Whether flying or driving, there are some tips in today’s post you will find very helpful!
1 .TSA Pre-board
If you are flying this summer getting a TSA PREHCECK beforehand may be a wise move. After seeing the nightmare airport security lines on the news, my mom insisted I go get this TSA security approval before our trip to Orlando later this month (I am flying by myself with three children so definitely don’t want to wait in line two hours!).
Fill out the questionnaire online and make an appointment online for your interview. (They accept walk-ins but you have to wait a long time!) The interview is short but you must bring your passport or a birth certificate. The cost is $85 and is good for five years. It’s supposed to take up to 30 days to arrive in the mail but within a few days I got my TSA number via email. Once you have that go online and add it to your flight information with your airline. You will be so glad you did come travel day!
2. Get a WiFi SD Card
A little insider blogging tip that I think will be great for families who are traveling: if your digital camera doesn’t have wifi, buy this EyeFi Card and you can easily upload your digital camera photos to your phone for easy sharing. Just download the app and setup is easy!
3. Download audio books
Audio books are a great time-passer and not as much of a brain drain as movies and iPad games (which we do, too, don’t worry!). You might not think your child will enjoy an audio book but just try it. Children especially like it when they get to use mom’s iPhone or iPad with the earbuds. (A lot of my friends let their children listen to audio books on an iPod for their quiet time once they outgrow their naps.)
You can reserve audiobooks at your local library or Audible is a great Amazon resource with so many books for adults and children. If you join, you get one free book a month and discounted rates to many other audio books. For younger children, try Winnie the Pooh with Judi Dench, Paddington, or Peter Rabbit. For older children, The Chronicles of Narnia, Ramona, or Peter Pan.
I also find that movies in the car prevent my children from going to sleep but audio books sometimes do the trick – ha!
4. Create an instagram account just for vacation
If you are really bad at making photo albums like I am, consider creating an Instagram account just for your summer travels and then at the end of the summer you can make a chatbook in about 5 minutes – and won’t annoy your friends with oversharing.
5. Rent a camera lens
I didn’t know this until recently but you can rent lenses at your local camera shop if you want those uber professional shots on vacation. I wanted a wide/landscape lens for our recent beach trip (have to get those good shots for the blog!) and was able to rent a very expensive lens at Wolf Camera for $90. A wide-angle lens is great if you want full-length shots of your children with the mountains/scenery/landmark in the background. There are also several online companies that rent lenses. (Comment below if you have used any!)
5. Bring activities for travel day
If you have a baby, obviously bring his/her favorite toys, and more. I also like to bring my daughters’ sketchbooks on vacation. Great activity for the airplane or when they start getting restless at a restaurant. Have them draw what they see – the skyline while on the airplane, the tacky painting on the wall at dinner, cows on a road trip, etc. Be sure to date and label their drawings – it’s fun to look back at all the things my daughters have seen and drawn. P.S. I carry this Well Bowed case with colored pencils everywhere I go and they make great gifts:
Here are some more fun family activities for travel, including some great car games and nature and travel journals:
6. Extra phone battery
Funny how chargers disappear on vacation. Definitely bring extra wall chargers but consider getting a portable battery charger like this this Mophie I have in my Father’s Day Gift Guide for when you are out and about and don’t have an outlet.
7. Buy floats, sunscreens, other things you will need beforehand
If you have the room, it’s nice to not spend time during precious vacation hours buying these things. Lots linked below:
Don’t forget my sunscreen review post from a few weeks ago!
7. You can’t ever have enough snacks!
Why does it seem like my children are always ravenous when we are traveling? Always pack twice as many snacks as you think you need when driving or flying with children! We totally like the “As seen on tv” Snackeez for car trips. Or I pack snacks in the snack-size ziploc bags so handing off is easy.
And also an extra pair of clothes for everyone easily accessible. And paper towels. Because you just never know…
Browse all of the products mentioned in the Summer Essentials shop tab.
Ice Cream Float c/o Saint Bernard