If you’ve been following this blog a while, you know that our family loves to travel. Whether it’s hopping on a bicycle for an adventure, or travelling all over Canada and the US in an RV, I know I’m happiest when I’m discovering the world with my husband and children.
For different types of travel, there are different types of essentials. The main thing to remember is that you usually need a lot fewer essentials than you think you do. Here are 10 essentials for travelling with kids.
Whether you choose paper books on an eReader, keeping children entertained on long rides usually keeps the adults happy, too. During our RV adventure, I read many classics to my kids, and we had fun sharing this experience. We read Charlotte’s Web, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Anne of Green Gables and more, as well as lots of books for younger children. We kept a large Costco bag full of books, and when we went to libraries, we donated a few and bought “new to us” books to read on the road.
2. Water bottle for each kid
While you can certainly share a water bottle between all of you (and many people do), it’s more hygienic for each kid to have their own water bottle. That way, if one of them gets sick, at least you’re doing your best to avoid the spread of the virus. Living in an enclosed space means you might still get it any way, but not sharing items would help to avoid it as best you can. Be sure to buy spill-proof bottles.
3. 1 weeks’ worth of clothes for trips of 1 week or longer
If you’re going away for more than a week, you don’t need to bring more than a week’s worth of clothing. Most places you’ll visit will have an option for washing clothes, so all you need to do is find a place to do laundry once a week. Packing this light saves space, and if you’re travelling by bicycle on in a smaller RV, space-saving is pretty important.
4. Writing materials
Kids love to doodle, so bring a notebook per kid and writing utensils to share. Alternatively, we also had “boogie boards.” Kids keep entertained for hours, and you don’t make as much garbabe/don’t need to find a place for all their drawings.
5. First Aid Kit
Whether you’re going away for a few days or a few months, it’s always a good idea to have a well-stocked first aid kit with you. Be sure to replace any items you use so it always remains well stocked.
6. Safety Bracelets
Safety bracelets from Road iD gave us peace of mind as we travelled all over the place. We watch our kids closely, but if you’re a parent, you know that 24/7 watching isn’t possible, and that bad things can happen in the blink of an eye.
Getting separated at large events/places is always a concern, so we got Road iDs for the whole family. Our kid’s Road IDs have our phone numbers on them, so if anything should happen, they can show someone the bracelet and have them call us. My bracelet has Dan’s number and his has mine.
7. Day backpacks
Each of our kids carries a “day backpack” with a change of clothes and their water bottles. This covers us for any washroom or spill accidents that might happen.
GPS devices are awesome, and your phone can get you anywhere these days, but it’s always good to have paper maps on hand for two reasons: If the GPS or phone should fail for any reason, you have a fall back, and maps are also great tools to teach your children about the places you visit, how you’ll get there, and more.
If you’re homeschooling, you can make a huge cross-curricular unit using maps: math will help you figure out how long it’ll take to get somewhere, geography will teach you where things are located, kids can practice their writing by noting down directions, and the list goes on.
9. Camera or camera-equipped cell phone
While this isn’t absolutely necessary, you’ll want to capture the memories you’re making during your adventures. I was thrilled to be able to take plenty of photos to remember our adventures by. Just don’t become a slave to your device and forget to enjoy the moment.
10. Rain gear
Again, not absolutely necessary, but your kids will be a lot less miserable on rainy days if they have a way to enjoy the puddles without getting completely soaked. At the bare minimum, try to bring along rain boots and a jacket.
These are the essentials we feel we need to bring on each of our adventures with kids. There are probably more I’m forgetting. What are your essentials for travelling with kids? Let me know in the comments!