traveling with kids can be challenging. if you are doing it solo, like me, you have to have things really dialed in to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. the boys and i recently returned from a road trip to disneyland and california adventure (more to come on that later) and these items made for a smooth trip. hope they help you, as well.
sleep is the first thing on my list, because it's the most important (in my opinion). if the kids don't sleep well, then i don't sleep well and everyone is grouchy if we don't get enough sleep. after lots of trial and error, these are my perfect solution for a great nights sleep for all.
marpac dohm sound machine
a sleep/sound machine is key, but not just any sound machine. the dohm by marpac is like no other (believe me, i have truly tried them all). the dohm sound is not produced by a recording on a loop. there is no pattern to the sound, it is just blissful white noise. you don't hear the party down the hall of the hotel, the couple next door enjoying their kid-free time or elevator noise. i have been using the dohm sound machine for almost 7 years.....my kids started sleeping with one as infants and i take a one with me on every trip, even business trips (ask genelle). i even keep a spare at all times in the closet in case one machine might someday stop working. obsessed doesn't even come close to describing what a brand loyalist i am. you will be hooked once you try one. you can thank me later.
intex pillow rest twin airbed with built-in electric pump
bringing twin air beds is essential, if we are traveling anywhere by car and can afford the space. with the air beds the kids sleep well, we don't have to pray that the hotel honors our request for 2 double beds and a roll-away (or charge us for the extra roll-away) and everyone is happy. this is my favorite airbed, because it inflates and deflates so easily and stores very compact.
bed tents are my hidden travel secret. they are super fun for use at home on the boys beds, but they have become a travel essential as well. bed tents slip easily onto their twin sized air mattresses and give them a fun and comfortable spot that is all their own in an unfamiliar hotel room. once i started using these for travel, the kids never wake up in the middle of the night wanting to get into bed with me. that is a win, in my book. we currently have the race car ones, but how cute are the tree house and cottage designs?! a huge hit for both boys and girls.
packit freezable snack bag
in our home, we use these bags daily for school lunches, but they also come in so handy for trips. they are made with built-in ice packs, so you simply freeze the whole things and then pack it up with goodies that you want to stay cool while you travel. we love it for things like cheese sticks, yogurts and other dairy products. they are compact, so easy to freeze in the little tiny freezer compartment of the hotel mini bar fridge, too.
nalgene kids bottle
i have been a big fan of nalgene for years, but i love them even more (now that i have kiddos) for these awesome kids water bottles. there are no straws to clean, they are easy to re-fill at a drinking fountain or with their drink of choice and my kiddos can use them easily themselves. perfection.
snackeez travel cup
okay---i know that this does not sound like a likely choice, i mean...they are an "as seen on tv" products, right? believe me, i had my doubts...and i must say that i was 100% wrong. these handy cups are *fantastic* for car travel! they hold a snack in the top and lots of liquid in the bottom, and together they fit into one cup holder so NO SPILLS. i am a total convert.
i always bring at least one zip tote bag. they are the easiest to fill with easy to access essentials and also come in handy when you are trying to gather all of the things from the car that you want in the hotel room with you, when you arrive at your destination. scout bags are my personal favorite because they are durable, easy to clean and come in a wide variety of styles, patterns and colors.
ebags packing cubes
these handy little ebags are my favorite suitcase packing secret. i can easily keep like items with like items (like all the "swim" stuff goes in one cube, so that if we get to the hotel and the room isn't ready, it is easy to grab the swim items and kill time the fun way). the ebags are also great to separate my items from each boys by labeling or having each person have their own color. i suggest to make one a sleeping cube. i pack the sleeping cube with pajamas, toothbrushes and anything else we may need for bedtime and place the cube at the top of the suitcase. that way, it is easily accessible if we end up at our destination late.
entertainment is an essential piece to having a successful trip with kiddos. here are some of our very favorites from our last trip to disneyland.
melissa & doug travel hangman
what a fun way to practice spelling test words!
this is a fantastic game that is so much fun....and doesn't have noise or take batteries so perfect for a plane ride.
crocodile's noisier counterpart. so. much. fun. (as long as you don't mind the noise).
ipad car headrest mount holder
when taking a road trip, try out these ipad holders for rear seat entertainment. both boys loved it and could watch their own movie choice.
jlab jbuddies kids volume limiting headphones
if you are looking for a pair of kids headphones, i love these volume limiting ones from jlab. they come with various sticker options to decorate the outside (in this case, a robot).
iguy protective case for ipad
at all times, when my kids have the ipad, i keep it in this protective case. it looks fun for them and is easy to carry....for mommy, i can breathe sign of relief that the ipad is safe.
rca 9-inch mobile dvd player with additional 9-inch screen
if your car doesn't have rear seat entertainment and you don't want to go the ipad route, try out this great, 2 screen dvd player. my boys liked that they could pick from any of our dvds to watch and mommy loved that, with their headphones in, i could listen to music on the way to the happiest place on earth that wasn't kid chosen.
so, there you have ti. travel with kids can be fairly easy, if you prepare and gear up with the right equipment. let me know if you have any other products that have worked great for you---i would love to know about it!