5 things that make traveling with kids easier

All three of my kids were born abroad, and traveling is one of our family’s favorite hobbies. Here are a few traveling tips we’ve picked up over the years.

1. Get a portable crib

Peapod cropped

I’m not talking about the old port-a-cribs. I’m talking about something that weighs 2 pounds, pops up in seconds, has a cover from the sun, and zips closed for mosquito protection. We bought a Peapod travel bed a year ago, and I can’t believe it took us so long to discover this. Amazing. We take it to the beach, pop it up in the walk-in closet, or whatever. If your kid can sleep in something like this, it is AWESOME. (The Peapod Plus is a bit bigger. We got the smaller one for our baby, but may upgrade to the bigger one someday).

2. Itinerary Management App

TripItFree_iPhone_SOHP_CroppedThese are pretty awesome. All you do is forward your confirmation emails to a predefined email address, and the app will organize all of your itinerary details for you. This is a must to keep straight your flights, hotels, car reservations, etc. all in one place. I’ve used both TripCase and TripIt. They both work pretty well. These also make it easy to share your travel plans with your spouse or anyone else that you may be visiting.

3. Stay somewhere with a kitchen

Maybe your kids are different than mine, but for us, going to a restaurant is usually not the most relaxing thing in the world. There are lots of ways to get a kitchen, but Airbnb is our go-to option. Not only do you save tons of money, but you often get a nicer place, meet locals, and have a tour guide you can email before you get there for some sweet insider tips.

4. Remember that kids operate on their own schedule.

When I was single, or newly married, I’d take whatever flight was cheapest and travel at the craziest hours. That makes for some fun stories and tired days, but it makes for ruined trips when you try to do it with kids. We try to do a few of the following in order to make our trips more fun with the kids:

  • Take flights during hours that are reasonable
  • Schedule time to stop off at the grocery store on the first day
  • Don’t pack the schedule too full
  • Take joy in the journey. Don’t focus too much on the destination, or you’ll stress the whole time and then wonder why you got there.

5. Get a hand-held luggage scale

We said goodbye to stressing over luggage weight after getting this. Just do it. Here’s the luggage scale we use. It’s light, amazingly accurate, and totally worth a few bucks.

I’ll post more tips later, but I though this was a decent list to start.