This is my very first blog! I had no clue where to start or which topic I should nail first, but I’m currently sitting in the back of my Yukon staring at my sleeping twins as we make our way to Roy Lake for a weekend camping trip. So, traveling with kids it is.

Packing up for a family trip can be quite intimidating and stressful, but with the right tips, strategies and products you can do it!

First things first. If you are not a list lover, now you are. Go to the store and buy yourself a nice notepad with perforated lines and at least 10 good pens because they will be vital to getting your family out the door with everything you need. And I say 10 pens because I’ve honestly found pens in my closet after a major packing day. You’re bound to lose a few.

Now lets put those bad boys to work. It depends on what type of traveling you will be doing (car, plane, hotel, camping, daytrip, etc.) but in the end you generally have the same things on your lists. I make multiple lists and they usually consist of clothing for the girls and I, food that needs to be packed, and baby items and gear. My husband is left to fend for himself. Make sure you write everything, and I mean EVERYTHING down. If you think “oh I don’t need to write down blankets and pacifiers because we never leave the house without them,” you’re just asking for trouble. Next, I pick one list and pack everything on it before moving to the next one. I typically start with the stuff for myself because, lets be real, if I did it last, I would skip some things and then be mad at myself for being lazy.

The second most important thing is to travel around the babies’ schedule. We always leave a little before the girls’ nap time so we at least get that time of peace and quiet in the car. This rule applies to pretty much every trip that requires us to drive longer than a few minutes. We live 45 minutes from all major shopping/entertainment, so we plan accordingly! On a few longer trips we have hit the road after supper so they sleep in the car while we drive through the night. It’s totally less than ideal for Dave and I, the poor guys has to consume a lot of caffeine to keep cruisin’ along, but it’s quiet and less stressful. The final rules for car rides are: absolutely no stopping while they are asleep, the music “balance” must be turned to the front of the car, and I always tell the babies no pooping until we get there... but they’re not very good at following directions yet. Listen to your babies and be mindful of what time it is and what they would normally be doing if you were at home. Bottle time? Nap time? Lunch time? They expect the same routine even if  you are in a different location. It can be so frustrating when they are crying during an outing, but if they are expecting a bottle at that time, get on it! It usually takes care of the crankiness and you can move on with your tr The last part of prepping a successful trip is to plan out the things you want to do while there. If I’m just making a day trip to Sioux falls I make a list (lol) of the places I need to go and how long it will  take me at each and then keep in the back of my mind the places I would like to go if all goes well. When traveling we like to find places that are baby friendly. For instance, when we were in Duluth last month we found Bent Paddle Brewing that had an amazing play area for littles and we could order them and us food. We ended up spending a few hours there that day because all four of us were loving it! You will also learn  which places are accommodating for you needs. For instance, I know which places have two kid seats in   their shopping carts, good places for feeding time, and mothers rooms where I could pump and let the girls crawl around and stretch. You will learn as you go!

The absolute most important thing about traveling with kids is having zero expectations. They are so unpredictable, and you cannot get discouraged by a perfectly planned outing that ends in disaster. If you make it out the door, be proud of yourself because that in itself is a ton of work. Every time you get your

children out of the house they get better at it, and so do you! Believe me, I’ve had my fair share of failures at target and screaming twins in the backseat on the ride home. Learn from your experiences. Lastly, do your best to keep calm when you feel overwhelmed because those little humans can totally sense when something is up, and if you’re losing your cool there is a 110% chance of a major family meltdown. You’ve got this. Be creative, flexible and prepared. And when your list fails you, there is always a Walmart that has what you forgot.

Happy travels!

Karli Ellens