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Packing for and Traveling with Kids

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Packing for and Traveling with Kids

by Lorry Patton

Question: My family (myself, husband, six year old son, and one year old daughter, and two small dogs) live in Guam. We are moving to Cheyenne, Wyoming the first of July. We will be flying to California and are planning a visit to Disneyland and Sea World for a few days. While we are in California we will also be picking up our car that will be shipped there ahead of time. After our stay in California we will be driving on to Wyoming.

I am looking for tips on how to keep the kids occupied and happy during the long flight and drive. Especially for our one year old. Kids that age have a hard time sitting still and quiet for such a long time and being cooped up in a plane can be miserable. What types of things should I pack and what could make the entire trip fun for all of us?

Answer: When flying with small children, the best seats to reserve is at the bulkhead. That's the first row of seats in the plane (in economy). You will be facing a wall, however, there is more leg room here and most airlines will provide a bassinet that hooks on to the wall. If you have flight time options choose night flights. The children are more likely to fall asleep. You are right. Long flights are boring. All of you need to get up and stretch often.

If your little one doesn't use a Soother, bring something for her to suck on in case the air pressure in the plane affects her ears. Your son can chew gum. It is very dry in a plane, so have lotion handy for your hands and theirs. Present new toys at intervals with a focus on your upcoming adventure, such as coloring books of Mickey and Minnie and a Viewmaster with slides of Sea World and Disneyworld for your son; stuffed whales, talking Mickey or Minnie dolls, and a familiar pillow or blanket for your daughter. Buy a cheap camera for your son. He will enjoy taking pictures. Don't worry about the composition or whether they are in cards.

Both children could listen through headphones to cassette tapes of bird and whale sounds or stories from their favorite TV personality. If you're unable to get some of these articles in Guam, try the internet or Sears Catalogue. Have snacks handy like animal crackers and dried fruit and juices.

In the car, try to get car seats with activity trays. While the little one is busy building blocks, etc, your son can be counting trucks on the highway or playing " I Spy" with you. Stick to major freeways since they have lots of rest areas. Stop at every one for a stretch and the bathroom. The entire family can keep a picture diary of the trip.

Save ticket stubs, brochures, leaves, napkins and paper placemats from restaurants to paste in your scrapbook. Your son can take it to Show and Tell in his new school. Pack light with comfy loose clothing, a first-aid kit and lots of snacks and toys. Bring handy wipes to clean hands and tissues for runny noses. I imagine your dogs will be held in quarantine.