Tips and Tricks For Traveling and Cruising With Children

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cruisingWe recently took a family cruise on the Carnival Glory for my 40th birthday and along the way I came up with some tips to help you keep your sanity, especially while cruising with your children.

1. Pack a roll or two of paper towel.  They will come in handy to clean little messes, wrap fragile items when you pack to go home, and a million other uses that you’ll find while you’re in your cabin.

2. Pack a small bottle of laundry detergent.  I saved a few samples I’ve collected recently.  The ships usually have a laundry room where you can purchase detergent but it was nice having my small travel size so I could spot clean items that I needed to or hand wash a few small things and hang them to dry in the shower on the clothesline.

3. Pack a few garbage bags for your dirty clothes.  Then when you repack to go home you won’t have to put dirty clothes against your clean suitcase.

4. Pack disposable coffee cups with lids.  I love iced coffee and it was nice to be able to put my iced coffee in a disposable cup that I could take off the ship with me or even walking around the ship and not worry about it spilling.  They came in handy for my husband’s coffee and iced tea for my girls, too.  Seems silly but being able to take a drink around with a lid was great and unlike bringing our own sports bottles, etc. we didn’t have to worry about saving them.  Not very eco-friendly but we were on vacation. 😉

5. Bring a case of water with you.  I wish we had done that.  Water getting off the ship was a few dollars and we really needed cold water on each island.  I wish we had brought a case of water on the ship with us and kept some cold in our refrigerator like we had seen others do.  If you aren’t local, stop off at a CVS, Walgreens, or grocery store on your way to the pier.

Ideas for cruising or even just traveling with kids:
I bought both of my girls their own purses that were VERY roomy and had lots of compartments.  Here’s what was in each of their bags to keep them comfortable and busy on our trip.

~mini note pads
~pack of colored pencils
~a chapter book or two
~sweatshirt/sweater (yes it was hot on the islands but sometimes my girls were cold indoors)
~Mad Libs and other gaming pages
~battery operated fans
~hand sanitizer
~small digital camera (I bought them each an inexpensive digital camera.  They cost almost the same as disposable cameras and developing and I didn’t have to worry about developing any bad pictures.)
~deck of cards
~Uno or other card games
~hair ties (I have girls!)
~hidden picture pages (I bought a Highlights Magazine hidden picture book and tore out pages for each of my girls to keep in their bags to keep them busy.  They both LOVED these.)
~mints and/or gum
~package of nuts/trail mix
~water botle
~baseball hat
~a wallet (my girls liked having a few dollars of their own so they could haggle and shop in the straw markets)

YES, all of the above fit into EACH of their bags believe it or not.  Notice what wasn’t in their bags?  Electronics!  We all went ELECTRONICS FREE for the entire week and loved every minute of it.  We didn’t have to worry about charging our girls’ Kindles, Nintendo DSs, etc.  When they were “bored’, had to wait for their meals, etc. they had books to read, puzzle pages, etc. and honestly I don’t think any of us missed our electronics at all!

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