68 Tips For Traveling With Kids You Have to Know

tips for traveling with kids

Summer vacations or family reunions are a part of life that all parents want to enjoy. Traveling with kids can be a difficult proposition. Kids can make what was once a quick flight or a simple drive into a complicated and stressful trip. Taking the time to plan, and go through our traveling with kids tips can make your trips much less stressful. With a little forethought and some ingenuity traveling with children can be something that you look back on happily for the rest of your life.

Knowing how to travel with kids is a skill that all parents need to learn. Our tips for traveling with kids will get you started on the path to mastering the skills you need to know. All parents will travel with children at some point. Traveling with small children doesn’t have to be a horror story. Follow our tips and your trip will be smooth sailing. Most families travel by air or by car, so we will focus on these two means of transportation.

General tips for traveling with children

General tips for traveling with children

  • Take your time, nothing increases stress during a trip than trying to rush small children. One of the best travel tips with kids in mind is to build extra time in your schedule for the delays children will add.
  • Have a good plan, that includes the things that your kids need during your trip.
  • Be flexible enough that when your plan has to change that you can accommodate whatever happens and still enjoy your trip.
  • If your kids are old enough give them a camera to take their own pictures. This keeps them interested in things and you can end up with some pictures you will treasure forever.
  • Be prepared for the climate you are going to end up in as well as the one you are leaving. Remember to pack coats in places that you can get to easily when you are going from a warm climate to a cold one.
  • Let kids use a phone or a tablet during trips to keep them occupied. Just because you didn’t have one when you were young doesn’t mean it is bad parenting to let your kids use one.
  • Use a child locator system when you will be in a crowd. These are usually watch-like devices that alert you when your child has gotten too far away. They also allow for two-way communication and directional guidance to your child.
  • Pack any medications that your children need in places you can get to easily. This can be in your bag or in the glovebox of your car, anywhere that you don’t have to unpack to get at.
  • Have games ready before you travel. Make a list of games that can be done without electronics in case they fail. The old games of 20 questions and I-Spy will still keep kids occupied without electronics.
  • If you are traveling with toddlers make sure to write contact information on a card in your child’s pocket.
  • If you have multiple children, make sure you have the same toys for each. Your goal is to reduce the kids fighting over one specific toy for half the trip while you try to play referee.
  • Avoid messy treats or those that melt in your kid’s hands. Stick to dry treats and avoid chocolate and other treats that melt easily.
  • Select toys that don’t have pieces to lose or have to keep track of during the trip. If you do bring along a toy with pieces use individual zip-loc type bags to keep them organized.
  • Bring individual crayon boxes for kids to color with instead of one large box that they will fight over.
  • One of the more useful travel tips for kids is to pack extra outfits in plastic bags, and use the plastic bags for the dirty clothes they replace.
  • Make sure your child’s passport won’t expire sooner than 3 months after your trip ends. Many countries require you to have leeway on your passport to travel into the country. Check your destination’s consulate page for details.
  • Traveling kids need to have the proper paperwork that an adult would need. Scan your child’s important documents and email them to yourself, include shot records and birth certificates.
  • Make sure you have the proper paperwork if your child is adopted or you are traveling without the other parent. Include adoption papers and written permission from the other parent to take a child into the country if they are not with you.
  • Prepare kids for bad circumstances and let downs. Have backup plans for rainy days, park closures, and relatives needing to change your schedule.
  • Another one of the best tips for traveling with children is to let kids pack a small toy pack of their own, this will let them feel like they are part of the planning for the trip.
  • Use surprise gifts to celebrate certain milestones of the trip, this works for border crossings or getting airborne.
  • Come up with scavenger hunt type games to keep kids occupied while you are waiting in lines.
  • Stick to one hotel instead of moving around mid-trip. Giving your kids a sense of stability can help them cope with the chaos of being on a trip. It’s easier on you too since you won’t have to pack and unpack your children repeatedly.
  • Make sure your hotel has the amenities you need to be comfortable since you will be stuck in the hotel during naptime and after bedtimes.
  • Plan to eat earlier than you normally might when going to restaurants, avoid the rush and eat a little earlier than the crowds will.
  • Use museums and monuments for rainy day explorations, these are great backup plan resources and can be visited no matter the weather outside.
  • Make sure to do things your kids will enjoy during the trip, put these into your schedule in various places between the things the grownups want to do.
  • Prearrange and use a reputable babysitting service in the area, if you have family in the area use the same babysitter they use. If you are going to an area where you don’t know anyone, ask if the hotel has daycare, or use resources like care.com to find reputable childcare with a background check.
  • Purchase a ride-on luggage option for your kids to ride on when they get tired. Ride-on luggage options are made to allow a child to ride on them or be pulled along by a parent.
  • Avoid overwhelming kids with too many activities, don’t stuff so much into one day that your child just ends up exhausted and not enjoying the trip.
  • If your child has a medical condition or allergies make sure they have a medical alert bracelet on at all times during the trip.
  • Make sure to check and see if where you are traveling is a malaria zone, if so take the appropriate precautions including medicines and mosquito netting for every member of the family.
  • Traveling with kids tips include safety in strange places. Always make a point of selecting an “if you get lost” place to return to. Make it someplace easily seen and ensure kids know it.
  • If tap water is unsafe make plans to boil the water, or use sterilization tablets. Plug in tea pots can usually boil water to make it safe. Remember that kids are more susceptible to pathogens in drinking water than adults are.

