Traveling with children can be tricky, especially when they are young because if anything they can be more demanding than ever. We are here to help you with some travel tips with kids to make your holiday season easier to manage. Just remember these key-words. Stay calm and carry-on.
Talk with them about the trip
Children tend to become uncomfortable when new things are happening to them. So to avoid unnecessary stress for both you and your kids it is better if you explain to them about the trip beforehand. But what to explain? Where you are going, for example, how you are going to get there (whether it is on a plane or by bus). Furthermore, tell them what to expect, that they’ll see lots of people and new exciting things and that it will be faster than usual. Also, explain to them how to act on planes, in hotels and on tours. Try explaining what the appropriate behavior is but don’t forget that they are kids and that you shouldn’t have any expectations.
By doing these kinds of things, traveling with children will be much easier.
Plenty of time!
The next tip for traveling with kids is to have spare hours. When you are traveling with kids, it feels like time slows down. And of course, they are children, they get distracted, throw tantrums and do anything that can slow you down. In order to avoid missed flight, leave extra hours before taking off. That way you’ll have plenty of time if you are buying snacks or when you are checking in at the airport and getting through security.
This is maybe one of the best travel tips with children
When traveling with children, first, you have to check-in, drop your bags and give the kids rest. This is highly recommended if the trip was long and the rest is needed for both you and your kids. Also, this will help you avoid needless quarrels with them and will contribute to a smoother family travel.
Hotel vs Apartment
Keep in mind that in some locations it is better if you stay at a hotel, but for some, an apartment is more suitable. In addition to this, sometimes the price can differ so you can check that out too. Honestly, being in an apartment will make the experience much more authentic, because you’ll feel like you are a local there so definitely consider it as an option.
Best of both worlds
Beach and pool!? What can be more exciting for a kid? Children usually are big fans of pools and you have to consider booking a place with pool available.
The next travel tips with kids include some ideas on
What to pack?
Learn to simplify when packing. Cramming lots of stuff will make your life harder as you are carrying a lot of extra weight, and you have that much more to keep track of. Less is more, so try packing only necessities for you and your kids on your family travel. Even if something is missing you can always fetch it at the place you are visiting.
- Keep an extra copy of your travel itinerary. This will help you to stay more organized. Also, a great resource to have when needed in a hurry to glance at.
- Chargers for any all electronics. Even if you’re not by any outlets, these can be your saving grace. Also, make sure all your electronics are fully charged and ready to go.
If you are traveling with babies or toddlers here are some tips on what to bring with you:
- Baby wipes of all shapes and sizes. That’s what it feels like anyway. These are a must! I would assume it is pretty self-explanatory.
- Extra diapers/pull-ups
- Extra Ziploc bags! They help keep anything and everything contained. Great for a smelling barrier as well. Use for leftover snack packages. The possibilities are endless.
- Help them equalize their ears
Kid pack with things to keep them busy. You could include:
- Paper /coloring book
- Twisty crayons/markers/or mechanical pencils (don’t need to sharpen them)
- Travel pillow/sleep mask for all the lights at night
- A special surprise you got them. (Not necessary but would probably make them smile).
Just as you would wear certain things when camping or going to the beach, when traveling, you never know what kind of surprises you will be in for. So first things first. Dress your kids and yourself in comfortable clothing. This will one of the best things you can do. Avoid things that are restricting or things that don’t breathe well. Your bodies will thank you when you’re sitting for hours on end. Try and wear layers, that way you can take things off and on easier. And all of the family members should wear comfortable shoes!
For a happier family, some snacks must always be around. You don’t want your kids getting all cranky because they are hungry, do you? So to avoid that bring easy to pack food, that will not get everything messy and is easy to consume during the trip. Furthermore, if you are traveling with your children by plane, you can preorder children’s food, this will spare you lots of worries.
For more snacks ideas check out our “Road Trip With Kids” article.
Just as you would wear certain things when camping or going to the beach, when traveling, you never know what kind of surprises you will be in for. So first things first. Dress in comfortable clothing. This will one of the best things you can do. Avoid things that are restricting or things that don’t breathe well. Your body will thank you when you’re sitting for hours on end. Try and wear layers, that way you can take things off and on easier. And wear comfortable shoes!
Yes! There are such things and don’t forget to always ask for them if the place allows it. Here are some ideas where you might use such discounts on your family travel:
- Transportation (public around the city or buses and trains)
- Private guides
- Attraction entrance fees
- Restaurants (some have kids eat free promotions)
Safe and security measures
Here’s a list of some travel tips with kids regarding their safety:
Keep track of your child
Obvious, but important to mention again. No matter if things go smoothly or the whole trip is a disaster, always make sure you know where your children are. They are kids and can easily wander off if you are just distracted for a second. Keep them close to you, hold their hand as much as possible and always line them in your sight. Further idea is to attach a GPS tracker to a secure place on their clothes. That way, if the kid is a wanderer you’ll know exactly where it is or if he/she has walked too far from you.
