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I am a fanatic for tips! I love anything to make any part of life a little easier ya’ll. I have compiled the 13 best travel tips for moms below. I asked some of my friends in my Mommie Tourist facebook group for their favorite travel tips as well. These tips are a compilation of my and my facebook followers and friends’ favorite travel tips for moms.
I would LOVE for you to drop your favorite tips below and we will keep adding to this list. Make sure to check out my post full tips on how to pack for your next beach vacation here and my favorite beach hacks here. You can also get a free printable packing list here as well.
1. Always take plenty of food and drinks
This first tip comes from reader Crystal. Crystal says to take plenty of food and drinks. Crystal you are my spirit animal. I can not agree more sister! This is also one of my favorite and most important tips when going on any trip.
I can not tell you the times I have paid out the nose because I did not bring along food and drinks with me on a trip. Usually if you have to buy these types of items at a resort or nearby convenience store there is a considerable markup for well….. convenience.
Our standard practice is to wait until we are within 15-20 minutes of our destination and find the nearest publix (personal preference) or whatever grocery store is available. This keeps you from having to keep all of the groceries cool ect on the drive down assuming you have a lengthy drive.
There are also tons of various grocery delivery services depending on location for a fee. I am of the opinion that even if you pay the fee you are still possibly coming out ahead versus paying at the resort or conveience store.
Also SO many grocery stores offer shopping services and curbside pick up. You could schedule and order your groceries in advance and literally just swing by and pick them up on arrival. I am also a huge Instacart fan which is a shopping service that shops for you and delivers too for a fee.
Travel tip: Shop your pantry and fridge before you leave home and grab some things you might already have. I will often times snag coffee, trash bags, coffee filters, paper towels, ect and any cold items that might go bad while we are gone and just put them in the cooler I always take. It prevents the perishable items from wasting and it also prevents me from buying them again at the destination.
2. Order in Pizza one night
One of my personal favorite travel tips for moms is to order pizza in one night! Dinner out on vacation can get so expensive for a family! It can also be exhausting after a long day. One of the things I look forward to on each vacation is ordering pizza in and eating it in my pjs.
You don’t have to get ready or spend big bucks. This is usually our cheapest meal on vacation and I usually over order so that we will purposefully have leftovers. I always check out a few pizza websites and go with the one for the best coupon or deal for even more savings.
3. Grab an inexpensive cosmetic or toiletry bag and fill with non-perishable snack packs
Summer sent this tip into us and we LOVE it!! Summer says to grab an inexpensive cosmetic or toiletry bag and fill it with snacks. You can stash a variety of your kids favorite snacks in a cosmetic or toiletry bag with clear pockets and everything will be neat and tidy.
This keeps everything organized, easy to find, and would be perfect for a long ride or to throw into a beach bag. I definitely think the key to this tip is to select items that can hold up well to heat.
Items like gummies, granola bars, and goldfish are great options for this idea but the sky is the limit and of course based on what your kiddos like. You can even repurpose one of your old cosmetic/toiletry bags after a good wash or hit the dollar tree for a cheap fix AND some cheap snacks to fill it up! Here is a great example from Amazon.
4. Take your cooler
Another one of my personal favorite tips to always take your cooler. If you do nothing else pack a cooler! This is such a lifesaver. I use the cooler on the way down to pack any cold items I am taking from home and also to prevent stopping every 3 seconds to get something to drink (time and $$$).
I usually throw in some bottle waters, juice boxes, and sodas and I can’t tell you how many times I have been so glad I did. If you aren’t planning to use the cooler on the way down then stuff beach toys or other items in there to consolidate and save space.
The cooler is also great for transporting cold items from the grocery store pickup discussed above to the hotel room and depending on how far between the grocery store and final destination this can be essential.
The cooler also comes in handy for beach days or days spent on the boat. If your room does not have a fridge or does not have a large fridge then the cooler can be a lifesaver to keep important things cold like baby bottles or other items. Ice is usually free at most hotels/resorts so with daily refreshing of the ice this can be a great substitute if your accommodation lacks sufficient fridge space.
ALSO I like to use the cooler to transport any leftover groceries back to the house. Every now and then we will have alot of stuff leftover after the trip and I hate throwing out good food. Thanks to the cooler you don’t have to. It is really is my vacay bestie.
I recently discovered these ice mule coolers. They come in an insane amount of colors and sizes and I like these because they roll up very small and pack well. They are very affordable compared to some of the coolers we own and they also float!! I really have a new obsessions with these babies. They also have some awesome backpack styles for a bit more money!
5. Use packing cubes
One of the newest tips that I have been using when traveling is to implement packing tubes. Packing cubes are seriously life! I am not kidding. Check out this video of me packing and unpacking using my Gonex packing cubes. The Gonex cubes are very good quality, strong, and come in tons of colors and sizes.
