As a parent, sibling, friend or (let’s be honest) fellow passenger, you probably know the challenges that come with travelling with kids. There’s that point in the trip where things go from hopeful to manageable to tolerable to disastrous, sometimes in 4.5 seconds flat. And even if you mastered that one trip to the prairies a few summers ago, it doesn’t mean the next one will be a smooth ride.
With spring break approaching and winter getaways galore, we wanted to give you the much-needed break you deserve when travelling with the fam-jam. We teamed up with Keisha – a mom of two and author of Loving Littles Blog – to ask our Facebook and Insta-pals for their best tips and tricks for travelling with the kiddies. What better way than to go right to the source, hey?
Here’s what they (you!) had to say…
The fun is in the surprise
Okay, we admit it. This trick works pretty well on adults too. There’s just something about the suspense of a new (or forgotten) treat that makes the hours staring at hayfields a little more exciting.
- Have surprise packs for long drives. Each pack has a new activity and snack. Keeps them excited and occupied! (Maryanne, Facebook)
- I like to pack a mix of toys and books to help distract the kids during boring parts of the trip. Keep something they love hidden for that special moment when you need some peace and quiet the most!! (@kris_scliz, Instagram)
- Packing surprise toys, crafts, colouring and snacks for each child. They love that everything is new to them and they soak it all in! (@petitelittleseveryday, Instagram)
Snacks snacks snacks!
You didn’t think we’d forget this one?! Snacks are mandatory, whether day-tripping to grandma’s or embarking on that transatlantic. But don’t just take our word for it…
- My travel tip is snacks snacks snacks! We keep snacks in the car and have an extra bag for garbage. We also have our own water bottles so we don’t have to buy anything. (Jenna, Facebook)
- My travel tip is for road trips! I like to freeze juice boxes and use them as ice packs to keep some snacks cold, like carrot sticks and cucumbers. It will also give the kids a cold drink when it melts. (Jeannie, Facebook)
- Let your little one (with some help) pack their own little snack pack. Then they can grab things when they want them. Rather than having to yell “I want a shnack” every 5 minutes! (kris_scliz, Instagram)
Always be prepared
There’s a good reason this is an official motto. There’s something about kids and being prepared that goes hand-in-hand. Particularly when it comes to clothes and having a second pair of dry, non-sticky everything.
- Pack full outfits into ziplock bags – don’t forget the socks and underwear! (Kristy, Facebook)
- We always have an emergency pair of clothes just in case. (Jenna, Facebook)
Variety is the spice of travelling
And it’s what’s going to save you in the 9th hour of the flight that never ends. Creative packaging never hurts either, which is probably why these clever tips might help save your sanity one day.
- The best is to get a fish tackle box (the clear plastic ones) and put a different snack in each slot. Variety and convenience all in one. (Anna, Facebook)
- Pack an activity zip-up binder full of toys, crayons & finger puppets! You can be pretty versatile with the binder & make DIY compartments to hold specific items. Easy to carry around with you, doesn’t take up much space but is filled with things to keep the kids entertained if on a road trip, or at a restaurant etc. (@taneamaee, Instagram)
- Individual backpacks filled with snacks, colouring, a stuffy, toys, headphones for an iPad. We did this on our last flight and it worked amazing! (@thecheeriodiaries, Instagram)
- Oh snacks are a must but I make activity packs with a bunch of things I know that can keep them entertained and I also prefer to download a few shows or movies! Frequent stops for stretching is a good thing too! (Christine, Instagram)
Ignite that creative spark
What new spin can we put on the license-plate game? It’s amazing what a little creativity can do to revamp a tired travel activity and turn it into a bright and shiny distraction. We particularly LOVE these clever ideas.
- Magnetic letters and a cookie sheet for fun in the car. (@joykellymills, Instagram)
- Silly putty and comics. They spend hours pressing the silly putty onto the comics and then stretching the putty to make funny faces. (Jo-Anne, Facebook)
- When we don’t have much going on, but don’t want to go too far, we tour our own city. We get in the car, and let a game decide where we are going. Each passenger gets to pick a direction at a certain point, and then see where you end up. So passenger 1 starts “turn right”, at the next intersection, passenger 2 says “go straight” etc. A fun way to discover something new. (Monique, Facebook)
The art of distraction
Kid, adult, doesn’t matter. Time always moves faster when you’re not paying attention to it (just ask that pot of boiling water). The true challenge is how to distract several bored and restless kids who very much want that water to boil and the trip to end.
- Buy them a camera that is kid-friendly so that they can focus on their surroundings, but keep in mind they don’t understand time pressure, so make sure you give extra time to get to places. (Catherine, Facebook)
- We play audiobooks for children, we have snacks and juices on hand, books, car games like counting the cows or the Canadian flags, board puzzles, travel games, card games, and of course music with the ever-popular freeze game! (Alayne, Facebook)
Stick to the routine
We bet most of the moms and dads out there would probably agree there ain’t no kid like a tired kid. Remembering to pack that special blankie or teddy may be the only lifesaver you need to if it means you’ll get a rested kid in the morning.
- I pack lots of snacks, colouring books, small toys (sometimes a new toy), plus blankies and a stuffed toy from home to keep bedtime as normal as possible. (Tannis, Facebook)
We’ve got one final trick up our sleeves that’ll tick half these boxes all at once! Order a box of 10 Naked Snacks before your next family road trip or red-eye. We’ll help you spice up the journey with welcome distractions, delightful surprises and wholesome munchies to make your life easier.