Travel Tips for Moms, or, An Ode to Snacks

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We recently did some traveling of the international variety for a family wedding in Costa Rica. In so doing, I went into the experience thinking I might come up with some tips I could offer to the moms of the Denver Metro [and beyond] with regard to how to do this well, with kids. At each turn, however, I was reminded of how little control we, the moms, have when traveling. I can purchase all the early bird check-ins my little wallet can handle, and plan ahead all day long, but I have zero, and I do mean zero control over the following, just as a quick example:

  • The lines at security are slow because the drug dogs are sniffing today
  • The couple in front of us getting in a near physical confrontation with the folks in the row next to them, creating awkward tension and continued verbal sparring throughout the 3+ hour international flight
  • Delays of any kind
  • Layovers that last forever
  • Airline-provided snacks your kid won’t touch
  • Turbulence
  • The kids behind you are kickers
  • I could go on…

Point being: traveling is a giant exercise in patience and relinquishing control. So given that information, here is what I have to offer you in the way of travel pointers. There are two, and they are crucial.

HEADPHONES.

I don’t care if all you have is Apple earbuds or the Hello Kitty headphones that are broken from being sat on one too many times. Whatever you’ve got will do. Now, hand over your fancy, noise canceling bad boys to your small one ASAP. Your momentary discomfort is worth it. My kid was entertained during the 5-hour layover, slept like a baby on our longer flights with T. Swift serenading her, and she had NO idea that the people right in front of her were losing their minds and swearing at each other, because she was giggling at the shenanigans Beethoven was getting in. Never even looked up. Nailed it.

BUT MOST OF ALL, SNACKS.

Bring them.

  • But also, make sure you bring ENOUGH snacks. For both directions. Especially if you can’t be sure Oreos are readily available wherever it is you are traveling. Your carry on bag will basically be your few essentials – an iPad (with headphones! see above), some chapstick; sacrifices will have to be made – and then snacks.
  • Assess before you go if you will ever be in contact with additional children in your travels. Because if so, you had better have enough snacks for every child, plus your own.
  • Make sure you bring the CORRECT snacks. Don’t assume because your kid liked Disney Princess fruit snacks last time you traveled that it remains true now. She may have a hankering for an obscure fruit bar she remembers having when she was 4. It also remains possible that between your trip to the store and your trip to the airport, her preferences will change – but asking explicitly which snacks she wants is your best bet for having the right ones.
  • Pack a surprise snack. When they are inevitably bored of the ones they asked for, but hungry and discontent nonetheless, the element of surprise can really bring it home. Oh, you’re sick of Gushers? VOILA. I also have pretzels. Boom.
  • Just because the grown ups traveling alongside you SAY they don’t need snacks does not in fact mean they won’t want snacks [I’m looking at you, husbands]. Pack snacks for them too. Also, make them tell you what they want. Aforementioned correct snack policies apply here, as well.
  • Bring snacks for yourself, too, but pick something no one else likes. Otherwise, you’re guaranteed NOTHING unless you sneak into one of those airplane bathrooms to snarf it. And you’re better than that.

And that’s really all I’ve got. Moms, we’ve got very little control over anything when we travel with our kids. So the best we can do is to arrive prepared to feed your people through whatever comes our way.

{Which is just a fancy way of reminding you to just make sure you bring snacks.}

Need more travel tips? Check here and here for more ideas.

 

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