It is seriously insane how much you can fit in these things. I purchased three large ones in different colors so that each of us would have our own cube in a distinct color.
You can really get a ton of different brands and sets but I think it is worth it to invest in one large cube per person to start with if you are unsure and want to keep the cost minimal. Afterall- you can always add more later.
So on our recent trips we have each been allowed one large cube and then I have been able to fit all of our clothes into one large suitcase but everything remains separate and organized.
Then when we get to our destination it is SO easy to pull out each cube and disperse into drawers ect without everything being a messy hodge podge of everyone’s items mixed together.
You can also divide your items according to category such as all tops in a cube, all pants in a cube ect and so on. The options are limitless here. But I definitely recommend giving each member a different color cube.
This has been awesome for us and one of my favorite tips of all. If you need to save some bucks but want to keep it all organized then gallon size ziplocks can be used as well to organize and save some space.
6. Don’t forget your wagon
Can I tell you how much I LOVE my wagon??? My sister in law Dana, who is also an avid MT reader, said that a wagon was one of her best travel tips for moms! I have to agree with her. We snagged this MAC compact, foldable wagon (above) a few years ago and we have used it ever since and loved it fiercely. I love mine because it collapses pretty small and fits easily in a trunk or backseat.
I did not purchase the wagon with the extra large wheels because it was twice as much money but from those who have it I have heard good things. The wagon with the extra large wheels can be found here. I honestly feel like the regular wheels have worked fine for us but it’s really about how much you want to put into it.
If you are looking for the BEST wagon and do not have a budget then I 100% recommend THIS wheeleez one. We had the pleasure to use one of these when we stayed in Captiva because the homeowners had one. This is the cadillac of beach wagons but you pay for the awesomeness. In my opinion I can see why they charge what they do because they are that good and if you plan to use it a ton it’s probably worth it.
We have used our wagon for obvious reasons such as at the beach but then there have been lots of others times that it has come in handy besides just that. This wagon is great to use to haul luggage, groceries, and other items from the car to the room.
We have stayed in resorts and condos multiple times where it felt like a mile hike from the car to the room. Trying to schlepp a kid plus all of that a mile to the room can get a bit hairy.
You can throw the kid and the stuff in the wagon and off you go. It has been especially helpful for use when carrying the groceries in the first night with all 40 different bags to deal with.
The wagon can also be used on excursions such as at the amusement park, the zoo, downtown areas, and on and on. It makes a great substitute for a stroller and if they fall asleep just lay them down in the bottom. The uses are really endless. Wagon=mom win!
7. First aid kit is a must
Bringing a first aid kit is one of the most important tips on my list. It is a must! I snagged this one off of Amazon for little to nothing and then I have “doctored” (no pun intended) it up and added Pepto Bismol, children’s chewable ibuprofen and Tylenol, Tums, and Benadryl for good measure.
The husband always laughs at me but I can’t tell you the times we have used this kit to remove a splinter, cure a rash, or deal with a headache from too much vacation fun. It is always one of the first things I pack and I do not leave home without it.
You can make a first aid kit from items you already have at home and recycle a small cosmetic bag you have laying around. Definitely hit the dollar store to finish off anything you might be missing. Or just do like I did and hit Amazon. Either way make sure you take a version of this awesome tool with you on each trip.
8. Bring an insane amount of sunscreen
Another very important tip of mine is to bring absolutely silly amounts of sunscreen with you. Has anyone paid $20 dollars for a bottle of sunscreen at a gift shop or am I the only one? Oh my gosh it makes me sick!! I can’t tell you how many times I have not taken enough with me on a trip, gotten in a crunch, and be forced to pay crazy prices.
I am going to go out on a limb and say that I don’t think the sunscreen at the gift shop are actually superior in effectiveness but they sure are superior in price. One of my favorite things to do is to stock up on sunscreen at the end of the summer when it goes on sale for up to 75% off for the following summer. I always get SO excited when I find it the next summer!
Another option is to hit up costco or sam’s club. I found a great 3 pack of the above neutrogena for around $14 at the beginning of the summer. Also check out amazon because I see great deals on sunscreen on there as well. This yellow neutrogena is my personal fav because it works very well and smells great. I also use the same one but in a deodorant stick style and it is amazing for the face.
9. Bring a backpack
One of our Mommie Tourist readers Andrea J. suggested a fantastic tip and that is to bring a backpack! She is oh so right!! Andrea mentioned how backpacks free up your hands and allow you to have your hands free to chase kids, fetch snacks, hold little hands, or whatever else you need your hands for.
This is another one of my fav tips. I have really been into backpacks lately on an almost daily basis even when I am not on a trip. I am convinced the original inventor of the backpack was a mom. Backpacks are really the ultimate mom bag.
I have always been a Northface girl but recently I have discovered these Kanken backpacks and I am a HUGE fan! They come in a ton of colors and sizes.
