Carrie Maldonado – Author

I write books and blogs to inspire, encourage, and entertain!

Life hacks for vacationing with small children

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a sucker for a good life hack. Last Easter I became positively giddy with my egg-painting hack (I still think it’s awesome, so email me if you want to know what it is). When Dreamy and I decided very spur of the moment to inflict ourselves, Bisky, Frick, and Frack on my unsuspecting sister and her family, I thought I’d have a ton of great hacks to share. After all, we were taking two two-year-olds and a four-year-old for a two-hour drive, two-hour ferry ride, followed by another two-hour drive to a new environment. With cats. Surely I would be inspired with Pinterest-worthy time and life savers.

Not so much. On the plus side, everyone survived, even the cats. We also seem to have reached a turning point with #NoBen in terms of driving now, where he doesn’t immediately start screaming as soon as he gets in a car. In fact, I would have to say this was probably the best family trip we’ve ever had. My sister’s house is perfect for visiting! They have a huge yard, with a trampoline (and more important, a fence) and they live in a beautiful town with a lot of fun things for the kids to do.

So the lack of problems, although awesome, negated the need to develop hacks. My only true travel hack remains my power strip trick, which is basically bring a power strip so you can charge all your devices and I don’t know if that counts as a hack. However, I do have the following observations – make of them what you will:

  • No matter what your four-year-old says, and how authoritatively she says it, double check her packing. We arrived at Campbell River with a suitcase full of underwear and t-shirts for Bisky, but no shorts that she wanted to wear.
  • If you’re going to a beach, any beach, for any length of time, bring floatation devices. Even if you’re just going to take pictures because your four-going-on-thirteen-year-old refuses to go to the beach because it’s not the water park. Failure to be adequately prepared for the beach will result in unnecessary whining.
  • If your kid wants to see if they can fit through the cat door, just say no. Even if you’ve always wanted to go through the cat door yourself and you don’t see the harm – there is harm. Like #NoBen sneaking out of bed, out the catdoor up the patio and pounding on the door to be let in when no one even knows he’s missing.
  • If you have a pool table and 2-year-old twin nephews, hide the balls. (Sorry Amy and Paul).
  • Pack medicine because someone will get sick the minute you leave your house and they will make you sick just because they can.
  • Leashes for twins – required for safety reasons like keeping them from falling overboard.

If you truly want to be awesome guests and invited back, consider the following tips as well (we didn’t do these things but TOTALLY should have).

  • Offer to pay for your hosts to board their pets while you are there. Yes, it’s more humane to save the animal from harassment, but it will also delay the inevitable begging for a pet that will now follow.
  • Stock up on crap food and make sure to tell your hosts not to waste the good stuff on your kids. They won’t eat it anyway.
  • Don’t plan to actually relax….there is time for relaxing when they are grown up. Vacationing with kids is all about keeping the kids alive and keeping your hosts’ possessions from complete destruction.

All in all, the best trip ever. Evidenced by all the weeping and gnashing when it was time to leave…sorry Bisky…we can’t live in Aunty Amy’s basement forever, but I agree it would be great.

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Author: Carrie Maldonado

Carrie Maldonado, is an organizational development consultant, author, and speaker. Carrie's eclectic mix of professional interests include writing, speaking, coaching, and consulting on topics ranging from organizational behavior management to spiritual transformation in and out of the workplace. Carrie lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her patient and long-suffering husband and their three children.

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