Traveling is hectic for families, so parents need some good travel hacks to keep everything running smoothly. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple things you can do to make your trip safe, fun, and memorable. Keep reading to get seven great travel hacks for parents.
1. Childproof the hotel room
Children can easily get hurt in a hotel room designed for adults. Purchase a travel childproofing kit or create your own by bringing doorknob covers, tape for securing loose cables, and sliding door locks. If you find yourself without a kit, get creative by taping hand towels to doorknobs and using Band-Aids to cover electrical sockets.
2. Prepare for your child being separated from you
Before your trip, purchase child ID temporary tattoos. Write your cell phone number on the tattoo and apply it to your child each day of the trip. Not only will your child think it looks cool, it will ensure their safe return in case you’re ever separated. If your child has any allergies or needs medication, consider having them wear travel ID bands. These have space for you to write in medical information.
3. Squeeze more into each suitcase
When you travel with your family, you need to carry a lot more stuff than if you’re traveling alone. If your kids are too young to pull their own suitcases through the airport, it’s in your best interests to travel with as few bags as possible. To pack more efficiently, try rolling your clothes instead of folding them. This method compresses clothes and allows you to fit more items in your luggage. Doing it is easy: for shirts, fold the torso in half vertically, fold in the sleeves, then roll tightly; for pants, fold in half vertically then roll tightly horizontally. Want to save even more space? After you roll your clothes, place them inside packing cubes. These will not only compress the clothes even further, it will keep all your belongings neat and organized inside your suitcase.
4. Encourage good behavior with an hourly system
It’s no secret: kids get antsy on long trips and subsequently get on everyone’s nerves. Prevent boredom and headaches with home-made goodie bags. Buy some trinkets from your local dollar store and put them in paper baggies. Then, give your kids a new goodie bag for each hour of the trip – but only if they’re behaving well!
5. Make the most of your breakfast buffet
Keeping a full stock of snacks is critical when you’re traveling with kids. The best thing is to either pack snacks in your suitcase or stock up at a supermarket after you arrive at your destination. But what if you forget to do either? Here’s a trick if you’re in a bind. If your hotel serves a morning buffet, bring large zip-close bags with you. Fill them with snacks – especially healthier ones like bananas and apples. That way you’ll always have a snack handy when the grouchies kick in.
6. Avoid technology-related meltdowns
Unless you’re camping or visiting an island resort, you’re probably not leaving your gadgets behind. So make sure everyone in your family is able to make the most of their devices. Bring a power strip with you. That way, everyone can charge their devices at the same time instead of fighting over who gets to go first. Also, make sure you bring extra earphones or headphones. That way, if anyone forgot to bring theirs, or loses them, you’ll have an extra set. If you need to charge up but forgot your device’s wall charger adapter, check the back of your room’s TV. Most new models come with USB ports, which you can use with your gadget’s USB cord.
7. Be the first to board the plane
If you’re traveling with the brood, being able to get on the plane early can be incredibly helpful. While some airlines allow families with young children to board before the rest of the economy passengers, many are no longer offering this courtesy. But there are still ways you can receive priority boarding, even if you’re not flying first class or business class. First, check to see if your airline-affiliated credit card offers you any perks. The Platinum Delta SkyMiles credit card from American Express, for instance, allows cardholders to board their flights when Zone 1 priority boarding is called. Also, consider upgrading your regular economy tickets to premium economy. Many airlines allow premium economy passengers to get on the plane first. If you fly Virgin Atlantic’s Premium Economy, for example, you’ll not only enjoy priority boarding, they’ll even offer you a dedicated check-in and bag-drop counter. THat way, your family and your bags will be first off the plane when you arrive.
Making your trip safe and memorable is a fun exercise in creative thinking. Use these travel hacks for parents — do exactly what we recommended, or add your own creative twist to them. Either way, you’ll have a great trip.