Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Beach/Disney/Traveling Tips and Tricks!

Last week, Broc was leaving for work on a Friday. It was the Friday of Memorial Day weekend so he also had Monday off. He threw out the idea of getting away for the weekend with the girls. I just said that it would be fun and didn't think much about it the rest of the day.
4:00pm rolled around and I called Broc and said, "Okay, lets just go to Vegas for the weekend there is a ton to do and the girls would have fun."
Broc walks in the door and says, " Instead of Vegas, lets just go to the beach." Within 30 minutes we had booked a hotel and started packing!
What a fun trip it was. Very spontaneous and out of no where. Those are the ones we will remember forever! We packed up, grabbed dinner, made a stop at Walmart and then 6 hours later we were at our hotel getting ready for bed!
I learned a lot this weekend. When you don't have kids, traveling is much easier! You don't have to take 30 bags. I just wanted to compile a post of things I learned on this trip-traveling with kiddos. 
I want to remember it for next time and also help out others who may want some of my tips and tricks for Traveling with kids, The Beach with kids, and Disneyland with kids!
Enjoy! If you have any, please let me know! I'm sure we will be making more trips to the beach in the next few years. I totally recommend doing A TON of research before going on any vacation. You want to make the most of your time, so look up everything you can. 

Ps. I am all about having my life/trips organized. So it was a little stressful throwing it all together. I like to be very prepared in everything. 
Oh yea, this is long! So, be prepared!

The Beach!
Sand. It is everywhere! I am still finding it all over my kitchen/laundry room floor from time to time. It NEVER GOES AWAY! 
Some of the things on this list I packed and some I wish I did pack.

1.Sun Screen-my tip for this is APPLY IT BEFORE YOU STEP ONTO THE SAND! The spray is amazing, but sometimes the rub in works best for babies who can close their eyes and mouth. My one year old basically had sand all over her within 3 seconds of the beach...so applying sunscreen with sand all over both of us was horrible! I would apply it before you get to the beach and then every 60-80 minutes. So remember, apply it BEFORE THE BEACH! 

2.Blanket/Sheet for the sand. Towels are great for the sand, but honestly I took a blanket and it was great! I saved the towels for drying off. A sheet/blanket works great for laying it out for all your bags and to sit on. It's going to get sand on, but its much bigger and saves towel. Also bring a lot of towel. We have a family of four. I think I brought four towel. We mostly dried off while playing, but after we showered our girls at the beach to get sand off. I saved one towel for the end so it wasn't covered in sand and that was a GREAT idea. 

3. Toys-Plain and simple. Bring buckets, shovel, measuring cups, plastic cups... anything. Kids will have fun. I also brought bubbles and my girls loved that. I would recommend bringing a bag to put them in when leaving so all the sand doesn't get in your car.

4.Snacks- Snacks are a must for any kid. They can snack all day! Since the trip wasn't super planned I threw whatever was in my pantry into a bag to take to the beach. I usually don't buy the snacks that are already pre packaged into baggies because I think it is a waste of money, but I think I would do this next time. Fruit snacks ended up getting really mushy and the Apply Sauce pouches just had sand all over them! Pringles were good, crackers, or chips. If I was more prepared I would of brought some yummy fruit, but we had just driven 6 hours and wasn't prepared!

5.Drinks- Don't forget to bring food and drinks for your self too! I recommend Capri Suns and Water. Well, I prefer Capri Suns but because of summer they have gone up almost $1.00 in price. No to much, but the Kool Aid Jammers are still like $1.99-so much cheaper.  So depending on how long you are staying, take a pack with you in your backpack along with some water bottles. If you can, try to freeze them for a bit or pack a cooler so you have nice cold drinks. If you take a water bottle, fill it up with half ice and half water.

6.Bags- Take a few extra Walmart or store bags for garbage, clothes, and wet towels. 

7.Shade- If you have kids and plan on being at the beach all day or for a few days, I would invest in some type of shade! It was pretty over cast when we went, which was very nice. Too much sun can make anyone cranky. So, invest in some type of shade. Even if it looks silly. 

8.BABY POWDER- I will be taking this to the beach every time. This gets sand off so easy! I used so much of it! Your feet may look a little white if you don't rub it in, but my girls were sand free! Rub this on their little bums before placing a dry diapers on, on their faces, hands, toes, and legs! 

