Now that airlines are charging extra for checking bags, we need to be smart about how we pack – and especially how much we pack.
Parents particularly have to put more thought into this – not only do we have to pack the necessities, but we have anticipate just the right things to keep the kids entertained whether it be on a plane, in a car, or during downtime in a hotel room.
Here are some items that have worked for me -
1) Sports equipment – but small sports equipment!
A soft football, a blow up beach ball, and even a skinny plastic bat that all fit into one bag we checked turned into hours of wiffle ball and volleyball on a patch of grass at our hotel. (Take out the bat and it can all fit in a carry on.)
We had kids from around our resort join our games. You may be surprised how kids can turn one ball into hours of fun.
2) A portable audio amplifier headphone bundle -
This is key for a plane where you have mnore than one child and can’t turn up the volume on a lap top. With this gadget, up to three kids can all watch a movie from the same laptop with headsets.
The main device plugs into a laptop, and headphones plug into device to deliver audio to whomever wants to watch and listen. It costs around $20, the one I have is by Bustaroo.
3) An electronic reader – if your kids are old enough to have their own reading device, make sure they download the books they want BEFORE the trip. Remind them, because they don’t always think of those things. If you don’t you’ll have to pay the WiFi fee at your hotel when they realize they don’t have the books downloaded.. Sometimes Starbucks and McDonalds, where you can get free WiFi, don’t work either – trust me, I’ve tried.
4) If you are staying at a beach resort, find out if they have boogie boards, or snorkeling gear on hand… and if so ask if it costs anything to rent them during your stay. I try to avoid surprises. One resort I just visited charged $30 a day for a boogie board – that’s about as much as one costs at Costco. Not exactly family friendly pricing but they know they have you once you are there.
If you have more than one child, and plan on being on the beach, it pays to pack your own boogie boards and snorkel gear. For three kids it would have cost $450 for five days – and only $50 round trip to check in the boards either in a big bag or duct taping them together depending on which airline you fly.
Hope you are all off to a great summer!!! Please let me know about your travels.