June marks the official end of the school year and beginning of summer, which means many families might soon hit the roads and skies for family vacations. According to research (Adobe Digital Index), Americans are expected to spend about $83 billion dollars online for summer travel. How to make your trip a bit more convenient? Consider these secrets, hacks and tips, some of them submitted by you, our viewers, your summer lifesavers.
Some quick tips for getting through the airport with small kids and the plane ride itself:
Amanda from the South Bay says: “Baby wearing is key. You wear the baby through the security screening and hands free is a major plus!”
Brittany Marie offers: “Best tip I’ve got for traveling with infants: Bring a small, reusable grocery bag or something similar and put a diaper and wipes in it when you sit down before your flight. Easier to carry to the bathroom than diaper bag and still gives you two hands to carry baby/walk safely on the plane.”
Sam Newton likes to get fancy. “Small toys and activities, wrap them up in wrapping paper. It makes them more exciting and takes time to open them. Perfect for flights!”
Lynne, mom of one from Los Angeles, calls on an airport-concierge service unofficially known as the “Mayor of LAX.” Officially known as John Clark, he can allegedly get you from curbside to your gate or relaxing in the lounge in 15 minutes or less. Priority boarding for families, transportation arrangements to and from LAX are also included. Service fees start at $200. Contact Reservations@MayorLAX.com.
Calabasas pediatrician and author of What to Feed Your Baby Tanya Altmann says: “Travel with straws so any age toddler or child can drink out of any container on plane or anywhere.”
Have tots that are sensitive to altitude changes? Try nursing or offering a pacifier or lollipop during takeoff and landing.
If you need to take a stroller, opt for the smallest, lightest option you can get away with. A brand new design from GB Child USA is the GB Pockit, aka “the world’s most compact stroller.” Weighing in at 9.5 pounds with the ability to hold a child up to 55 pounds and hold 11 pounds of gear in the basket, the stroller folds small enough to fit inside a diaper bag and fit under an airplane seat.
Nervous about taking kids to busy places on vacation? Track them and keep them close the high-tech way. Dozens of GPS-like devices ranging from $10 to $200 can help keep tabs on little ones. At $40, Buddy Tag is a Bluetooth-enabled, Android and iPhone compatible app that allows you to monitor your child via your phone with a bracelet that alerts you when your child is out of your proximity. It also includes a water safety feature. The Filip 2 is a watch worn around the wrist offers two-way communication and acts as a tracking device using a companion iOS of Android app ($149.99). More options and resources for wearable child-trackers here.
Traveling by car?
LA-based infant and toddler sleep trainer Natalie Willes advises parents to depart at the time their baby naps, so they sleep the first part and then wake up, hopefully halfway through the road trip, happy.
Tracy Vanosdall says: “Use a behind-the-door plastic shoe holder rack on the seat back to store toys, goodies, snacks, activities.”
If you have budding artists, a cookie tray makes for a fabulous drawing pad on the lap of a forward-facing child.
Staying in a hotel with kids?
Melissa Dell, mom of three from Los Angeles, wedges her infant’s portable crib into the closet area, leaving the doors open, to make the most of limited space.
Pool noodles slipped under a fitted sheet can also serve as makeshift bed rails for small children.
At the beach?
Baby powder instantly and easily removes sticky sand from feet.
It’s easier to put sunscreen on little kids’ faces if you ask them to make a face like a puffer fish.
And, our favorite viral beach hack found via author Asha Dornfest’s famous Parent Hacks website: Wrap valuables like keys, money, IDs in a [clean] diaper and feel more confident about leaving those items on the blanket while you take a dip in the waves.
What are your tips for keeping family travel easy and enjoyable?
Jill Simonian is a Parenting Lifestyle Contributor, appearing on CBS Los Angeles every Wednesday on News at 5pm and Friday mornings at 6:30am. Her personal blog is TheFabMom.com. Follow Jill on Twitter @jillsimonian and connect with her on Facebook.