Traveling with my husband and two boys is one of my favorite things to do in my free time! We are all so excited to hop on a plane or in a car to go on our next adventure together. I’m all about that quality family time, and experiencing new adventures with my loved ones. I love being able to try new things, and attempt to instill that spirit in my boys as well. The energy and vibe of the places we explore are so different from one another and we are constantly learning as a family. We learn about new cultures, food, architectures and lifestyles. I am in constant awe at how responsive my boys are to our travels, and enjoy watching them absorb and explore their new surroundings.
Each and every time we travel my boys come back with new knowledge and learnings; an opportunity they might not have had the chance to experience at home. I find that travel instills curiosity, bravery, and open-mindedness: all things a parent wants their little ones to acquire. There are even loads of articles online that discuss the amazing benefits of family travel. Check out Somewhere Slower, a Family Travel Blog by Courtney Adamo.
Some of my most treasured memories from childhood are the times my mom and dad would load us up into the car and we would take a road trip to my Grandmother’s house in the Czech countryside. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if my parents had not introduced me to traveling at such an early age. I can’t thank them enough for the doors they opened and the opportunities I had the privilege to experience. They truly opened my eyes to curiosity and I gained an open appreciation for other cultures.
Through travel exposure with my family I grew accustomed to the hardships of travel, and learned to overcome stressful situations. I was then able to integrate these learnings into my professional modeling career. A career that had me traveling frequently from place to place. My flexibility and willingness opened doors to world wide travel and once in a lifetime experiences that I will never forget. Thanks mom and dad!
While traveling is truly inspirational, it can also be a challenge, especially with young children. Even to this day, I find myself chasing after one of the boys in one direction, carrying 100 bags, while my husband Archie (inevitably on his cell phone) is chasing the other in another direction. There are lots of bumps or roadblocks that a family may run into. Fortunately, my career has prepared me well. I now have tons of travel experience and skills that I can use as a mom, and would love to share with you all! Here are some helpful K.K. family travel tips and secrets to help your next family trip run smoothly, while keeping it fun!
SCREEN TIME - In today’s world, technology is a huge part of entertainment for kids. An IPad and similar devices can become your kids next best friend. Electronics are easy and hold a lot of fun in the palm of your hand. If you’re looking for some unique options check out apps like "Florence" and "Hidden Folks "for a more artistic take on digital entertainment. I also find the new drawing tools to be a lot of fun and allow my boys to be creative while still using the digital devices that they are addicted to. There are a bunch of free doodling apps, and if you’re really into this idea the apple pencil is a great addition.
PODCASTS – Although we generally think that Podcasts are for the NPR crowd, there are also some really great options for kids. Check out “WOW in the World" and "Brains On" -for the science kid in your life, or “Circle Round” and “Story Pirates" for the little ones who like storytelling. These are great because it keeps the kids entertained and quiet, but it’s even something that mommy or daddy wouldn’t mind listening to.
ENTERTAINMENT WITH THE WHOLE FAMILY – Since you’re taking the time to travel together might as well include some family bonding, no? There are a bunch of group games you can play to pass the time together. These are great for waiting in airports or maybe even in the hotel room during a rainy day in. One of my favorites is a game called “Heads-up”, a modern take on charades and can easily be downloaded on your phone or other digital devices. You might have even seen it featured on Ellen!
JOURNALING, DRAWING & COLORING –Depending on the age of your child one of these is right for them. Getting the pen or crayon in their hand to express themselves is a great way to encourage emotional growth and cognitive organization. It is also a great way to remember the trip years down the road. As a family you can take a look back at the drawings or entries from a past trip and reflect on the good times. If your child doesn’t feel like starting from scratch there are some fabulous coloring books out there. My boys love the adult coloring books. Even though they might say “adult” on the cover, they have really great stress relieving designs for most ages. I even catch myself coloring in them sometimes!
“ M O M M Y I L O S T M Y T O Y ! ”
ORGANIZATION –Kids are constantly losing things, I know my boys are! So being able to find what you need while you live your life as a nomad is extremely important. If you’re scrambling to find something, you are wasting time, and then you can’t fully enjoy your company or take in your new surroundings. It is also important to be organized so that you don’t forget anything when you're packing. Organization leads to better time management and a lower risk of missing your flight- that could be bad! I recommend making a checklist while packing. You can even use reminders on your phone, much more efficient than the old trick of tying string on your fingers!
