Guest Post: The Mommy Mouse Clubhouse

We are so excited to have Mindy from The Mommy Mouse Clubhouse as our guest today! Mindy is a master at all things Disney and has some great ideas and tutorials on her accounts. You can follow along with her at http://mommymouseclubhouse.com/ and on Instagram at @mommymouseclubhouse.
Today, Mindy is sharing 1o tips for traveling with kids!
I have always been passionate about traveling. Life is all about experiences and one of the best ways to experience life is through travel. Traveling is fun and exciting, but throwing kids into the mix can be a challenge, but totally worth it.

Since having children, I have learned to make adaptations that allow everyone to learn, grow, and have fun together making memories to last a lifetime. Here are the top 10 tips that will make traveling with kids a breeze!

#1 Check Airline Policies

If you’ll be flying with children, it’s important to know what to expect from the airline you’ll be traveling with. Most airlines do not require children under two to purchase their own seat. This can be a big money saver if you have a toddler, but you need to think about your comfort on the flight. Will your child want to sit on your lap the entire flight or does your child prefer to hang out in their carseat? How long is your flight? If it’s on the longer side, you may want to purchase a seat for them.

If you would like to have your child ride in their carseat on the plane, make sure that it is approved for cars as well as planes. You can check out the FAA guidelines for flying with children at https://www.faa.gov/travelers/fly_children/ If you are planning to check your child’s carseat, you should consider purchasing a carseat cover or bringing a large bag to place it in. This will provide a little protection when it is being tossed around with the rest of the luggage.

Many airlines allow you to check your stroller at the gate, which can really be a lifesaver when you’re trekking through the airport with kids, diaper bags, and carryon luggage. Its also a good idea to find out if your airline allows families with small children to board the plane first. This is a nice perk that allows you and your children to get settled on the plane before the rest of the travelers board.

#2 Travel Early or During Nap Time.

Not all kids are the same, but a lot of kids are at their best in the morning. Whether you fly or drive, your child might be in a happier mood early in the day rather than later. An advantage of flying in the morning is that the chance of flight delays is greatly decreased. If early morning flights are not available, I highly recommend traveling during your child’s nap time. Life is so much easier for you, your child, and other passengers if your child sleeps during the flight or drive.

#3 Pack Snacks

Being the mom of three, I have learned that kids always need snacks! Its important to keep kids fed and hydrated to help them stay happy while traveling. Snacks can also be a great distraction when your little one gets restless. Try to pack snacks that are not to sugary and will not make a big mess. But, also make sure that the snacks you pack are something that your child will eat. The last this you want is to be out on the road or up in the air with a child who is upset because of their snack choices. An airplane ride or road trip is not the time to switch up your child’s routine.

#4 Be Prepared with Activities

It’s important to be prepared with a variety of activities for you kids to do on an airplane or in the car. My kids have always enjoyed coloring books, reading, and playing games or watching movies on an iPad or tablet. I try not to worry about screen time too much while traveling, because sometimes you are just in survival mode. Make sure that you have plenty of kid-friendly apps available that don’t require an internet connection and that you have some of their favorite shows and movies downloaded ready to go when you need them. And, don’t forget a portable battery charger!

Another thing I like to do during long plane rides and road trips is to head to the dollar store beforehand and pick up a bunch of little toys and treats. Wrap them up individually and pull them out for the kids to open when they need a change. There’s nothing like opening a little surprise to distract children from whatever was bothering them!

#5 Bring Something Familiar from Home

If your child has a favorite blanket or toy that they always play with at home, bring it with you on vacation! When my son was 2, he had a little stuffed tiger named Tony. That little guy went with us every where! I’m pretty sure he’s been all over the country. But he has definitely helped us out of many a melt-down. Now that my boys are a little older, we always pack their favorite blanket. The end up using it to snuggle with on the plane or in the car and it also helps them to sleep in an unfamiliar hotel room.

#6 Choose the Right Hotel

Selecting the right hotel when traveling with children can make or break your vacation. Make sure you do your homework before making a reservation. First, check out the location. Make sure that you won’t be too far from the attractions you plan to visit. You’ll also want to check the size of the room, the number of beds, whether or not the hotel provides a crib or a Pack ‘n Play, and my kids favorite, whether or not there is a swimming pool! It’s also handy to stay somewhere that provides breakfast. It can really save you time and money.

#7 Be Flexible

If you’re a parent, then you know that nothing involving children ever goes totally as planned. Because of this, it’s important to have flexibility when traveling with kids. If you’re driving, plan on making more stops than you would think. Be willing to switch planned activities to different days if necessary. Be aware that some plans might have to be canceled all together if the situation arises.

#8 Take Breaks

With kids, it is definitely unrealistic to go all day without a break. Once you’ve arrived at your destination and your vacation is in full swing, make sure to schedule in down time and naps. Even a trip to the beach or the park is a great way to wind down. Not only do my kids need this time, but I find that it rejuvenates me as well. It’s not much of a vacation if you are trying to pack in too much. That just makes everyone tired and is asking for a melt down. Trust me, take a break.

When I travel with my kids, who happen to be early risers, we try to get as much done as we can in the morning. For example, when we go to Disneyland, we get to the parks as soon as they open and visit as many attractions as we can before my kids are done. This usually happens in the early afternoon. We  try to stay at a hotel within walking distance from Disneyland so that we can then head back to the hotel for some downtime. My youngest will usually take a nap or play with some toys and my older two will go swimming with their dad. Then in the evening we are ready to get some more fun in before bedtime.

#9 Plan on Meltdowns

When traveling with kids, you will inevitably encounter a tantrum or two. Despite all of my best efforts, each one of my children have had a turn having an epic meltdown in public on vacation. Sometimes there is nothing you can do. Know ahead of time that at least one of your children will not be happy and will be sure to let everyone around them know about it. When this happens, try to remove your child from the problem and do the best you can to get control of the situation. When we’re on vacation, I will pull out all the stops to end a melt down, including giving my phone or tablet to the child to distract them, especially if their behavior is impacting people around us.

#10 Relax and Have Fun!

I believe 100% in giving children all of the experiences you can and this definitely includes travel. You and your children will both have more fun if you just relax. Make all of your preparations ahead of time, know that you will encounter difficulties, and just go with it.

I hope that these tips will help you have a fun enjoyable vacation with your kids!

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