When you’re planning a vacation it’s always fun to pick out local things to do, where to shop, maybe even think about fun things to do in the evening! The thing you might not look forward to is what to pack…especially with kids!
There are so many different hacks and tips out there to pack your suitcase, but what about the travel part itself? I mean how many things can you really bring to do, to keep everyone occupied!? I suppose it depends on how you get there…though I set up the same kind of bags whether it’s flying, driving, or taking the train!
I start at the dollar store (whether traveling with kids, teens or adults!). I stand by it! There are a ton of things to find and take advantage of at the dollar store.
The dollar store top 10 travel shopping list
1. Reading books
2. Activity or puzzle books (I also look for self contained crafts, great time saver in the hotel too!)
3. Markers/pens and blank notebooks
4. Drawstring bags
5. Specialty snacks and candy and divided plastic containers for the “personalized snacks”
6. Gum (especially for flying)
7. Travel games (decks of cards, dice, magnetic games like snakes and ladders, even puzzle blocks)
8. Ear buds (not the best, but great to have a couple extra if need be)
9. Lip chap, tissues and wipes
10. Travel shoes or slippers (nothing like being able to slip out of your shoes during long flights or drives, sometimes a cheap pair of flip flops are the best! They even double as shower shoes if you’re concerned about hotel showers!)
You may not need to get some of everything on the list, but it covers my basics. There are so many activities or time killers to come up with from that list.
After I am done shopping at the dollar store I try to set things up for the trip.
Filling the “to do” bag
When we are traveling with the kids I usually set up a backpack for each parent with things in it for whichever kid will become our travel buddy (the super duper handy thing about only having two kids!) I try to personalize it for each kid AND each parent! (Afterall, when the parent is happy, they can look after the kid better!!) I use the drawstring bags inside the parent backpack. Inside the drawstring bag are the activities that the kids can do. You can either pull it out and give it to the kid so they can independently play with the items, or keep it in the parent bag and pull things out one at a time (highly recommended for younger kids!!!). The drawstring bag also doubles as an easy to carry bag for day trips, or to collect shells at the beach! I also add a bit of cash into each parent bag in case we get separated at all.
Filling the snack containers
I love creating specialty personalized snack containers. I love the hunt of finding the snacks that each person likes best. I use divided containers (usually in the jewellery sections or for nails and screws). I clean them out carefully then sometimes line them with muffin cup liners if required. The thing that I love about using multiple sectioned snack containers (especially for travelling) is that whenever anyone is hungry we don’t need to pull out a whole snack bag, or sort through all of the available snacks. Each person can simply pull out their container and they will find a variety of textured snacks, sweet snacks, salty snacks, or even cheese string and meat sticks. If your kids would plow through the snacks and eat them too fast why not set a time schedule. If it’s a long trip say that they can have one section of the container every hour. That way they also have the anticipation of what to eat next!
Getting the paper work in order
The last thing I set up is the paperwork bag. I have a large passport wallet that I use. It holds the important stuff like passports, any printed tickets that we need, and a bit of cash.
Whether you are driving, flying or traveling by train, these tips will make the trip seem shorter for parents and kids alike. There’s nothing like hearing “are we there yet” or “When are we going to get there?” over and over and over….by adults or kids!!!!