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  1. rachelle Vriend says:

    Love this Post, Monica….
    As a family that travels often, something I do that my boys anticipate each trip we travel on planes, is their own backpacks. I stuff each of these with fun activity books like “paint by stickers,” hidden picture books, usborne (awesome books!) candy, snacks, and a screen that they are never allowed to be on, unless we are traveling on a plane. This makes it extra special for them! We also have our boys “earn” screen time on the plane by doing extra chores around the house. Win for me, win for them! haha. A few times my 11 year old washed all of our downstairs windows, which was a pretty big job!
    They look forward to their backpacks every time the plane takes off!

  2. Every summer for us we roadtrip. All 4 if us in a little Honda. This year we picked up bikes and a bike rack. Now I know many people do not rent bikes but we did whenever we went to Edisto, SC. Saved us money bringing our own. The eldest was always asking to bike to the beach. A bonus. Packing light….I am learning this. Living overseas helped, with strict luggage restrictions and smaller standard hotel rooms space saving was key. I go with my sister’s advice, bring shoes you are going to wear more than once. We bring cards and our own board games. Two for room sake. We stay at timeshares which often provide board games as well. This year we brought a crockpot. Two weeks in two different spots with a full kitchen. We ate out 4x total. A kitchen helps. Thanks Monica for sharing your tips. ๐Ÿ™‚ This is a good reminder that in a few years my boys will have lives and vacations of their own. Meanwhile making memories is important. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I loved all of that Laura! So interesting and sounds like you guys have some really fun travels!! Thank you for sharing, I just went on a little mental vacation too! ๐Ÿ™‚ XO

  3. With 4 kids staying in a hotel is a tight fit. We now love airbnb and our timeshares. However, when we do stay at hotels, someplace with lots of room and free breakfast helps a lot. Thanks for sharing the tips.

  4. tracy evans says:

    i think it’s a good idea to pack some extra clothes, like underwear, leggings, tee shirt for each kid and myself, and keep them in my carry on. You never know what might happen! Little kid’s clothes can be folded up quite small, so they don’t take up a whole lot of space, and it’s worth it, should your child have an unplanned incident. I also think snacks are important wherever you go, but especially in the carry on.

    1. So good Tracy!! I’ve learned that (the extra clothes in carry-on) the hard way a few times! Thanks for sharing! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Welcome home, Swansons! Thanks for the great post! I agree with all of your tips/tricks, having been lucky to travel with our sons since they were tiny babies. A hotel w/ a suite arrangement and a free breakfast are essential. We love Embassy Suites and Homewood Suites.
    Odd things we always pack:
    -ziplock bags ( think left overs,seashells, really messy clothes,etc.)
    -empty water bottles for every family member that can be lost with no tears (fill up after airport security and each day before leaving the hotel)
    -laundry pods ( That way you can always pack less)

    We have learned the hard way to only carry on:
    -A swimsuit for everyone
    -all varieties of chargers
    -change of clothes for the kids
    -travel documents
    Lost luggage is no longer a terrifying event when we have these items!

    Your trip sounds amazing. I hope it was all you hoped for!

    1. Brilliant Shannon! You are so smart. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you and always fun to see you here!! ALOHA!

  6. These are great tips, thanks, Monica!! We stayed at the Embassy Suites by the convention center in Washington, DC this past March. It was lovely and we’d definitely stay there again!