When you’re a millennial parent with young kids and a stroller in tow, sometimes even a nearby trip to the neighbourhood mall is a daunting experience, especially when everything needs to look picture-perfect on social media. Not to mention taking a family holiday, which can often result in a quite few unwanted detours. Think packing for three kids and yourself in one fashionable carry-on. Or having your flights delayed with kids that are clamouring to watch their favourite cartoons on iPads.
Reduce the road bumps and stressors with these five travel packing hacks that we’ve put together to make your trip as seamless as it can get.
Parenting Hack #1: Harness technology to create your packing list
While traditionally most parents would create hand-written packing lists, with millennial parents, technology makes all the difference. For those always on the go, enter smart apps like Evernote that help to streamline lists by centralising information within the same note. Jumping from a winter alpine skiing trip in Osaka to a family resort in Bali? Don’t fret as checklists can be easily modified and adapted for a variety of holidays so you don’t sweat the small stuff. For technological junkies, use Evernote to catalogue and track all your gadgets, from chargers and cords to travel adapters.
According to a 2014 Millennial Mum Report, millennial mums spend over eight hours per trip a week online looking for parenting tips and advice. If you’re not one of those into making lists and checking items off, try Polyvore, where you can easily mix and match outfits for a stylish day out with your little travellers.
Parenting Hack #2: Make your hotel feel like home
Home sick while on holiday? You’re definitely not alone. Research has found that 31% of sun-seekers miss home, friends and family while overseas and that day eight of a typical two-week trip marks the point when travellers first start to look forward to returning home.
Transform your hotel room into a home away from home with scent, sound and bedtime essentials, to combat feelings of displacement in another time zone or with the inevitable onset of jet lag. Scents are one of the strongest and more compelling triggers for emotions, memories and places. Take along travel-friendly scented candles that help to create a more homely and tranquil environment to come back to after a tiring day out. Another idea is to re-create your bedtime routine by bringing pillows, books and special stuffed toys to bring the essence of home to more nostalgic kids.
If music is important to you, consider bringing the family’s favourite music soundtracks and tunes. Most hotels designed with family travel in mind like Holiday Inn®, offer a soothing retreat from outdoor exploration with in-room sound systems that will definitely go a long way in putting your little one to bed. Or turn sleep time into adventure time with Holiday Inn®’s brightly-themed KidsSuites® that take kids on an immersive voyage to sweet dreams.
Photo Source: Holiday Inn®
As sleeping in unfamiliar places can make children uneasy, another option for consideration is to pack a small night light that can ease your little ones’ anxieties of being in a new place, giving both you and your child a good night’s sleep in preparation for the next day’s escapade.
Parenting Hack #3: Let children pack their own travel bags
If you’re a millennial parent, you’ll probably espouse independent learning, appreciating that vacations are an important space to nurture kids’ creativity and growth through hands-on exposure. Raise worldly travellers by empowering your little ones to learn how to pack their travel bags.
Give your little travellers a simple checklist with some basic essentials like toothbrushes and soft toys, and then turn this into a mini-adventure by giving them almost free reign to embrace and personalise the packing routine with little nuances of their own. Not only will this pique your little ones’ curiosity about the travel packing process, it will also give them a real sense of control and ownership over what they choose to bring.
Go through the checklist once they are done to help them see what they might have missed out and voila, you’re all set to go!
Parenting Hack #4: Store essentials in a single-day pack
Convenience is king to millennial parents who are always on the go, move fast and enjoy spontaneity. If you identify with these, fuss-free, convenient family travel is probably of paramount importance to you. Pack like a pro by making use of easily accessible carry-on pouches to group similar items such as medicines, technology gadgets and cables, and essential travel documents, so you’re ready for a plug-and-play vacation. Don’t forget to utilise plastic zipper bags to water-proof and protect key items so they stay dry.
Parenting Hack #5: Have a creative plan of attack for plane travel
Flying at over 500,000 feet with young children is no mean feat and while traveling is a joyous experience, kids who fuss on-board might just turn your dreams of tropical utopia into your worst nightmare.
To avoid this, keep an arsenal of nifty items to pack in your travel luggage such as stuffed toys, a repertoire of playlists, videos and games on a portable DVD or iPad, which can help soothe a fussy child. Before you board, ensure that you download kid-friendly apps, games or puzzles for convenient access during your flight. Don’t release everything at once so you have a constant stock of surprises on-hand to distract your little travellers and alleviate their moods.
Or use the time to get creative with your little ones by taking along empty notebooks and colour pencils and encouraging first-time fliers to document their travel experiences and reignite the wonder of flying.
With these effective hacks, you’re definitely on track to say yes to adventure and hit the road hassle-free!