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Top 10 Family Travel Tips You Can Actually Use

By Jamie Pearson, Travel Savvy Mom

  1. You paid for that hotel room, so move the furniture around all you want. Push the bed into the corner and stash the coffee table in the closet. You’ll make the odd unpleasant discovery, but isn’t that a small price to pay for a new and improved family-friendly floor plan?
  2. Bring a really, really funny book. You’re crossing airports, countries, and time zones with people who can’t consistently blow their own noses. This is no time for Kite Runner, people.
  3. Never leave home without peanut butter. Unless your kids are anaphylactic to peanuts, then never leave home without beef jerky. On a related note, while TSA policy remains noncommittal about Cheese Whiz, TSM (Travel Savvy Mom) maintains that pressurized, aerosol cheese is never a good idea.
  1. You can never have too many Ziploc bags full of cheap, new plastic toys. One bag per child for the flight over. Same for the flight home. Same for restaurants. Skimp at your own peril.
  2. It’s okay to take Ambien. For reasons entirely unknown to TSM, your preschooler will easily go back to sleep after a light snack and a quick Backyardigans episode at 3am on Greenwich Mean Time. You however, will not.
  3. No child is too big for a stroller. Trust us, there’s nothing like dragging an exhausted six-year-old up a steep medieval cobblestone street to make you wish you were pushing an exhausted six-year-old up a steep medieval cobblestone street.
  4. Fold out sofas are a fact of family travel life. They are also your enemy. From their treacherous leg-gouging metal protuberances to their mid-spine “support” bars, fold out couches are expressly designed to inflict torture. Plus, kids fall out of them with alarming regularity. Disarm these devious devices by removing their mattresses and placing them directly on the floor. Try falling out of that, kid.
  5. No matter how much your child is freaking out in the Immigration line, do not let them hold their own passport. Sweating, panicking, and inter-spousal shouting are no longer permitted in airports around the world, although obviously this takes a LOT of the fun out of family travel.
  6. In the event of tarmac delays, stage an impromptu puppet show for your kids using the provided air sickness bags. This is especially important for those of you who are fans of the bulkhead row because your stuff will be totally unavailable to you during takeoff and landing. Even if it takes nine hours.
  1. On flights of any length, the correct seat assignment for your husband is the one directly in front of your toddler. No less true for being, you know, head-slappingly obvious.

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