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Your Road Map For Fun: Family Travel Hacks And Tech Tips




Have you ever planned an epic vacation for your family? Something you've looked forward to for months and thought you had everything planned out perfectly? Only to realize an hour into the trip you forgot the cooler. Or the charger for the toddler's favorite toy. As a mom of seven who loves to travel, I'm all about anything that makes our trips go a little smoother. However, I also know that it's hard to remember all the things. Whether it be snacks or screens, blankets or books, I've learned there are just certain items you have to have along for the journey. These family travel hacks will help make your trip less stressful and more fun, whether you're taking to the skies or the open road.



Family Travel Hacks


When planning a family vacation, time is your friend. Take the time to plan ahead and leave the spontaneity for when the kids are older. Young kids thrive on routine and familiarity. Several of these family travel hacks are all about planning ahead. Trust me when I say--it will make all the difference. Don't miss the tech tips I've included for even more help, from the tiniest toddler explorers to the trickiest teenagers.





Pre-travel Hacks

Master the Art of Packing


Packing - the exciting, but time-consuming start to every trip. Clothes and toiletries are kind of a necessity while traveling, even without kids, right? Packing cubes can work wonders for keeping everything organized. You can coordinate outfits for each day, which I find makes your kids easier to spot in a crowd. Try to leave clothes that get excessively wrinkled at home, and roll clothes to save space. Use the smallest packing cubes for all your charging cords--more on that later.


Tech Tip: Use a packing app to create a checklist for each family member. There are several to choose from, and that way, you always have your must-need packing items at the palm of your hand. More old school? Paper and pencil work great, too. Sticky notes are especially helpful for remembering those last-minute items.


Snacks for the Win


Hunger is the arch-nemesis of happy travels, especially with kids. Save yourself from overpriced and limited food options at rest stops or airports. Plan ahead and pack a variety of snacks in easy-to-reach places. Snacks are the last thing you want to be fumbling around for when your toddler is starting to be hangry. If you're on a road trip, keep things cool by freezing juice pouches or water bottles the night before so they can double as ice packs.


Tech Tip: If you're road-tripping, use a navigation app that shows nearby grocery stores or fast food options. This way, you can plan ahead, restocking your cooler with fresh goodies, and giving everyone a stretch break.




Family Travel Hacks on the Go

Entertainment Extravaganza


Whether you're a kid or an adult, nobody likes to be bored. Pack a bag with kid-friendly options for little ones, like coloring books or educational electronics. Items like the VTech Baby Click & Count Remote and the LeapFrog Chat & Count Emoji Phone are easy for babies to grasp in their hands. My littlest traveling companion loves the colors, lights, and sounds of these products. Another VTech product I love for road trips is the I See Me Lion Mirror. With its songs and phrases, it encourages her to work on her language skills and babble back. Plus, you can interact with your rear-facing children from the front seat with the mirror!



For the kids that are a little older, we love the Mr. Pencil's Scribble Write & Read from LeapFrog. Intended for beginner readers ages 3 and above, kids can practice their letter writing and sounding out words. The electronic stylus means that kids can practice over and over again and no pencils go rolling under car seats. The LeapFrog LeapReader Learn-to-Read 10-Book Mega Pack is the perfect option for kids in the 4- to 8-year-old range. This system offers interactive reading that will advance with your growing reader.



It's also great to include a few things that are new to help keep kids busy while traveling. Sometimes just the novelty of an item will greatly increase the amount of time your traveling companions will be captivated, aka. quiet.


Tech Tip: Load up your tablets with educational apps and games. And don't forget to pack headphones for everyone's sanity. Also, remember that many VTech toys have a volume control slider on them for easy sound adjustment.


Power Play


Speaking of electronics, you'll need to keep everything powered up. Before you leave, make sure you have the charging cord, or the needed extra batteries, for everything. Consider getting a power bank that can charge multiple devices at the same time. Label each family member's charger with a different color or sticker to keep everything organized while traveling and at your final destination.


Tech Tip: Make sure you pay special attention to which electronics need cords, and which need batteries. For example, we love the LeapFrog LeapStart Learning Success Bundle for young readers because it's all self-contained in a carrying case that's perfect for traveling! This system takes two AA batteries. However, the LeapFrog LeapReader uses a rechargeable stylus.




Hacks for your Arrival

Create an Essentials Bag


If you're planning a long road trip, streamline your luggage by packing an essentials bag. Include toothbrushes, pajamas, and any bedtime favorites. This way, you won't need to unpack the entire car for a quick pit stop. Likewise, when flying to a destination it's good to pack a small carry-on with things that could get you through if your luggage didn't make it to the airport at the same time as you do... we've all been there.


Tech Tip: Do you or your little ones have trouble sleeping while you're traveling? Consider using a white noise app or a relaxing playlist to create a familiar bedtime atmosphere.


Capture the Memories


This might be the favorite of my family travel hacks! Being in the moment is important, but don't be so in the moment that you forget to capture all the fun memories you're making! Luckily, VTech makes some great products that can let your kids get in on the fun also!



The KidiZoom Smartwatch DX3 from VTech is perfect for kids as young as four. It's sturdy enough for little travelers and gives them the ability to easily snap pictures while they're exploring. My kids have loved capturing moments with us for several years--lots of laughs and memories have been had! Besides that, there are also fun games and other activities included to help keep kids entertained. Did I mention it's water-resistant too?



For slightly older kids, the VTech KidiZoom Creator Cam is a ton of fun. This is a high-definition video camera that comes with a tabletop tripod that's perfect for all those vacation memories. It even comes with a green screen and all the editing can happen on the camera itself. This makes it incredibly easy for your kids to use and create epic home videos all by themselves!


Tech Tip: Nothing can ruin a great picture more easily than a dirty lens. Give your lens a quick swipe with a cleaning cloth or simply your soft shirt before snapping a photo.


What is your favorite family travel hack? Which of these tech tips will you be trying out on your next family adventure?






Author Bio:



Justine Young is the proud owner and content creator of Little Dove, a motherhood and family travel blog. With seven kids causing chaos in the background she navigates motherhood and blogging while constantly planning their next adventure. She has been blogging for over 13 years and her work has been featured in POPSUGAR, Fox 40 Sacramento, and Visit Sacramento Magazine. Justine and her family of nine call northern California their homebase as they explore one national park at a time.




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