Laundry if you can • We stayed with family part of the time so I did a load of laundry. It is always good to bring less dirty clothes. This also makes re-entry less painful if you know what I mean.

Coffee related Regret • I did not bring my own coffee. I hear that people who travel a lot bring a few things with them everywhere and I know I need good coffee everywhere. I’m not a coffee snob, I’m just a Brazilian who grew up drinking good coffee. I often visit people who are not coffee drinkers. I might buy a compact coffee maker that works for travel. We’ll see! Coffee is important, it does help my day start and stay well.   

Good Road Stops • When I was single and traveled long distance, I’d stop almost anywhere just to use the restroom, get gas and kept going. My habit changed when I had kids and needed clean and family-friendly places. I like to stop at the Cracker Barrel because their bathrooms are clean and they always have a changing table. I also like the variety of the food they serve. Now that the kids are bigger, they enjoy looking around the store and rocking outside in the porch. Some gas stations are better than others but you never know. We started stopping at Chick-fil-a so the kids can shake their wiggles out and we can eat a good salad. If you can combine clean bathrooms and family-friendly, I’ll be there! I’m also a fan of welcome centers because they might have playgrounds.

Do what works for you • You are the expert on your family's life. Think about what worked in the past and do it! Take advice for others but customize it for your family. There is nothing wrong with being who you are which is unique.

I’m amazed at how children change so quickly and traveling continues to be fun. My hope is that I will not forget that these trips are part of their childhood memories.