I snagged the mini Kanken but I am definitely getting the large, full sized one very soon because I have used this backpack almost every day since I bought it. These Kankens are lightweight and hold a TON of stuff- even the mini. Also these are water resistant so they are perfect for a beach bag or anything near the water.
10. Make one activity bag for each child for each hour of the trip
I think if I had to pick my favorite tip from this entire list of the 13 best travel tips for moms it would definitely be this tip from friend and reader Tammy M. Tammy says that she makes small bags for each child for each hour.
She says that if the trip takes 7 hours for example then there are 7 bags per child. Each bag contains a small snack, game, coloring page, or trinket.
The kids will not only have the end of the trip to look forward to but also the beginning of each new hour when they receive a new bag. This also allows the kids to realize that they are getting closer to the destination as the amount of remaining bags gets less and less.
I absolutely love this tip and can not wait to implement it. You can really get your creative juices flowing as your time and budget allows. You could decorate each bag individually. I think that the dollar tree and “the spot” at target would be great places to score inexpensive and fun items for these bags. I am so obsessed with this idea friends.
11. Shop around for accommodations
One of my best tips is to shop around for your accomadations ! Once I have decided our vacation location I then really spend some time shopping for the hotel/condo/house that we will be staying at.
I usually look at Orbitz and VRBO. Then if I decide to go with a resort for example I will go directly to that site and check their prices versus Orbitz, Expedia, Priceline ect. Alot of times I check the resort website for any promotions.
Even if the room through the resort appears more expensive at first glance always investigate for promotions because once you apply the promotion then the other sites may not be cheaper after all. Right now many resorts I have looked at are offering promotions such as buy 6 nights get the 7th free, on property dining credits, waiving resort fees ect and so on.
Also once you look online, call the resort you are interested in directly and see if they are offering any additional promotions or have any deals available. Sometimes there are triple A discounts that may or may not be offered on their site. Also checking the resort Facebook page is not a bad idea because they sometimes advertise special discounts or coupons there too.
If you are feel very brave and are somewhat flexible you can try bidding on rooms by going to priceline. You enter a price for a room based on what you feel the room is worth.
The catch is while you do know the general area of the room and the star rating ( for example 3 stars, 4 stars, 5 stars) you do not know the name of the hotel/resort until after you book. Once you book that is it and you are now obligated to purchase that room. I have definitely scored some deals this way but just understand it before you try it.
12. Get access to a washer and dryer
I think making sure you have access to a washer and dryer is one of my most important tips. This allows you to pack less because you can wash clothes while you are there and therefore you need less!
The ideal situation is to have a washer and dryer in the room but I realize this is not always possible. If the accommodations you have selected don’t have these in the room see if there is one on site.
Often hotels and resorts have a room set up with multiple washers and dryers for free or use a few coins per load.
Another idea is to see if the hotel offers laundry services or if there is a local dry cleaners near by in a pinch.
12. Look for a hotel/house/condo with kitchen or kitchenette
A great travel tip for moms is to find a hotel/resort/condo that has a kitchen! I can not recommend enough how much I suggest choosing a property with at minimum an efficiency kitchenette but preferably a full kitchen. It really makes a huge difference for our family in terms of comfort when traveling.
When we travel to Disney World we have stay both on and off the property. Most of the properties we have stayed at on property do not have a kitchen and it has really cost us.
On the other hand we have stayed numerous times when visiting Disney at the Magic Village Yards . Magic Village Yards not only has a full kitchen but has a gourmet/chef’s kitchen. This is just one of the reasons we truly love to stay at the Magic Village Yards. The kitchen is fully stocked with any and every appliance, utensil, dish that you might need to cook just like you would have at home. A kitchen on vacation is SUCH a game changer friends.
I saved one of the easiest and most actionable tips for last. I obsessively utilize Trip Advisor to read up on every restaurant, hotel, resort, location, activity ect. I have found that more times that not that Trip Advisor will NOT lead me in the wrong direction. Want to go parasailing ? Let’s check Trip Advisor. Not sure where to eat in Sanibel? Trip Advisor. What is the most popular thing to do in Orlando for kids? You guessed it Trip Advisor.
I love that I can read real, honest reviews from real people about their various experiences. I know I irritate my travel partners with this one but seriously I check this site constantly when I am planning a trip. I even use T.A. when I am trying to decide where to go. There is a wealth of info on locations alone and it will really allow you to get a feel for the place and if it is a place you want to go to. You can get SO much great information here and it will save you from a TON of vacation duds.
That concludes my list of the 13 best travel tips for moms. I hope you have found some great ones that you can implement on your next family vacation. I want to thank each of my readers and friends that contributed to this list. I loved reading all of your tips.
You can also get a free printable packing list here as well. Ya’ll comment below with any new tips or ideas because I would love to see this list grow into even more awesome travel shortcuts for the mamas.