5 Summer Travel Tips for the Stressed Mom


It is officially Summer, and like most moms with school-age children, I get super stressed thinking of what the next few weeks will look like. Our kids work hard all year long and summer is the time for them to relax, travel, unwind and just be a kid.

For us moms, however, it means planning off-screen activities, preparing extra meals/snacks, and for my family, much-anticipated summer travel. We have 3 birthdays and Father’s Day all around the same time so we try to save our money and combine all of the celebrations into a small summer vacation. Through trial and error and near mental breakdowns, I have tried to come up with a system for myself to ease the stress of packing up for a family of 6 (plus 2 dogs). summer travel

I am definitely a planner and not much of a “wing it” type mom when it comes to traveling with kids and pets. I like to prepare for the every possible scenario even if it means overpacking.

But with a new addition to the family, in the form of a 4-month-old baby, car space is limited and I have to be more practical in what gets packed and what we can live without. This also means that our vacations are usually driving distance, as I don’t think I’m ready to tackle an airplane ride with 4 little ones. So if you’re hitting the road this summer with your family, here are a few tips that have worked for me:

Top Summer Travel Tips

  1. Finding suitable accommodations: Whether you’ll be staying at a hotel or an AirBnB, make sure it will be someplace that works for your family. Making sure places are kid and pet-friendly are musts for us. It’s always nice to see which amenities are provided so you will know what to pack and what can be left behind. I once packed a pack and play for my toddler to sleep in, only to find out one was provided. So now, I’m always looking into things like that so I don’t pack anything unnecessary. 
  2. Research your destination: Once we have decided where we will be traveling to and secure our accommodations, I like to research the area so I know where everything is in case of emergencies. Usually I’m looking for the nearest grocery store to be able to stock up on food/snacks/toiletries/diapers and also urgent cares and pharmacies in the event that anyone get sick or hurt. I would hope that things wouldn’t happen, but if they did I wouldn’t want to add to the stress of trying to track down a doctor in an unfamiliar place.
  3.  Make a list: I. Love. Lists. I make one for just about anything and traveling is no exception. I make lists for each child (I have 4, so I need to do this otherwise I might forget to pack for one altogether LOL!) and for myself. Lists include basic items like clothing and toiletries to the things I’m most likely to forget (phone chargers, thermometers, nail cutters  etc). Once I’m packed, I go over the list to make sure everything is ready to go and once we depart from our destination it serves as a checklist to make sure nothing is forgotten. 
  4. Delegate packing: Packing can get stressful if left up to just me. So once the lists are made, I can hand them over to my older kids and husband and they can start to set things aside and then I can give it a look over to make sure everything is complete. I’m not at the point where I can just trust them to do it solo… yet.
  5. Travel tote: For long car rides, kids need to be entertained. Otherwise, they will seriously make a 2 and a half hour car ride feel like a lifetime. I give my kids their own tote bag and they are allowed to pack it up with any comfort items and things to keep them occupied. The older kids usually pack their ipads, headphones, puzzle like things (think Rubik’s cube), a stuffed toy, snacks and a bottle of water. I provide the little kids with their favorite toys and books to look at and a playlist of their favorite nursery rhymes on my phone if they start fussing to play during the final stretch.

BONUS 6th TIP: Don’t forget about yourself in the process. Planning and packing for everyone for summer travel can be pretty stressful and it’s easy to lose sight of what is really important. I admit that I can get overly stressed and have to remind myself to take a step back, take a deep breath and remember what it’s all about. Making memories with my family is so important and I would hate to miss out on it because somebody forgot to pack their toothbrush.

Do you and your family do any summer travel, where are your usual go-to vacation spots? I’d love to get some new ideas on where to travel and any tips you may have to make it as stress-free as possible! Let me know in the comments!

Click here to read about how to create your own child’s Summer bucket list, and our huge Summer camp guide


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