Traveling Solo With the Kids

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One of the best mental exercises you can do before traveling with kids is to ask, "What could go wrong?"

Plenty of moms travel alone with their kids these days. Elevate Destinations, an online travel adventure company, says they’re seeing an uptick in the number of moms willing to take kids on adventures by themselves. And while that may not sound like your idea of fun, traveling or not, you spend an awful lot of time alone with your kids. Here are nine sanity savers for summer travel adventures whether here at home or flying high in the sky:

1) HOW’S YOUR TRAVEL SYSTEM?

Do you have a light-weight travel stroller? A car seat or booster that will work on the plane? If you’re traveling with a little one you’ll need to do a little brain work to get it all set in your mind how you’ll do this or that. It’s OK. You can do it.

2) RESEARCH ONLINE

Check out what the airport will be like on-line if you’re flying so you know where your gate is and where the play area is. If you’re traveling by car, map out your destination and know where points of interest will be along the way.

3) TRAVEL LIGHT

You don’t need to bring your entire kid’s closet. The less you bring, the happier you’ll be (and the easier it will be, too). Ournextadventure.com says don’t bring too many clothes, toys or books. Make a checklist for each child and follow it. Think through your itinerary and what you’ll need. You can always do laundry or pick up something you need in a pinch.

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READ MORE ABOUT TRAVELING WITH LITTLE ONES HERE:

Air Travel and Baby: You CAN Do It

4) EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY

Yes, you do need that portable DVD player and that iPod. Make sure you have plenty of downloaded movies, books on tape and apps that you love.

5) LET KIDS CARRY THE WEIGHT

Use wheeled back packs and suitcases for kids who are able to pull their own, says travel.com. Allow each child a small backpack, too, so they each have their own activity items. Use your GPS tracking device to “brand” your kids’ suitcases so they can be easily found if left behind. If you’re staying at a hotel, let the kids pull their own things and help you get into the room. Kids love pressing the button for the elevator and being the first one in the room.

6) FOOD!

No matter what, kids are happiest when their tummies are satisfied. Make sure you have healthy snacks and a sweet treat or two.

7) BE BRAVE AND ASK FOR HELP

Strangers are more than happy to give a hand if you need one. Don’t be hard on yourself and try to grind it alone if you’re in a pinch. Go ahead and ask that nice-looking person to help you stow your luggage while you get your child seated. Flight attendants will help. So will people at the hotel and at the car rental. Reach out.

8) PREP THE KIDS

Don’t just do all that planning and prepping and then expect the kids to follow along the day of. Prepare them. Let them know what to expect. Let them learn to manage their suitcase at home with a backpack on their back. This is parenting 101, people!

9) THINK “WHAT COULD GO WRONG?”

This is a mental exercise that will prepare you for anything. The truth is, it’s hard to travel alone, especially with babies and toddlers.

Susan Swindell Day is the editor in chief of Nashville Parent and the mom of four amazing kids.

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