PACK ONLY WHAT YOU NEED – I like to bring exactly what I need and nothing I kind of need, it keeps the bags light and easy to travel with. There can be some tough choices but ask yourself, “will I need this everyday and is it absolutely necessary?” If you say no, leave it at home. If you are visiting a bustling city you can always purchase items that you desperately need while you are there. You might even come home with some sort of souvenir!
"M O M M Y I ' M H U N G R Y !"
SNACKING & EATING - Making sure everyone’s blood sugar is balanced is a good way to keep a big temper tantrum from flaring up. I always pack healthy snacks for lengthy flights or a long drive. Even when we get to our destination I always carry a few snacks in my day to day bag. We don’t want anyone getting hangry! I really like Oatmega cookies, Mama Chia Squeeze, and Matt’s Munchies for a quick hunger relief. Most importantly, don’t forget to hydrate! It’s super easy to carry a reusable water bottle with you and much better for the environment than buying a plastic water bottle every time you’re thirsty.
"M O M M Y M Y T U M M Y H U R T S !"
You have to be ready to keep you and the kids healthy. I always bring a “natural mama” first aid kit.
- PROBIOTICS – These help me and my family boost our immune systems and regulate digestion while we are out of town. My personal favorite are the Chocolate hearts, they are just so yummy! When traveling in hotter climates maybe choose to bring the powder to throw into a smoothie or glass of water.
- MOODY BLUES – Sometimes the kids stress can overflow into a tantrum. This herbal extract will help bring them back to center.
- CALL IT A NIGHT – The herbal elixir that helps kids sleep is perfect to get them synced up to a new time zone or to help them fall asleep in a new environment.
- NEOSPORIN - I don’t like to use it, but when it is needed I want to have some close by.
- SANITIZING WIPES - I recommend Water Wipes and EO’s Lavender scented hand sanitizer to keep pesky germs away.
"D O N ' T F O R G E T A B O U T M O M M Y!"
As a mother it is important that I take care of myself while also trying to get the kids out the door. Overlooking oneself as a parent is an easy thing to do, so don’t fall for it! Make sure you take the time to pack, plan and prep yourself as well.
I’m all about staying comfy while looking chic. So for flights and longer excursions I like to throw on some basic, stretch, skinny jeans that are comfortable around the waist when sitting for long periods of time, I often pair them with a super soft tee as a base layer, a Cashmere sweater for warmth and a timeless leather jacket for layering. I love my leather jacket and find it capable of dressing up any outfit. It gives me that extra edge. I also like to bring along some sort of scarf, I find they are extremely useful for breastfeeding or concealing a snoozing face. As far as footwear, I like a slip on shoe, whether that is an edgy sneaker or casual pair of flats. Being able to slide my shoes on a off is ideal for security check, and getting extra comfy on the flight or road.
Once I have my outfit down I like to make sure my face stays fresh, it’s really easy to feel grimy or dried out while flying. I always bring a tinted lip balm that helps me stay moisturized. I like to stay fresh with a face refresher spray that adds a healthy glow. Once I arrive to my destination I pull out a sheet mask to help rejuvenate my skin. I keep myself graceful under pressure with my favorite deodorant Native, Coconut Vanilla. In order to stay fresh and organized I pack all of my personal toiletries in a separate travel bag. This way they are easy to find among other items in my suitcase and I can simultaneously keep my boys stuff separate.
The right attitude and these family travel tips will make all the difference in the world, and rubs off on your kids as well. I try and focus on having patience, gratitude, and a spirit of adventure, while also having fun! Be forgiving to your children and yourself. Manage yourself just as much as your children. Keep your Moody Blues nearby and take deep breaths! I find that it is also nice to take some time for yourself in the morning before the kids wake, maybe take a walk, do some gentle yoga or read a few pages of a book. I really enjoy reading books about raising boys and some of my all time favorites are Fire Child Water Child by Dr. Cowan, The Queens Code by Alison A. Armstrong and Four Agreement: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz.
Hopefully these simple guidelines and tips help you and your family on your next outing. There are a million ways to travel but make sure you have your system down and don’t forget to enjoy it! As I love learning just as much as traveling, I would love to hear about your tips on happy family travel, please comment below and we can get this dialogue going!
Happy Travels! -KK