LOS ANGELES, Calif.
- If you've ever traveled with kids (especially over the holidays), you know it's an adventure. But according to Princess Ivana Pignatelli Aragona Cortes, holiday travel doesn't have to be complicated.
"The better organized you are, the easier it gets," says Ivana, who is a featured blogger at Modern Mom, founder of Princess IvanaâThe Modern Princess, and coauthor of the upcoming book A Simple Guide to Pregnancy & Baby's First Year. "With the right information and a willingness to think ahead, you can save yourself a Santa's sackful of stress."
Whether you are traveling near or far, these seven survival tips from Ivana will help make your family trip the wonderful adventure it should be.
Travel light(ish). "Consider whether there are items you can borrow or buy once you get to your destination," Ivana suggests. "You might even call ahead and ask Mom to pick up a few things like extra diapers and formula.
"I've found that one suitcase works for both of my kids," she continues. "Speaking of consolidation, the new Ride On Carry Onâa device that converts your carry-on suitcase into a strollerâsolves a lot of traveling woes! And if you're checking most of your bags, don't forget a carry-on with extra outfits for the kids and maybe even an extra shirt for you."
Organize your Mary Poppins purse. Find a bag with plenty of pockets and compartments. Make sure the things you'll need most often or quickly are most accessible.
"I always pay special attention to travel documents," Ivana says. "Think about storing them in a separate, brightly colored wallet or folder if there isn't a convenient compartment in your bag. When I'm traveling by plane, I make sure to pack a carry-on Ziploc bag with medications my kids might need."
Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. It always takes longer to get out of the house than you think it will. Airport lines can be mind-numbingly long. And you never know when a tantrum or dirty diaper will erupt.
"Thinking back on my family's many trips, I don't believe there has been even one that went without a hitch," Ivana recalls. "And that's normal!"
Ace airport security. "While you can't bypass TSA, you can make the process as painless as possible," comments Ivana. "Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind."
When possible, use the "Green Circle" lanes, where you will be allowed extra time and assistance.
Know the latest TSA regulations and pack your carry-ons accordingly.
Wear easy-to-slip-on-and-off shoes, jackets, and belts. Be sure your little ones aren't wearing metal that could set off beepers.
Prepare your children as to what they can expect.
Fill their bellies. Make sure you have plenty of snacks. If you're flying, have a baby bottle ready for take-off and landing.
Swallowing will help your baby's ears adjust to pressure changes. For older children, a low-sugar lollipop works.
"Don't forget to fuel yourself, either," reminds Ivana. "You won't be doing anyone any good by bottoming out your blood sugar."
Make time fly with entertainment. Buy a new toy for the trip, and bring books, an iPad, pacifiers, a ponyâwhatever it takes to keep your children from reaching octave levels that break the sound barrier.
"Having a few new things will keep kids occupied longer," explains Ivana. "Be wary of bringing anything that makes too much noise. Music is a great soother, so kid-friendly headphones would make a great investment. And don't forget comfort items like a favorite teddy or soft blanket."
Map out your road trip. Be sure to have plenty of snacks and toys to keep your children occupied, and make sure you can get to them easily.
"Look at your route ahead of time and plan stops at locations that will allow little ones to burn off energy," Ivana suggests. "Be sure to have lots of extras on handâI'm talking about diapers, pacis, and wipes."
"Holiday travel with children doesn't have to mean the end of your sanity is in sight," concludes Ivana. "Making it there and back in one piece is simpler than you think if you plan, prepare, and know what to expect."