My husband and I work from home and sometimes that means we take an occasional trip to meet with clients or coworkers. For both of us to be able to go, it can be hard to find someone to stay with our 4-year-old, especially on short notice. We typically take my mother-in-law along with us and she stays with Cooper in the room in between our conferences and then it allows us to explore the city and be together when we're free.
Traveling with children requires extra planning when it comes to packing. I try to think ahead as far as which activities or games will be played on which days and keep things as organized as possible. I look for as many small or flat items that I can find that will keep him entertained, which will also fit well in our luggage. Small toys, coloring books, crayons, flash cards, etc. Dollar Stores and the "dollar section" of Target are my favorite spots. I never seem to have a problem finding something that will keep my son happy without spending a fortune. I also found individual craft kits (not pictured) in the dollar section of Target that I knew would keep him busy for awhile, because he had to put it together before he could play with it.
Here are a few tips to help while traveling with children:
∙ Bring a collapsible bin (like these) that will lay flat in the luggage. Lay all of the toys and activities on top and when you arrive at your hotel, use the bin to keep all of the toys and activities in one place. Most hotels have a table or extended counter space under the TV to line up the bins. (photos below)
∙ When we travel by plane, I always set up an Amazon Prime Now delivery to our hotel within an hour or so of our arrival. They offer FREE two hour delivery in most locations and you can schedule it ahead of time before you leave. The first time I ever did this, it was on our trip to Disneyland and I can't begin to tell you how much time and money we saved by using this method. I have ordered cereal, snacks, water bottles, makeup remover wipes, sunscreen and more, all to not have to drag it along with us in our travels, and save us time and money from having to pick it up when we arrived. (High tourist locations like Disneyland you'd pay a lot more at a nearby store) The hotel will hold your delivery at the front desk or if your room is ready, most places will put it in your room before check-in. It's SO convenient!
∙ Bring an extra collapsible bin for the food. If you have multiple children, each child could have their own bin with snacks and drinks. It's so helpful to keep everything in one place on the table instead of scattered all over the room.
∙ Dry erase markers are great for rainy days or just added entertainment. Kids can draw on mirrors or windows and they easily wipe off with tissue. With older kids, play tic-tac-toe, pictionary, practice writing and spelling.