The good news is there’s no real “ugly” involved… just craziness. Just in time for your military family’s holiday travels.

By Vicki DeLuzio
SpouseLink Guest Blogger

My husband and I love to travel. For our honeymoon (years ago), we took 3 weeks off from work (yeah, we weren’t “supposed to”, but we did anyhow) and went to London, and then took a 2-week Mediterranean cruise. And it was great.

Then our kids entered the picture.

When we had our oldest son, “Munchie”, we continued to do a lot of traveling in a plane… and it went miserably. On his first flight, our usually easy-going, laid-back Munchie at age 1-½ was a miserable flyer.

He didn’t want to nap.
He didn’t want to rest.
He wanted to Scream. Loudly. On a plane.
A plane that was delayed 6 hours and became a midnight flight.

When we finally reached our destination, after that first horrible flight, the plane was having issues getting to the gate and getting the walkway secured. Munchie was bawling, and I was overtired and exhausted and thinking, “Never ever again”. We got off the plane, and friendly Munchie was back and waving at everyone getting off the plane. It almost felt spiteful!

After that flight, I learned a lot about traveling with kids:

  1. Things happen that you can’t prepare for. A flight delay, a traffic jam, a potty accident.
  2. The parents’ mood will greatly affect the childs’ mood. If the parent is stressed (as I was) the child will be, too.
  3. Be prepared to be awake long hours and bring snacks and drinks.

My favorite things to do to prepare for a trip:

  1. Find games or small toys for kids. Some people say wrap them, but if you need to go through security for an airplane, that may “land” you in some trouble. My kids each have their own backpacks, so I put in items that they haven’t seen before. Dollar stores are great for finding cheap toys (especially if they get lost).
  2. Load movies they haven’t seen before on an iPad or tablet. We don’t have a video system in our car so we use an iPad that is mounted on the back of our car seat.
  3. Stickers, post it notes and a paper pad with crayons are always great with a new coloring book
  4. Pack suitcases according to days, not to people. Roll each outfit together with socks, shirt, shorts (or pants) and underwear so there is no question on finding an outfit. Also pack extra clothes just in case.
  5. Hand sanitizer is your friend. Also, a few grocery or plastic bags to put wet items in is also super helpful. You never know when you might get a spill or a potty incident, and having a bag to put it in will save the rest of your stuff.
  6. Snacks, snacks and more snacks. We love dried fruit and granola bars.
  7. Medicines always stay with you, and not in checked bags!
  8. Take a photo of your children, passport and ID and keep in your phone’s memory in case you get separated. Make sure your cell phone is locked with a passcode just in case you lose your phone.
  9. For road trips, make sure your car is full of gas, your spare tire is full and ready, your air pressure in your tires is correct, and all your fluid levels are good.
  10. Get ready to have fun! Put away the cell phones (except for some pictures) and enjoy!

Did you catch that last one? ENJOY!

Have any travel advice to add? Let us know in the comments below, or share your own story.

More ideas & tips for traveling with kids:

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