....I wanted to add some traveling tips for several reasons....
Traveling with your red heads CAN be a lot of fun! It can also be very stressful and a negative experience if not planned out well.
A little creativity and planning ahead can help make it more enjoyable for the adults and the kids. These traveling tips might just help.....!
We traveled A LOT with our redheads over the years, overseas and in the US, in different ways -- airplanes, trains, bus, van, RV, car, motorcycle...
One of my pet peeves is adults who don’t bring along something for the kids TO DO when traveling or having to wait somewhere. I often see bored fidgety kids who are stuck waiting at an airport, depot, waiting room, church, or even at relatives’ homes with nothing to keep them occupied.
Usually the kids (and teens) get antsy and in trouble because they are BORED STIFF with nothing fun to occupy them. Then the grownups get angry when the kids do something wrong or are noisy and it just gets stressful for everyone.
ADULTS and PARENTS: Please bring something along they enjoy to help pass the time. It will save a lot of grief for everyone!
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WHAT HELPED US? Our red heads had little suitcases their grandma had given them, each a different color. They used them all the time for longer special trips like LONG airplane rides and it was filled with special prizes. They also had their own backpacks for other trips. A great traveling tip is to look for colorful luggage designed specifically for kids or teens, their size, with their favorite cartoon or Disney characters or teen idol on them (such as "Disney by Heys")
You can be creative, depending on their age and what you need to bring. They'd put in their favorite doll, doll bed, blankets, puppets, music, and security 'item', etc. If they're old enough let them help and be part of the planning. You can even do this with your TEENs and TWEENs so they have their 'necessities' so they aren't bored. My "Trip Checklist" page might be helpful as well so you don't forget anything!
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LONG TRIPS: We had several long bus rides and then overseas flights (12 hours) with our red heads. Then there was waiting at airports on top of that.
To make the time go quicker was a challenge, especially if you are the only adult with them! I picked up a few traveling tips that might help you as well.....
They brought on board the plane little suitcases (or backpacks) that had their favorite things and a security blanket or toy item (games, iPod, etc. for Teens/tweens).
What REALLY helped? Inside their suitcases / backpack some little wrapped ‘prizes’ they could open every ½ hour or hour, but not before. They loved it! (Can even work for teens/tweens if you get creative)
WHAT did I wrap for 'prizes'? They were just small inexpensive things you’d find at stores like (for young kids):
-- Little action figures
-- Small doll or soft toy
-- Small book, drawing or activity booklet
-- Little puzzles without loose parts
-- Tiny card games
-- Colorful pipe cleaners
-- Colorful string/yarn for string games
-- Tiny flashlights or binoculars
-- Tiny craft kits (friendship bracelets, origami,...)
-- Little cars or trucks
-- Sock puppets or small soft puppets
-- Tiny food snacks, crackers or candy, etc.
-- Cheap throwaway camera to take own photos
-- Tiny pencil and pad set to draw or color
-- New music CD/cassette for headphones or similar
.......Stuff under $1 or maybe a bit more...Things from the big discount stores, dollar stores....(be creative!)
By the time they napped, ate meals, listened to music or watched the movie (if appropriate!), and opened their ‘prizes’, the flight or bus ride was about over. This traveling tip alone saved a lot of headaches!
TRAVELING TIPS FOR THE CAR:
- For younger kids, use the proper car seat for their age and size, being sure of proper installation.
- Small travel pillow can find at Wal-Mart or similar place
- Kleenex box and/or moist wipes for face/hand cleanup
- Small trash bin/sack/box to keep things neat
- When the car is moving, keep the doors locked.
- Might invest in small portable Travel John and Travel John Jr. disposal urinal bags (for boys/girls). They've worked well for adults/kids in our family when you can't find a restroom or a clean one and can be disposed of easily. (see traveljohn.com and traveljohnjr.com)! A real lifesaver...
- Never let the kids play with car controls ever.
- Never leave the kids alone in the car when you stop to get gas or run into a store...even if a few minutes!
- Help pass time by singing songs, games. Stuck for ideas?
CLICK HERE for CAR GAMES and activities ideas
- Do travel games to spot things like specific car colors, out-of-state license plates, read signs, make funny phrases from license plates. (remember old “Love Bug” game with VWs???)
- Bring a FIRST AID KIT in the car
TRAVELING TIPS FOR HOTELS:
-- Avoid BEDBUGS !! These little parasitic bugs are now causing major problems for travelers, especially in hotels, motels, dorms, on cruises, clinics, and homes. Did you know that single female bedbug can make into your home and multiply to 30,000 in 6 months?! AAck! Adult bedbugs are reddish brown and younger ones almost clear. This great traveling tip by Adam Greenberg (president of online retailier USBedbugs.com), you can protect your household when traveling by:
(Source: familycircle.com, Sept.2011)
- Research hotels before you confirm reservations. Tripadvisor.com and Bedbugregistry.com are good info sources.
- Print a photo of a bedbug to keep in your bag when traveling so you know what to look for.
- Pack a portable LED flashlight, magnifying glass or camera with a good zoom function to inspect your room at check-in.
- Search between the mattress and box spring, behind the headboard and under the nightstand drawer. Bedbugs hid, so you may only see the black spots they leave behind (look like mold spots).
- Bring a variety of zipper-top plastic bags and store your stuff inside when not in use.
- Search home mattresses for bedbugs every time you change the sheets.
- Check out websites that offer mattress covers/cases to carry with you in your suitcase that you can cover hotel mattresses with. Do a Google search "bed bug mattress covers" and for covers recommended by pest control professionals and hotels worldwide
OTHER GENERAL TRAVELING TIPS:
- Bring your doctor’s phone numbers plus insurance cards
- Have snacks and other toys available
- Let them bring a security object like favorite blanket, soft toy, etc.
- Allow plenty of time to get to your destination. Take time to stretch and go potty, etc., if possible
- If bring headphones for DVD or favorite music, keep volume levels low to protect ears
- Don’t overschedule activities. Take time to sleep and eat and just goof off
- Don't forget SUNCSCREEN for outdoor activities. (Visit my Sunburn Page for tips.)
- Stay away from a lot of junk food and sugar so don’t get sugar high and bounce off the walls! It's a traveling tip that might be tough to follow on vacation but give it a try...
- Temporary tattoos for kids are also a GREAT idea. They can be applied and removed easily, with your contact information preprinted or put on yourself last minute. If your child temporarily gets lost for a minute, wanders off, has special needs of any type (autism, Down syndrome, deaf), has any food allergies or environmental allergies, or just 'in case of emergency'.... SafetyTat has been recommended in the major parenting magazines and are pictured below (They also have TweenTats for the older kids on their website.) Invented by a mom, and boy I wish we had this product years ago.
I hope to add more traveling tips down the road....If you'd like to share your ideas or stories, let me know!!
Go to "Car Games"
Go to "First Aid Kit"
Go to "Learn CPR" page
Go to "Trip Checklist" page
Go to "Redhead Events"
Go to "Child Safety Tips" main page