Tips for flying with kids

tips for flying with kids

  • One of the more simple travel with kids tips is to bring 1-2 days of clothing for your child in your carry-on bag in case your luggage gets lost.
  • Bring a backpack of toys to keep children occupied during the flight, shoot for one toy for every half hour of the flight.
  • One of the more important tips for flying with a toddler is to arrive early. Give yourself time for things to go wrong with maneuvering your child through the line and security checks.
  • When traveling with young children use caution with cute bags that are difficult to manage as you are dealing with your child.
  • Have each child’s bag hold their own supplies, this reduces your load, and keeps things straight for what toys and snacks are for each child.
  • Pack more than you think you will need of diapers, wipes, and any other necessary supplies when traveling with a baby.
  • Keep an extra bottle and formula for babies just in case you lose one.
  • Pack an extra spit up rag because you never know when you may need it.
  • Nursing mothers should remember to have a light blanket to cover up during breast feeding.
  • Bring an extra set of clothes for each child onto the plan so you can change them if they spill.
  • Keep a bag for trash, this cuts down on asking flight attendants to take away snack trash.
  • When traveling with a toddler let them play as much as possible before the flight since they will be stuck in the seat the whole time.
  • Consider a sling for carrying your baby instead of a stroller. This leaves both hands free and packs up into a much smaller space.
  • Make sure everyone uses the bathroom, and you change diapers before you board a flight.
  • Travel with toddler sized spill proof cups for your children to use during the flight.
  • Give children gum or something to suck on during the flight, especially the take-off and landing. Children can be more susceptible to the pressure changes for take-off and landings.
  • Be prepared to go through security with children. Wear as little jewelry as possible, slip on shoes, no belts, and have very little in your handbag.
  • Pack warmer clothes for your children than you think you need, planes can be colder than you think.
  • Board at the final call, not the first chance. Although they offer pre-boarding, that can add almost half an hour to the time your child has to be sitting. This is a great tactic if you have a whole block of seats on the plan and won’t have to move past anyone else.
  • Explore the airport during layovers, it can be interesting and also helps burn off any restless energy the kids may have.

Traveling with kids tips for drivers

tips for driving with kids

  • As you plan your trip one of the better tips for travelling with kids is to pack a set of clothes for each child to change into that is in a separate suitcase that you can pull out easily.
  • Keep a pillow and blanket for each child in the car if there is room. If there isn’t room inside the car try to pack these in between suitcases so you can grab them quickly if needed.
  • When travelling with young children have a roll of paper towels handy for the inevitable spills that will occur in the car.
  • Purchase a seat cover for where your kids are in the car to avoid having to worry about spills and stains when travelling with toddlers.
  • Have a list of games to play that you think of before the trip. When you are in the car it can sometimes make it hard to remember those great games you thought of for your family trip.
  • A good idea when travelling with small children is to ride in the back with your child instead of next to the driver to make sure you can reach your child easily.
  • Build in extra time at stops for gas for kids to use the bathroom, cleaning up messes, and buying snacks or treats for good behavior.
  • Make some stops along the way just to let the children out to roam. A good ratio is 15 minutes for every 2-3 hours of driving when traveling with a child.
  • Have an overnight suitcase, so when stopping for the night you don’t have to unpack the whole car this is especially true when travelling with toddlers.
  • Always have wipes handy, keep them in your glovebox.
  • Buy extra rear view mirrors to let you see what is going on in the back seats.
  • When travelling with children have enough rechargers and cords to charge at least half the devices you are going to be using for entertainment at the same time. If possible have the ability to charge all the devices at once.
  • If your children are old enough to keep headphones on, have headphones for your dvd player, tablets, or phones.
  • Travel over the night while kids are more likely to spend the time asleep. This works well for younger children that won’t be interested in the scenery.

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