01/04/2015 10:32 EST | Updated 03/06/2015 05:59 EST

Top 10 Survival Tips for Travelling with Kids

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Family trips are the stuff childhood memories are made of but it's not always easy travelling with young children. The following are the top 10 survival tips you'll need when travelling with kids.


1. Scope out your destination. Your needs for packing will vary if you're visiting a family member, staying in a hotel or vacationing at a resort.

2. Map out what your family plans on doing over the course of the stay then finalize clothes and accessories accordingly. If there's a chance you might have dinner plans or dressing formally is important, plan out your outfits and accessories for this. Depending on the age of your children, you can ask them to pick out their own clothes, or they can help you fold and put your things in your luggage/bags.

3. Pets. If you plan on being away for a few days and Whiskers isn't coming with you be sure to make arrangements well in advance so as to not inconvenience friends/family at the last minute.

4. Ask your children to pick two to five toys each. A general rule is 1.5 toys per day away, rounding up. This helps keep them entertained and limits their chance of getting bored of the same toys.

5. Opt to limit electronic toys. A pack of cards, colouring books, mazes, word search games and some board games are great alternative. Pack a portable DVD player or tablet for the children to watch a movie which will allow you to get some down time.

6. Juice boxes and snack packs are always a great idea to keep on hand. They can be packed in large zippered storage bags to save space and are great to grab on the go or in between meals if you're staying in a hotel.

7. Many hotels have kid packs or activity kits with books, crayons, or toys. No harm in asking.

8. If staying at a hotel, as a courtesy to other guests, you may consider choosing quieter meal times. A good rule of thumb is to avoid 9-10 a.m., 12-1 p.m. or 6-8 p.m. Err on the earlier side. This allows you to have your meal in relative peace without offending fellow diners if your child decides to play super-heroes and fly around the dessert table.

9. You know those hand held games you probably played with as a child where you need to get a small metal ball into a maze? They're still around and easy to find at your local dollar store. Keep one or two in your bag to pass to the kids if you're waiting in a long line or waiting around. They provide a great alternative to the much in demand cellphone.

10. Last but not least: list. Lists, lists, and lists. You can never have too many. Depending on how you work best, either keep a running list on your smartphone or on a notepad that you keep handy. As you remember things in the days leading up to your trip, jot them down. This helps avoid the "grrrr, we forgot our bathing suits," moments.

What tips do you use when planning a family trip/vacation?

This post was originally published on, an online parenting and lifestyle magazine celebrating Canadian diversity.

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