Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Guest Post - Top 5 "Pack Light" Tips for Kid-Friendly Travel by Kendra Thornton

This weekend starts the official start of summer, bbq's and family trips (at least in my book it does).  Traveling with kids is fun, but can be stressful which is why I was ecstatic when Kendra Thornton contacted me to do a guest post with some tips to make it easier!

Here is a brief introduction from Kendra:

"My name is Kendra and I'm 37 and a mother of 3. Before being promoted to the full time position of mom, I was the former Orbitz Director of Communications where I was able to travel all around the world.  I believe I have some great tips for traveling with kids that will certainly come in handy this summer!

 Personally, I’ve been to 28 countries on 6 continents, and have been quoted in the news about seasonal travel trends and destinations all over the United States. I have now stepped out of the corporate world to take on the role of being number one wife and mom to my family."

And now, what you have been waiting for:

Top 5 "Pack Light" Tips for Kid-Friendly Travel

If your world is full of bag lunches and rushed kisses on the way out the door, you may yearn to get away from it all as soon as possible. Just think. All your kids in one place - one wonderful place - having the time of their lives and giving you the chance to have yours too! Family vacation time. If you're not careful, you run the risk of bringing along just as much baggage as your every day hurried world back home. Be prepared and pack light with these top five tips for kid-friendly travel.

1. Plan What You Pack and Put Your Foot Down 

There's one last 'mean Mom' moment before you whisk the family on the vacation trip. Whether you're traveling by car or airplane, space is at a premium. Plan with your kids what they can and cannot bring and help them make good choices. If you have older children, give them each their own carryon so they can stay occupied. Make sure each kid knows they will be carrying their own bag if possible. 

2. Blend the Old and New for Comfort and Fun

A favorite toy may bring comfort on a long trip. But will it hold your child's attention long enough to give you some peace while driving? Buy some new toys or games and a special vacation-only bag as well. The surprise at new things will keep them busy for a good part of the trip.  My kids really enjoy arts and crafts - I am amazed at how much enjoyment (and peace and quiet) comes from just a new box of crayons. Crayola has thousands of printouts for your little one as well if you want to avoid bringing an entire coloring book.

3. Keep Important Stuff Accessible

All the usual things such as medication, paperwork and a change of underwear need to be kept close at hand on vacation. Traveling with kids expands the important stuff list to include a favorite toy or a baby's pacifier. Snacks and drinks should be readily available too. If you are leaving the U.S. or traveling by air without both parents, make sure to check what documentation is required for each child.

4.  Picking your Home Away from Home 

As much as you’re looking forward to spending quality time with your family on your trip, vacations can definitely take a toll on everyone.  Whether its jetlag or cramped legs in the backseat, it is crucial to have a relaxing place to crash at the end of the day.  Make sure you are picking the accommodations that make the most sense for your family.  Use your Internet skills by researching your options – take into account proximity, amenities, and price when choosing your hotel.  On a recent trip to Hawaii, I was able to find a kid-friendly hotel just by reading up on the best hotels in Honolulu. Taking full advantage of recommendations and reviews from your peers is a sure fire way to ensure a soft pillow and restful sleep for your family after a long vacation day.

5. Avoid the "Are We There Yet?" Blues 

Have you found yourself desperately wanting to get away but dreading the inevitable question?  Get the kids involved with the journey itself. Older kids may enjoy following along on a map or GPS. Consider using Google Earth and looking up interesting facts about the towns or cities you go through. Even younger children can join in the fun of plotting a course and playing travel games as you go. The more involved everyone is in the vacation adventure, the more likely it will be an exciting and relaxing time.

You can follow Kendra on Twitter to find more of her knowledgeable information or ask her a question!!





Maria Long said...

thanks for the great guest post. it is so important not to overpack especially with younger children that cant carry their own bags!!

ReviewsSheROTE Pamela R said...

Super tips I love print out for trips...and I like to buy one small something new...also at our destination they are allowed one small something new too.

Danielle @ We Have It All said...

Thanks for sharing, we are going on vacation next month.