9. This is just something I found handy. My almost one year old was in a swim suit and I rolling all over the sand. I wanted to avoid a major rash so I threw her PJ bottoms in the bag before we left to place over her swim suit while she played in the sand. IT WAS A BRILLIANT IDEA! I will do this every time. If it is hot, I would do some longer shorts or something. Boys in trunks will probably be okay, but this saved her from a rash. I didn't have to worry about cleaning sand out of her bum for a week. 

10. You can take your stroller onto the sand, but most will just be way to hard to push. I loaded my 11 month old in to a baby carrier and our two year old walked while we carried everything. It was great. No stroller-one less thing to be covered in sand. 

11. When you get off the beach I would shake everything out before putting it in a bag. I made the mistake of not doing this...which is why my laundry room is covered in sand! 

12. If you are going for multiple days I would bring more than one swim suit unless you can rinse them out or have a place to was them. Also, bring a ton of towels if you are going for a few days. 

This wraps up the beach portion. I hope it was helpful. Some of these might be obvious, but we all learn something going out with kids!

Disneyland was so much fun. Just don't go when they are celebrating their 60 Year Anniversary on Memorial day weekend! Big mistake. Then again, we were not even planning on going. Daddy gave in so his princess could meet a real princess! Okay, lets just get to it!

1. Stroller- Duh. Just take one! You don't want to end up carrying around your kid all day.

2. Food- I wasn't sure what I could take into the park but they didn't seem to strict once we got there.  Once again, IF I WAS PREPARED...I would of made 2-3 sandwiches for my girls. Mom and Dad can go along time with out eating...but sometimes the kids get sick on crackers and need lunch NOW! Pack a few PB&J sandwiches (or whatever you prefer) I prefer those because they don't spoil as easy. Bring whatever snacks you think your kids will like. Bring more than you think you would need-better to have too much than too little.

3.Drinks- No one wants to pay $4 for a bottle of water. I know I didn't- So I ended up not staying super hydrated. Take some water. Freeze or or take it warm. Just make sure you take some! I would also take some juice pouches or something that has a lid for the kids. Before getting in to California pick up a 24 case of water. Keep it on your hotel. 

4.Extra Clothes- Sometimes they have accidents, spill food, or get wet. Bring an extra change for clothes for those kids!

5.Baby Carrier- Even if you have the stroller and your kid can still fit in a baby carrier I would bring it. It was a life saver while waiting in line for rides. Maya would catch a snooze or wasn't able to run away!

6.Sun Screen- I left mine in the car and ended up paying $15 for it at the park! 

7.Cash- Impulse buying and tipping people

8. Know the parks- I downloaded a Disneyland App that listed all the wait times for the rides in both parks. It was really nice to have!  If you can, try to go to once area of the park at a time so you don't have to walk a thousand miles that day. There is also an app you can download for $15 called RIDEMAX. I guess it maps out the best and quickest way to get on the rides that you want to with out wasting time. 

9. Don't try to cram a both parks into one day. Unless you are only going for one day, go until your kids can't go anymore!  Take time and let them enjoy things. Don't force them to ride anything or meet anyone they don't want too. You want them to enjoy it!

10. Kid Leash- I really wish I brought one of these. Broc (my husband) thought it would look stupid. It probably one, but we ended up chasing our one year old around everywhere! Next time I got to the zoo or a place like this, I am GETTING ONE! My two year old stayed close by, so I wouldn't get one for her. 

11. Waiting in line- If the line is going to be long, some kids (most) get impatient. Bring something to entertain them while in line. Suckers, play I spy, candy, or maybe even a game on your phone.  Strollers are not allowed in lines so that is where the baby carrier was very nice to have!

12. FASTPASSES!- Get them while you can! I know the Cars was gone first thing in the morning! That wait was almost 2 hours. Our little girl wasn't tall enough anyway. 

13. MEETING CHARACTERS/PRINCESSES- I don't think they are set any specific place or time. I  think they just show up. Although, the only reason we ended up going to California Adventure is because that is where Anna & Elsa are. You do have to get a fast pass to meet them. So when you go into the park as a worker where you can get them. Then run as fast as you can.

On my way to Cali, I tried to do as much research as I could in order to get the most out of our time there. I follow this awesome blogger who has a ton of tips and tricks on Disney! She did a three part series and if I was actually planning a trip then it would help out so much! Check out her blog at 

I am no pro and obviously do not know everything, but once again these are just some things that I learned!

