If you're traveling to your next family cruise by car or plane, here's a great way to banish the "are we there yet?" travel blues. To eliminate frayed nerves on your trip, pack a special travel backpack for your kids. These travel backpacks make family travel so much easier and they will soon become a favorite part of your family's vacation memories.
Essentially the equivalent of a travel goodie bag, travel backpacks are essential for enjoying a long car or plane trip with pre-schoolers or school age kids. They also provide great diversions during cruise embarkation and debarkation waits. If your family is traveling to your cruise by plane, the people seated around you will bless you for your foresight as your kids happily read, color and play. Kids delight in opening the bag to see what's there, so it's generally wise to save the bags until the last minute before traveling.
For the bag itself, generally an old book bag, tote bag or backpack works best. The length of the trip may end up determining the appropriate size. If you are traveling by plane, try to use something that closes tightly to avoid spills. The bags can be used again each time you travel or take a cruise with your kids.
Make sure you have a separate bag for each child to avoid arguments. You might want to consider labeling items with the child's name. Fill bags with the same items if your children are near in age or have similar interests. Some suggestions for items might include a spiral notebook, colored pencils, small story books, activity books, comic books, magnetic games, card games, travel-size board games, hand held electronic games, sticker books, non-melting crayons, coloring books, Mad-Libs, kid-friendly magazines, magnifying glass, paper dolls, magic slates, Post-It notepads, invisible ink books, small cars, finger puppets, small dolls/ action figures, felt books with stick-ons, blunt scissors, sewing cards, puzzles, pipe cleaners, a Slinky, Colorforms, and origami paper. Depending on their child’s age and budget, some parents also include personal DVD players, MP3 players, electronic games and other entertainment devices. There's no need to spend a lot of money on stuffing your travel goodie bags, though. Sometimes the simplest items provide the most fun.
While many parents like to save their children's travel backpacks until departure, others like to have their children choose their favorite toys to place in their travel backpack along with the new items. If your kids will be viewing the bag before departure, you may want to wrap the new items so they can't see them. Don't forget to pack your child's security items such as a blanket or stuffed animal. That could easily spell disaster.
In addition, you might want to include snacks to tide your children over between meals. This is particularly true if you're traveling to your cruise by plane, since food and beverage service can be late and flights may be delayed. Choose snacks carefully to avoid messes. Avoid sugary snacks, sticky fruits and drinks that you cannot re-close. Pack snacks in zipper bags for easy clean-up. Some travel-safe snacks are: fruit rolls, animal crackers, raisins, sliced apples, grapes, carrot sticks, bananas, and small bags of cereal.
Over time, the key to packing a great travel backpack is keeping your eye out for new items to add to the bag. The Dollar Store, discount stores, and clearance sales can be good sources. Keep a toy or two in your own bag to surprise children with in moments of crisis.
Travel backpacks can be lifesavers on family trips. Once you get in the habit of traveling with travel backpacks for your kids, you'll wonder what you ever did without them. If this tip works for you, pass the idea along to your friends. This is definitely one travel secret that should be let out of the bag.
For more tips on traveling with kids, visit the Family Travel Network at www.familytravelnetwork.com..