According to AAA, more than 41 million Americans will be taking to the roads and the skies to head to a vacation destination this summer. If you’re one of these people and you’re bringing along children, then you’re going to need a list of traveling essentials that will make traveling with these pint-sized passengers a safe and pleasant experience.
Here are some things to bring along if you’re heading away from home this summer.
To Keep You Safe
In order to ensure that everyone is safe and comfortable before, during and after the trip, you’ll want to pack some of these essential items:
Child Restraint System
Whether you’re traveling in the car or on a plane, you’ll want to have a way to secure your child during travel. Most airlines allow children under a certain age to be held in your lap. But, you can always purchase another seat to allow them to travel in a car seat.
First Aid Kit
You never know when your child is going to scrape their knee, get bitten by a strange native bug or roll in poison ivy, so it’s a good idea to bring along a basic first aid kit. Items like bandages, instant cool compresses and hydrocortisone should be included.
Emergency Road Kit
If you’ll be traveling by car, it’s important to pack some items that could help you in case of a roadside emergency. Simply Preparing suggests packing bottles of water, a flashlight, screwdrivers, a ratchet set, reflective hazard sign or clothing, high protein snacks and a road atlas.
To Keep the Kids Full
Whether you’re going a few miles or across the country, you’re going to need sustenance to keep your kids full and happy. Consider packing some of these snacks:
Brown Bag Snacks
When planning for a trip, it might seem like a good idea to bring a big bag of something that will last through hours of travel. But you’re not going to want to dip into the bag every few minutes and settle arguments about who got more. So, divide up the snacks into bags ahead of time and hand each child a prepared bag at a certain time. This will limit spilling and fighting.
If you’d rather bring along snacks that provide an alternative to drive-throughs and fast food restaurants, then you might want to consider bringing a cooler or lunch box (complete with freezer packs) where you can keep these items cold and fresh.
To Keep You Sane
Traveling with children is never easy, but if you bring some kid-friendly items along for the ride, your trip might be more relaxing than you imagined. Here are some items you might want to consider bringing to keep you sane.
There’s nothing worse than getting to the airport or an hour down the road and realizing you forgot the all-important blanket, pillow, stuffed animal, pacifier, etc. So, for your sake, leave yourself a reminder and remember to bring along the items that will help your child sleep away from the comforts of home.
If your child takes a regular medication, it is important to bring it along and pack it in an easily - accessible location so you’re not fumbling for it mid-air. But before you fly with these items, make sure you read the airline’s security guidelines for carrying medications.
Toys and Games
Keeping your children entertained in a car or on plane is essential to the success of the trip and assuring a safe sanity level for you. Try purchasing a few toys and games from the dollar store to give them something new to explore.
Jessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Hooray for Family and the mom of two energetic children. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a long-time resident of Central Texas. When she isn't writing and editing, she enjoys running around with her kids, teaching Sunday school and channeling her creativity into craft projects and home decor.