Arm them with your contact info
Accidents happen all the time, so to be even more prepared arm them with your contact info. It can be a small laminated card, for example, that includes all of the following items:
- Telephone number
- Local address
In addition to these measures, you can sit them down and have a talk on how to deal if you lose track of each other on your family travel. (This is helpful if the child is a bit older.)
Further travel tips with kids
First aid kit
- A must-have on your travel and a good kit should include
- Painkillers (suitable for children)
- Allergy medicines
- Motion sickness medicine
- Hand sanitizer
Keep in mind that if your children or you take any treatment medications they should instantly be packed for your trip.
If any of your family members have special needs, be ready to talk about them on your trip. To be prepared, search some words on the language of the country you are visiting that can help you with the explanation of the special needs. Also, print out and laminate cards in both English and the local language that include info about the special need.
When you travel with children, always check the country you are visiting and if it requires some additional paperwork. Some countries require the birth certificate in order for you to prove that you are the parent and have the right to leave or enter the country.
The proper paperwork is crucial if you are traveling as a single parent or that the kids are not yours. In both cases, countries will ask for documentation to prove that you have permission to travel with them.
Required documentation may include:
- Birth certificates
- Copies of birth certificates
- Notes from the child’s non-present parents
- Other items
If you are traveling to another country these documentations may need to be notarized and available in English and the country’s language.
Fun times on your family travel
To keep a child calm and entertained is not an easy job, especially if the trip is long and tiring. So to try your best in keeping them happy consider taking some of these with you:
Give your kid a camera
Maybe one of the best travel tips with kids out there and maybe you’ll be curious to find out their perspective on things. It doesn’t need to be an expensive DSL, believe me, a point and shoot camera will satisfy them just enough. Also, they’ll feel like explorers and who knows maybe you are looking at a new famous photographer.
Travel journals (especially for older kids)
Not only encouraging them to develop their thinking and writing skills but also contributing to a more memorable experience. Such travel tip is very creative. Imagine, years after a trip they find their travel journal with all the writings, cards from your trip and drawings. Wouldn’t that be exciting?
Books and toys
There are lots of activity books that’ll help their skills development and toys that can keep them entertained for a long period of time.
This is the last in the list because it is better if we minimalize their usage for the sake of their development. Of course, completely avoiding them is impossible and if used properly they have more benefits than disadvantages. It would be appropriate to use them in long car rides, flights or queues. Your kids are sure to be amused.
Travel tips with kids on a plane
You know your child best and from that, you can decide if it’s more appropriate to travel at night or during the day. Prices differ so they’ll probably play a part but if they are close maybe try adjusting them to your kid’s sleep schedule so you can have a quieter flight.
It’s important to have longer layovers during your family travel because kids will need their rest. Furthermore, you’ll be able to take care of any needs and still have time to walk to your next flight gate.
Make sure that your family is signed up for TSA Pre-Check. This check will give you access to a shorter line where you have and expedited security scan. You won’t need to remove laptops, liquids, shoes, and jackets.
Have your kids carry their bags
Of course, they can’t do that if are still very little, but the older kids can. Not only you won’t have to carry all of the luggage but they’ll feel a sense of responsibility.
Bring comfortable headphones
All the noises during a flight can stress out the kids more, so it is better to bring with yourself comfortable and if possible noise-canceling headphones. That way they can enjoy some music or relaxing sounds.
Be prepared for delays
Nobody likes detours, road closers, flights being canceled, or delayed. Try and make the best of things. Realize sometimes you can’t control every little detail, even with the best of planning. Just try and stay upbeat and not show signs of stress. Make the best of the situation.
- Watch a movie together on your electronic device.
- Remember those snacks and activities, now is the time to use them.
- Explore whatever is around you, make it fun.
- Try going somewhere to sit down and eat.
- Play a game together.
- Sing songs
When traveling with your children, there is sure to be a lot of walking that they won’t be able to endure so it is crucial to have scheduled some rests along your trip. Some examples are:
- Have a rest at a park
- A movie at the local theater
- Feeding the pigeons while sitting on a bench
- Anything else that’ll let you and your family rest
Further entertainment while on the location
A great way to reduce walking on foot and, also experience the location you are in as if you were a local. Surely, the kids will be amazed by the various means of transports. So you too.
Let them choose
This is a very important tip for when traveling with children because when they get older they want their voice to be heard. Remember that this trip is not just for yourself but for your kids too. Give your kids a list of several activities, explain them and let them choose what they would like to most. What is more, this is a great way to make them feel important, included and encourage independence form an early age.
Flow like a river
Don’t forget that you are traveling with children and anything can go wrong and not according to plan so you must remain flexible. This is just a list to help you in preparing for your travel with children but there will always be some unexpected situations. And that is perfectly okay after all, your family is there for the experience and bonding.
Take time to enjoy and soak it all in. Children grow up fast. And the more prepared you are the happier you and your children will be. Besides, children love all the excitement of traveling and family traveling is such a great way to broaden their horizons and make precious memories.
What are some travel tips with kids you would love to share?