Tricks for Keeping Your Kid (Slightly) Cleaner on Vacation

Children can wreck a hotel room or family car better than most rock stars, so make sure to pack some extra supplies.

airplane seat
If these seats could talk, they’d say, “Please go easy on us.”Shutterstock

Not to sound like an infomercial, but traveling with kids can be full of mess and stress. Many a family car has been filled with crumbs and unidentifiable odors during and especially after road trips, and a lot of airplane seats will never be the same after fruit juice boxes, apple sauce pouches and—let’s face it—much worse have been spilt and poured in places that cannot easily be cleaned.

The good news is that there are basic items you can bring along in your bags so you can at least try to keep your little one’s clothes cleaner and your nostrils protected from an evening playing every parent’s least favorite game: What’s That Smell?!?!

A Sprayable Force Field

Kid Proof
Kid ProofAmazon

When it comes to protecting a car’s interior from spills and stains, there’s really no difference between your family car and a rental. Either way, spills mean trouble and trouble sometimes means less money to spend on vacation, depending on security deposits and cleaning bills.

A protectant spray like Kid Proof is as much a convenient bottle to keep in your travel bag as it is peace of mind, as it uses "nanotechnology-based" ingredients to bond to material with the goal of making everything just a little safer from messy children. While there's no such thing as completely safe when it comes to your child's messes, Kid Proof did prove to be a great first line of defense against mushy cereal bars and yogurt pouches when we tested it on a recent car ride.

Did Someone Mention Odors?

smell-proof bags
Smelly Proof’s plastic bagsAmazon

Parents are always good at finding new ways to use random items, especially when it comes to getting kids through a potentially messy situation. Where some people see ordinary scotch tape, parents see a lint roller or a last-ditch way to keep a shirt tear from getting worse. We're like MacGyver but with way less sleep. Smelly Proof's plastic bags are a perfect example of this. These reusable, reinforced storage bags are perfect for meal prep, packing snacks, or even bringing home fresh catches from a fishing and/or camping trip. But if you're in need of locking in really bad odors, like the ones that come from kids, why not rely on something that's heavy duty? You'll be kept safe from wet, dirty and even soiled clothes that can't simply be tossed in the trash with Smelly Proof's 100 percent odor-free bags.

You're Going to Need More Wipes

hand wipes
Babyganics Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizing WipesAmazon

Parenting 101: There is no such thing as too many wipes. Most parents end up looking like birthday party magicians with the way they keep pulling wipes from their bags, but we all know these cleaning supplies might be the most important items in any bag. That's why we buy them in bulk (a pack of four is a good start, but probably not enough for your road trip or vacation) and keep them placed strategically throughout our homes. Alcohol-free hand-sanitizing wipes are a parent's most valuable tool in the war against keeping messy hands from ruining car seats and nice dress clothes.