Family vacations to the coast can make some of the best memories and scrapbook moments you’ll ever have. Once you get your Sweet Home rental your kids will love picking out their room, running to the beach in front of your home, and roasting smores after a day of exploring. What might not make the cut in the scrapbook pages or Instagram stories are the classic ‘are we there yet?’ moments. Whether you’re driving or flying to the coast, it can be tricky to occupy young kids and keep them happy and peaceful. Our goal at Sweet Homes is to help you stay relaxed, so we want to do what we can to make the journey just as relaxing as the destination. We’ve gathered some tips and tricks below to help you make the trip Instagram worthy, and you can check out our Pinterest board linked at the end for even more travel inspiration.  

Bring a treasure chest! 

If your kids respond well to positive affirmations and rewards, this may be a game-changer for your road trip! Grab a cooler or any storage box and fill it with games, toys, snacks, and other rewards, you can even let your kids pick a couple of items to include. Explain to your kids that they get to pick out one item from the chest every time you stop if they’ve been good. Each time you stop for gas, a bathroom break, to stretch your legs, they’ll be excited to pick something out of the treasure chest to keep them occupied until your next stop. Bonus points if you decorate the chest! Maybe even do it with your kids as a pre-vacation activity? 

Make DIY craft boxes

These DIY boxes are great if you’re traveling on a plane or a car; they are clean, compact, and can be totally customized with things you have around the house to make them perfect for your child or children’s interests. One of the easiest craft boxes to make is a coloring box! All you need is a plastic pencil box, string or yarn, markers or colored pencils, tape, and paper. Tie or tape a piece of string or yarn to each pencil and tape it to the inside of your pencil box, then cut your paper to fit in the box and you’re done! This is a great way to let your kids color while keeping everything contained. You can also add printed coloring pages and make other variations like magnet boxes, sensory boxes, lego boxes, and more.  

Download fun apps and cool TV & movies

Movies and games are a classic go-to to occupy kids if you’re comfortable with giving your kids screentime in the car or on the plane. If you can, grab a kid-friendly case for your phone or tablet, it makes it easier for small hands to keep hold of and limits the risk of dropping your tech and losing it under a seat. Before you leave wifi, be sure you download games, movies, or shows that don’t need internet access. Consider downloading age-appropriate themed content like “90’s movies; Hitchcock films; all the Avengers films; retro classic TV, etc. Don’t forget to grab a portable charger, just in case! 

Don’t forget the snacks!

If you’re road-tripping, your kids may want to snack more than you want to stop and eat, or they may get hungry on a stretch of road without any good food options. If you’re traveling by air, snacks can be expensive and if you have any dietary restrictions or preferences, it may be hard to find food you can give your kids. One of the best tips we’ve heard regarding snacks is to pack them in a an interesting container with several different sections — like a bento, tackle, or craft box! This way you can portion control snacks, you don’t have wrappers floating around your seat or car, and everything is contained in one place.  

Be prepared

This is less for the kids and more for your sanity as a parent! We’ve heard some awesome road and air travel tips from parents so we thought we should pass them along. 

  • Create a ‘motion sickness bag’, a ziplock bag with plastic or paper bags in case of nausea, kids medicine for motion sickness, wipes, and anything else you might want easy access to in case anyone gets sick or has a spill that needs to be cleaned-up quickly and easily. 
  • Pack a separate, easy-access bag with extra emergency diapers, underwear, and clothes so you don’t have to unpack an entire bag to get to what you need. Include a garbage bag for soiled clothes to keep them separate. 
  • If you’re traveling by plane, print your kids a fake boarding pass so they can feel in charge of their own things and you don’t have to worry about them losing or ripping them (maybe print extra copies in case they do!). 
  • Make a travel first aid kit. Instead of packing all your home medicines in a bulky bag, head to the store and grab some travel-sized medicine, bandaids, etc. These can all go in a small cosmetic bag that’s easy to travel with and it will be cheaper to have them with you already than buying overpriced baby aspirin at the airport or roadside convenience store. 

Be sure to visit our “Travel Tips” Pinterest board below to find more travel and packing tips for your next getaway. We hope to see you on the coast soon…happy trails!