Santa Cruz County
Don't Miss Out Local Resources Parent to Parent Get in Touch Get in Touch

Travel Tips

Find some great tips on how to make things easier when traveling with kids.

These are posted once a week.


Submit a travel tip
Packing Checklist & Necessities
What to Bring
  • Extra outfits for the trip in case of accidents. (Dress in easy layers in case the weather changes.)
  • Blankets (good to have an extra)
  • Diapers (pack extras for the trip), wipes, dipaer ointment. (A pillow case works great for travel-it is small and easy to put the baby on for changes.)
  • Plastic bags are great in case of an accident or to put dirty diapers until you can get to a trash.
  • Extra sippy cups, bottles, pacifier, bibs (disposable ones are great for travel)
  • Food, formula, water, juice (Always pack extra formula since it is more difficult to find. It helps to pre-measure & put in small containers/ziploc bags.)
  • Breast pump (ice packs, bags for storing)
  • Monitor (good for all ages especially if you are staying in a large place)
  • Nightlight
  • Sunblock & sunhat
  • Carseat (you can also rent at most car rentals)
  • Compact stroller
  • Sling, child carrier, baby backpack
  • Pack-n-play (If you can borrow one at your destination, much easier than transporting)
  • Fold up booster seat with tray (can fit in a duffle)
Kid's Emergency/Essentials Kit
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sunblock
  • Nasal decongestant
  • Antibiotic eardrops
  • Motion sickness bag & tablets
  • Insect repellent & anit-itch cream
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Water purification tablets
  • Cotton swabs & Q-Tips
  • Children's Tylenol & Advil
  • Antihistamine (Benadryl)
  • Antibiotics (if needed)
  • Band-Aids, neosporine, antiseptic
  • Thermometer
Emergency List
  • Always keep in travel bag a list of emergency contacts. If anything was to happen, someone can call the family in case of emergency.
The Most Important Item to Pack in Your Child's Suitcase Tips for keeping children?s teeth healthy during holiday vacations. Answer: A toothbrush. As winter holidays approach, many families head to a favorite vacation spot or to relatives? homes to celebrate and relax. Often, children?s dental health habits take an unplanned vacation as well when on the road, which can open the door to cavities and periodontal disease. To address this, the pediatric dentists at Oak Park Dentistry for Children have put together tips for children and their parents on maintaining good dental health while on vacation. "Most families naturally spend more time thinking about which outfits, toys, and equipment they are going to pack for their vacation than about their oral health needs,? said pediatric dentist Yazdan Alami, D.D.S. ?This is unfortunate because there are several simple things that can be done to help children build and maintain sound dental health habits when traveling.? 1.Pack a toothbrush and store it in a container with air holes that allow bristles to completely dry, killing oral bacteria, and keep other family members' toothbrushes from touching. 2.Think small. Pack small tubes (3 oz. or less) of tooth paste to avoid losing it at security when traveling by plane and for convenience when traveling in general. If you run out of toothpaste, brush with water. As long as your technique is correct, plaque will still be removed. (Check for specific regulations.) 3. Take along a small container of dental floss or just enough flossing sticks to last for the duration of the trip, and a small bottle (3 oz. or less) of mouthwash. Floss and use mouthwash if you forget your toothbrush and are unable to purchase a new one. 4. Drink plenty of water to help keep teeth clean and rinse debris and sticky foods when brushing after meals is not an option. 5. Pack chewing gum that contains Xylitol, a naturally-occurring substance that tastes like sugar and has no after-taste to help prevent decay when children can?t brush their teeth. Studies have shown that Xylitol can reduce the incidence of tooth decay when one or two sticks were chewed for five minutes three times a day after meals.?
Closing up the House
Check List to Close Your House Before you leave:
  • Who is feeding the animals?
  • Did you clean the perishables out of the refridgerator?
  • Did you empty all the trash cans?
  • Did you put a hold on the MAIL? You can do this online at or call (800) ask-usps. They will drop all your mail off when you return from your trip and there is no extra charge.
  • Did you stop the newspaper?
  • Who is watering the plants? Put all the indoor plants in one place to make it easy for the person watering.
  • Does that person have a key?
  • Do you need cash or travelers checks?
  • Do you have your passport & plane tickets?
Security Checkpoints

It takes time to get through security so make sure when you have kids to get to the airport early and do the following:

  • Wear shoes that are easy to remove.
  • Carry-on Luggage: Be sure that your liquids are no more than 3 oz. (this includes shampoo, toothpaste, hairspray, etc.). All liquids must be placed in a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. Each traveler can use only one, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. There are exceptions for baby formula, breast milk, and other essentials, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
Family Friendly Airports

Visit the website of the airport(s) you are scheduled to fly through and locate the nearest child play area. The play area in the Denver (Concourse B, (303) 317-1089) airport has been a lifesaver for us. Chicago has one, too.