Last section! Road trips with kids are not easy. Prepare for stops, tantrums, screaming babies, and no sleep for mom or dad. Dad is usually driving and mom is entertain the kids or as soon as she falls a sleep a kid will need something!

Here are my tips/ticks and lessons learned for road trips. My kids are 2.5 years old and 11 months. 

1. Pack Activities- Pack some new things for your kids. Some things that work great are WaterWows. They are really fun and cheap. Especially if they are new to your kid. They are like $5 on Amazon, Kid to Kid, or even The Learning Express store. Anything like that, kids love. Crayons just get lost in the car. I promise, look these up and they are awesome and mess free! Ever kid is different so it is hard to think of what would entertain each kid. My 11 month old could care less about toys and just wants what ever her sister is playing with. She did enjoy a toy phone every once in a while. There are also some little magnet activities that would be easy. If you search for travel toys on Amazon, a ton of ideas will pop up!

2. Tablet- Is my 2.5 year old the only one who has no idea how to work one? Not that it's a bad thing because...SHE IS TWO YEARS OLD.. but it was really annoying. Plus I had no kid games on my tablet before this trip. So my tip is...download everything before you leave. Trying to download them in the car was horrible. Buy/rent a few movies. I TOTALLY RECOMMEND buying the apps that you download. There is nothing worse than having to turn around every 5 seconds because your tiny toddlers fingers keep pressing the adds. Download games that they will like and know how to work. 

3. Pillows- If you kid has a car seat that doesn't have a million headrest, then I would get a travel pillow or a small one for the car ride. Lexi had a hard time sleeping because she couldn't rest her head. I will bring one next time! Also bring their blanket and favorite stuffed animal for the car. 

4. Hotels- Try to find a good deal. If you are going to the beach for the first few days then find a hotel close to the beach. You don't have to be in walking distance,but it is nice to be close.  I do recommend finding a hotel by Disney that is walking distance. We paid $17 FOR PARKING! There are a ton of hotels around Disney that you can walk from. Just don't stay at the Super 8 close to Disney. It had NO HOT WATER!  Don't be afraid of a Motel. They are not a scary/ghetto as you think. Plus it is easier to unload/load up into because your car can be parked right outside. Also, I would pay for a hotel that has some type of free breakfast. The one we stayed at (Super 8) was horrible. Yeah, it was free but it was all sugar pastries and yogurt. 

5. Before booking- Before booking your hotel- look at what is around it. Pull up the map and see what fast food places, grocery stores, or gas stations are near you! I didn't even think of this! We we stayed in Newport, there was NOTHING around us. We had Mcdonalds and nasty breakfast burritos!  Everything was a sit down joint or just way to pricey. You don't want to end up driving around for a hour with a hungry family and end up miles away from your hotel.

6. Bring your own food- Depending on how long you are staying, either make a trip to the closest Walmart or bring food with you. Some of the things I brought were the individual cups of fruit-like Mandarin oranges. My girls love green beans, so I brought some of those individual cups of those too. They were a good little snack. Bring some popcorn for a movie night, individual packed mini muffins. They are not super healthy, but a good breakfast/snack on the go. Easy Mac or Ramen if your hotel has a microwave. That could be a dinner and save you $20 for dinner or lunch! Take some PB&J for a sand which. Lexi really wanted pizza one night so we went to Target (which is really close to Disney) and bought a frozen one for $1.19 and that was her dinner! Brilliant! Most of the fridges are not cold enough to freeze anything or equipped for dairy products, but you could buy one to two frozen meals for your kids and cook them right away. Next time, I will be doing that. Our 11 month old will be old enough to eat those kids of foods for a meal, and it would save so much money. I love saving money.

7.Traveling with food- I think it would be a good idea to put all your food in a plastic bin of some sorts rather than a plastic bag. This way it is easy to move and not getting smashed or falling out all the time.

8. Dish soap- Why didn't I think of this? Sippy cups and bottles need to be washed! So...bring a bottle brush and some dish soap.

9.Paper Products- Grab some paper plates, napkins, utensils, and bowels!  

I can't think of too much more that I want to add. Some of these things I never would of thought of. Next time we go, I really want to be more prepared. 
Hopefully this checklist will help me and you! Please share your ideas.