By Krista Felker, Spokane Federal Momcent's Mom
We don't travel an awful lot, but these last 12 months have been an exception. Last Thanksgiving we flew to Kansas City to visit family for a week. Last March we flew to Kona, Hawaii for almost a week with my husband's company. Then this summer we flew to Denver and drove throughout Nebraska showing the kids their dad's upbringing and attending a huge family reunion. We don't have tiny kids anymore which makes things a little easier, but there are still a lot of things to consider when traveling with kids. Here is a list of dos and don'ts I came up with after our trip to Hawaii.
Do: Find free stuff to do. We went and explored beaches and found a neighboring hotel with dolphins we could go watch for free. We also spent a lot of time at the pool and enjoying free activities at our hotel.
Do: Hit up a grocery store. Feeding five people 3 times a day can be a major budget buster! We hit up a nearby grocery store and bought muffins and fruit for breakfast and bread, peanut butter and honey for sandwiches. Major money saver.
Do: Pack snacks. We brought lots of snacks from home too. Snacks to eat in the airports, on the plane (those peanuts and pretzels are not going to keep you full for 5+ hours) and to keep in the hotel room. Comes in handy and saves a ton of money.
Do: Bring entertainment. Decks of cards are great for airport entertainment. And then ipads loaded with movies made for a peaceful long plane ride.
Don't: Try to carry everything on your own. We had each kid bring their own backpack with their entertainment, a few snacks, and a sweatshirt etc. The adults have enough to keep track of, it was nice for each kid to have everything they needed on them.
Don't: Try to pack too much into your day. Remember, it's a vacation. Do plan some activities and outings but remember to take time to relax too. Overtired kids make for miserable parents.
Don't: Overpack. With 5 people the "stuff" can add up. But there is barely room in one hotel for all of us, nevermind several suitcases. So packing light can save you much-needed space. Plus there's less to lug to and from the airport.
Don't: Spend too much on souvenirs. My kids were so excited to be in Hawaii for the first time. So when we went to look in the hotel gift shop they wanted EVERYTHING. We ended up going to a Target and they had a HUGE souvenir section for super cheap compared to the hotel gift shop. The kids were able to get some cute things as well as some stuff to bring home to friends, family, and teachers without breaking the bank.