Traveling with children can be hard on Mommy, especially if they're younger, but is is very possible to have a great trip, even with the smallest babies. The key is to be prepared for anything, and to make sure you have plenty of time to allow for the extra stops you're bound to make. Too many times, a mother forgets something important that ends up making her trip a bit harder. (My sister-in-law forgot her baby's bottle the other day, and even when she bought a new one, it wasn't the same, and baby didn't eat! She had to make a quick trip home!) You don't want this to happen to you, do you? If not, then follow this checklist of 8 things for a mother to remember on a trip, and you're sure to be set!
Whether it's a special toy, their blankie, or a pacifier, it is vital to the happiness of your trip if you remember your child's security piece. When I was younger, I had a doll called "Jammie Pies." He was my sleeping buddy every night, and somehow, he got forgotten at my grandmother's. From what I was told, nothing consoled me, until I received Jammie in the mail a few days later. In short, make sure, whatever you do, to remember whatever comfort your child needs to go to sleep at night. It will make your entire trip much easier!
2. Extra Easy-Access Clothes
Sure, you've got suitcases of clothes in the back (or on top) of the vehicle, but who really wants to have to go through all that trouble on the side of the road or at a rest stop? Accidents happen, and sometimes, even car sickness, and it's best to have another change of clothes within reach if the need should arise. This is another instance I speak from experience on, as I was a personal sufferer of car sickness. It's always nice to be prepared!
Sticky hands, little messes, whatever the problem, a wipe can help! If your child is already potty-trained, it's still a good idea to have a small pack of wipes available for things when you need them. You would be amazed at how a child can make a mess out of the simplest things - even goldfish crackers! Oh, and by the way, don't ever feed your 2-year-old cheese puffs in the car - don't ask!
Wipes would be useless if you didn't have something to create a mess, right? No, seriously, it's a great idea to have something for your kids (and you!) to snack on during a long trip. I will usually stop for one meal out somewhere, and the rest of the time, it's just snacks in the car. Juice boxes make great snack sized drinks, and go great with small packs of crackers, Pop-Tarts, and even fruit. When I pack my cooler, I will make some small baggies with pre-washed grapes, carrots, apple slices, and cantaloupe. It makes for delicious, healthy snacks that are easy to eat and clean up!
5. Books & Toys
Don't stick the DVD player in front of them all the time. It doesn't hurt to let them look at a couple books or play with some of their favorite toys some. Not that I'm saying that vehicle DVD's aren't good, because they are, but your kids need more brain stimulation than just movies. So, let them make their own travel pack, packing some toys, books, and even coloring books and crayons. These items also help in the hotel room! Mickey Mouse won't be there the entire time to keep your kids entertained, so it's great to have items to entertain after a long day out with Mickey!
Almost every kid naps during their car time on a trip. So make sure you have their pillow to prop their little head up and make them comfy as they sleep! There is nothing worse than a cramping neck as you pull into your next stop! In fact, why not bring everyone's pillow? You might enjoy a nap on yours as well, and we all know it's much nicer to sleep on our own pillow at night, no matter where we are! A couple of blankets for snuggling are good, too!
7. Baby Carrier/Stroller
Unless you're a glutton for punishment and aching arms, you'd better remember that baby carrier! Slings are great for babies, because they don't take up much space. However, even if you have a three or four year old, their little legs tire quickly, and if you're planning on walking a long day around Disney World, you'd better have one ready to give that little darling of yours a break! Trust me! It's a necessity!
8. First Aid Kit
You'll be so thankful you threw that little travel first aid kit into your bag when little Susie falls and skins her knee running into the rest area. (Trust me, another lived and learned instance!) It's really bad when you have an injured (however slightly it may be) kid, and no Band-aids to comfort them! Make sure you have Neosporin and some peroxide as well.
Have your camera ready, even in your car! You never know when a moment worth capturing is going to appear. Maybe a sleeping baby in the back seat, or Dad acting silly as he's driving. I've actually caught some great shots at rest stops along the way. You never know when a "Kodak moment" is going to show up, so always be ready!
Traveling with kids is a little more work...okay, a lot more work, but when properly prepared, it can also be a time of great memories and laughter. These things for a mother to remember on a trip are vital to accomplishing your role as super-mom, which we all agree, is the best kind of mom to be!
Top Photo Credit: ikeastinson