    Take the train to Disneyland My son gets extremely car sick. He complains even when we drive from Santa Barbara out to Costco. When a friend invited us on a weekend trip to Disneyland, I was thrilled, but worried. How would we make it all the way to Anaheim. In the end, I decided to take the train. It was perfect. My son could get up, move around, go to the bathroom, eat, watch a movie... I wasn't stressed out by traffic and worry of him getting sick in the back seat. When we arrived, it was a quick and cheap cab ride to the hotel. We stayed right next to the park so we never needed a car. I would have just been wasting money on parking anyway. Even if your kid doesn't get carsick, I would highly recommend taking the train on your next Disneyland trip.
    Activities to Keep Kids Entertained
    Schedule of Activities Whether riding in a plane or in the car our family takes long trips!? I have found that I can keep my 7 & 4 yr olds sane by having a written schedule that I tape in a prominent location such as the head rest of seat in front of them.? I over schedule activites and do not post times.? That way they are looking forward to what comes next and allows me the flexibility to extend or shorten any given activity such as books on tape, word games, naps, snacks/meals, DVDs, coloring, or hand held video games.? It's a great to hear them say as we arrive, "but we didn't get to do ___ yet!"
    Keep kids busy

    I keep my kids busy with the Mess Free markers and coloring pads! They are great for in the car or airplane. The magic is in the markers and special paper!

    Cheap Toys

    My son is 2 years and 3 months and he likes new toys to keep him entertained.  Plan to go to Wal-mart or any 99 cent store and get small toys. Don't let your kids see them until they become little fussy! I would rather buy the inexpensive toys than bring his favorite ones because he becomes bored.  (And I don't mind losing the cheap ones.)

    Another tip that is more is getting a dvd player... sometimes you can find sales!  They work reallllllly well. Chargers last for 2 hours and 30 minutes.

    Podcast Stories I have downloaded stories off of itunes. They are free in the podcast section and there are stories for all ages. I have tried a few on my kids and they are so calm and relaxed. They asked for more and didn't want to get out of the car when we got home.
    Getting Around in the Airport There is this great product called a trunki. It is a ride-on suitcase. Kids can scoot themselves to the next gate or you can pull them as they ride along. It is the best toy to have and it is great sturdy luggage. On our last trip to Florida there was no "carry me mommy" it was "look at me go"
    Travel with a Toddler/Preschooler
    First Time Air Travel with a Toddler/Preschooler If this is the first time you've ever flown anywhere with your toddler/preschooler, then you really have to prepare early to make the experience as smooth and pleasant for everyone. Yes...and to keep your sanity. I find that there are a few things that I've found over the miles through trial and error to help me when I travel with my 2-year-old.?? Because of my love of travel, because I used to have a corporate international management job for a major hotel company, and because I have dual homes, I've literally accumulated over a million miles of travel in the last 9 years.? Travel hasn't ceased since having my daughter London.? She's been on every flight I've taken for the last 2 years and have gone on over 30 flights and 2 cruises.? So, at age 2, she is a travel pro! Here's the rundown on my tried and true picks and tips for air travel with a tot: 1) Get an all-in-one stroller and car seat.? - I love the Sit-N-Stroll (Simple to use and very compact, this car seat literally turns into a stroller.? I've received lots of compliments from taxi drivers to celebrities in Beverly Hills about how "transformer-like" this stroller/car seat is.? Instead of 2 baby travel contraption to lug around, you just have 1, and it is easy to push, smooth, and doubles as a luggage cart for small luggage. )? If you plan on driving a car or being in a car at your destination, then this beats lugging around a car seat. A Note on Cares Flight Belt - I have one, and I use it for my daughter while inflight.? It is very comfortable, light, and easy to use.?? I just started using this for the last 3 flights, and my daughter was fine with it.??? The best thing about it is it is FAA-approved, the bad thing is expensive. 2) A Goody Bag or Backpack for your little one.? This serves an obvious purpose - entertainment for your toddler/preschooler and distraction. -? Pack small toys (familiar and new ones), small and light books, activity books with coloring activities or a doodle board.? 3) DVD player and comfortable Headphones - For particularly long flights and trips. 4) Snacks and special diet foods, if necessary. 5) Extra diapers (day's worth and 1 or 2 more in case of flight delays.) 6) Extra clothing for you and your little one, especially a light sweater for in-flight wear. 7) Easy-to-take off shoes (for going through Security Checks quickly.) 8) See-through ziplock bag for you to put cell phones, keys, and small pocket objects so you have everything in 1 place going through the Security Check.? Take out your ziplock bag and place small pocket objects in it, and seal right before you place the bag through the Security Check conveyor belt.?I also find that reading a children's book about airplanes and the airport, playing with a toy airplane, and looking at airplane photos days before the flight has helped my little one feel at ease about travel. So, with some preparation and may find air travel with a toddler/preschooler pleasant and even fun.? Good luck! Million Miles Mama
    Taking Photos
    Document Your Trip

    My husband, myself, and our 2 year old went on a three month road trip through mainland Mexico. We had no itinerary which was a welcome change from always planning things. We kept an online journal of our trip to share with family and friends, and I'm so glad we have it to look back on. Here's a link to our site if you're interested:

    Always have your camera with you!


    Road trips
      Mini Destinations

      My family took a road trip last summer from Santa Barbara to Victoria B.C. We were traveling with two 11 year old boys and a 14 year old boy, and were on our way to visit some friends in Washington State. We chose a "destination of the day" to move us along. We went on factory tours, (such as Jelly Belly, Boeing and Safeco Field to name a few) National Parks and Monuments and points of interest. We worked hard to balance high energy activities with low key ones, and let the boys help choose the itinerary. The boys took turns each day being the navigator. They were in charge of the lap top and the GPS locator to determine the best route to our next destination. They would locate gas stations, restaurants, and hotels/camp sites or whatever was needed that day. We all had a blast and are planning another two to three week road trip this summer at the boys request.

      ParentClick Disclaimer
      local sponsors
      • Look for these same great services in other cities under ParentClick •