Road Trip! Tips for Summer Travel with Little Ones

Summer is here!  Now it's time for summer fun--trips to the beach, camping, family reunions, etc. It'll be fun, it'll be memorable, and here are some things to consider to make it smoother. And don't forget your swimsuit, sunscreen, and lifejacket!

Before You Leave:

  1. Talk about the Plan:  Share “the plan” with your kids.  Whether you are flying or driving, talk about what the travel day will look like. We will get up early.  It will be a long day in the car.  We will be able to sing songs in the car.  Stop for lunch.  Etc. Etc.  At the least, they will have an idea of what is coming and then they can help pack accordingly—packing their own bag can be exciting!!  Let your toddler pick out the books and toys s/he wants for the trip.
  2. Think about the Timing:  If you’re flying, see if you can book a nonstop flight to avoid layovers and delays.  It may be a good idea to leave on an early flight.  If driving, it may be good to drive in the evening (if you’re rested and don’t mind driving in the dark), so your little one sleeps the majority of the way.  If driving, consider timing your arrival so that you miss rush hour traffic.
  3. Pack snacks.  Lots and lots of snacks:  Cheerios, string cheese, bananas, seaweed, granola bars, veggie booty. This might even be the trip that you set aside your healthy eating and bring the unhealthy snack back-ups. (Very few snacks are prohibited in my family on travel days.) However, a water bottle or sippy cup for water to keep hydrated, especially on flights, is the number one choice for the day of travel drink


  1. Plan for Breaks:  Research a couple of good rest areas on your drive, maybe a park with a short hiking trail to stretch everyone’s legs, maybe a town with a splash pad for a quick cool down, depending on how much time you have.  If there’s an open area, play chase.  Bring a Frisbee or bubbles.  Sidewalk chalk.  Although it may not be reasonable in certain scenarios, a good rule to avoid tantrums is 15-30 minutes break for every 2 hours of driving.
  2. Pack Entertainment:  Let your kids pack a bag of favorite toys, books, games, but have a back up bag packed by a parent.  The back up bag can have a few toys they haven’t seen in a while or a new surprise purchased just for the trip.  Check out a couple books on CD from the library—Clifford, Frozen, The Little Red Hen, Harry Potter.  Play “I Spy” to practice colors or, for older kids, letters (on signs and license plates).  Sing songs.  Finally, once you’ve gone through all of these, plus your family favorites, go ahead, pull out the portable DVD player or tablet.

You could also leave certain summer "essentials" in your car during the summer months. This can come in handy for shorter and longer trips. The list will be different for everyone, of course, but some of ours are as follows: nets (for catching frogs, bugs, crayfish, etc), buckets, towels, sunscreen, granola bars.


  1. Research Pertinent Airline Rules: How many bags are allowed to be checked per paying passenger?  Although some airlines do not charge for the first checked bag, some do and most major airlines charge for a second checked bag. Visit the Transportation Security Administration website ( to find out rules on gels, baby foods, formula/breast milk, carseats, strollers, etc.
  2. Pack Light Carry-ons:  Bring the essentials on the plane—snacks, entertainment, extra clothing, medication—but maybe not more than that.  One lighter weight carry-on per person is ideal.  However, a stroller can come in quite handy to carry bags and/or the smallest traveler(s).
  3. Layer: Bring sweaters, a pashmina, socks—layers—to adjust for fluctuating outside/inside/cabin temperatures.
  4. Use Technology:  Sign up for email or cell phone alerts through the airline’s web site; you’ll receive the latest on delays and cancellations.  Check in online and print out boarding passes at home.  You can check in online 24 hours prior to a flight to secure the best seats for your family.
  5. Entertainment: Bring Altoids—for shaking or snacking.  Bring post-it notes—for sticking on you, the seat in front of you, the seat you are sitting in.  Stickers or sticker books or magnet books can also provide a solid chunk of entertainment.  Noise canceling headphones can be great, too, and not only for listening to music or movies.  If your little one is scared of all the loud noises associated with a flight, s/he may want to wear the headphones to lessen the scare factor.

July 2015 Schedule

  • Meet and Play at East City Park--NO MEETING
    Monday, July 6, 2015, 9:30-11am
  • Staying Cool This Summer!
    July 13, 2015, 9:30-11am
  • All About Teeth-- teething and beyond!Dr. John Werner
    Monday, July 20, 2015, 9:30-11am
  • Open Discussion/Family Check-in
    (Bring topics of concern and/or areas of interest to discuss)