From cross-country road trips, interstate travels to grandmas house, and even international jaunts across the pond; weve put together family travel survival bag guides that will keep your little ones entertained so that you can focus on more important thingslike remembering how to read a map.
Survival Bag Basics
The first two tried-and-true travel essentials: a first-aid kit and activity journal.
To create an activity journal, grab a 3-ring binder (one per child), a pencil pouch filled with writing and coloring utensils, sheet protectors, scissors (for children who are old enough), glue sticks, and lined notebook paper. You can also fill them with printed coloring pages and other activities mentioned later. The sheet protectors will house activity pages and any postcards or knick-knacks you may pick up throughout your journey.
For a functional yet manageable (and fashionable) first-aid kit thats perfect for small spaces, we prefer to store our accident essentials in a zip-up makeup bag. Be sure to pack your portable emergency station with the basics: band aids, baby wipes, pain relievers, cough drops, Neosporin, hand sanitizer, tissues, EpiPens, and any other items that may fit your familys needs.
Now that weve got your travel basics out of the way, lets make things a little more interesting! Below you can find customized family travel survival bags catered to the itinerary of your favorite destination:
From Sea to Shining Sea (or Just to Grandmas):Road Trip
Have your kids take in the sights and sounds of destinations closer to home with this survival bag dedicated to the classic road trip.
Apples and cherries: These scarlet hued fruits have starring roles in American folklore. Let your kids munch on these healthy treats as you read them the stories of Johnny Appleseed and George Washington and his cherry tree. Other safe snacks include pre-popped popcorn, trail mixes, hard boiled eggs, veggie sticks and unjunked candy like Sour Berry Bears.
Tackle box: Tackle boxes are a great, fuss-free way of storing healthy snacks in kid-sized portions on the go.
Shower caddy: Shower caddies are great ways to store and distribute food while on the road.
A map : A print out map of the United States or jus a detailed map of your own state is a great way for your tykes to not only color, but learn about all of the places theyve visited. Alternatively, they can use it as a license plate game score card by coloring the states whose plates theyve spotted on the road. We love this version from Mr. Printables!
Cookie sheet: Not only does this kitchen staple come in handy for sweet treats, but it also makes an awesome activity center! The cookie sheet provides the perfect flat surface for eating and coloring activities; and works as a great magnetic surface when partnered with your familys favorite alphabet and sentence magnets. Offbeat Family has a fantastic cookie sheet activity tray tutorial.
Muffin tins: Yet another baking item finds its way on our list of road trip must-haves! Muffin tins are great DIY Play-doh stations.
A Portable DVD player and DVDs: Desperate times call for desperate measures. Let your family watch their favorite films on the go, especially when you need your own nap time up in the front seat.
A stop at your local library: Many library branches (our Chicago area included) will put together travel collections tailored to your kids ages, length of travel and destination. Give your local library a call ahead of the trip to see if they offer such packages.
Cereal container: These containers make surprisingly effective trash cans in cramped cars.
Shoe organizer: An over-the-door fabric shoe organizer turns into a perfect car organizer when draped over the back of the drivers seat. The compartments are great for storing toys and knick-knacks you may gather throughout your travels.
Non-Stop to Red Eyes: Family Air Travel
There are few things more rewarding than having the ability to show your children the world. However, there are few things more difficult than keeping a kid occupied on an airplane. Take the fear out of flying with your family with these tested travel bag survival items.
Snacks: Air travel can be a daunting prospect for parents of children with allergies. We always recommend packing allergy-free snacks that agree with your familys dietary needs. Overpriced airport stores often dont carry suitable items and snacks on the plane arent always reliable, either. Many parents have shownoff their kids Surf Sweets gummy air travel snacks on social media!
Presents: Wrap up snacks and little toys and trinkets from the dollar store; then allow your child to open up a new gift after certain benchmarks during the flight. The presents will keep them occupied and the promise of being able to open another will keep them on their best behavior!
Reading list: In anticipation of your journey, make sure to read books about planes and/or your vacation destination. Not only will it get your little ones excited and comfortable with your trip, but its a great way to start a discussion about travel expectations.
A touch of home: Long flights can prove overwhelming for many people regardless of age. Make sure to pack cozy PJs, a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or any other item from home that can sooth and comfort your travel companions in your carry-on bag.
Arts and crafts: Let your childs inner Picasso shine while en route to your international destination. Mess-free crafts like non-toxic Wikki Stix are great for letting your child express their in-flight creativity.
Is there anything you think weve missed? Do you have any family travel survival tips of your own? Share them in the comments section! Ciao!