Pro Tips for Traveling with Young Children

by GO GlobeHopper

It’s understandable that many parents dread the idea of traveling with their young children and therefore avoid it.  But with a little forethought and creativity, there are ways to make a trip fun for kids and less stressful for adults.  Here are some pro tips that will assist in creating a better vacation experience for the whole family.


Speed Through the Airport

If flying, pack light with carry-on bags if possible to avoid the long wait in the baggage-check line. You will also avoid the fees associated with checked luggage and the possibility of the airlines losing your bags.

Keep tabs on your flight status online via the airline’s website or with your favorite travel app. Often, you’ll find the option to check in online, skipping even more airport wait time. Saving time when flying can go a long way toward keeping the whole family happy.

Plan Activities for Along the Way

Long drives can lead to restless kids, as well as adults.  So, if you’re planning a road trip, or will do some driving after you reach your destination by plane, do some research ahead of time to discover unusual roadside attractions and places to stop along the way.  Pulling off the road for a scenic park, a family picnic at a rest area, or at an attraction will help everyone to stretch their legs, get some fresh air, and use the washroom facilities while breaking up the monotony of being inside the car.

Have Snacks on Hand

Nothing can alter a mood faster than a rumbly tummy.  Energy and enthusiasm quickly drain when children – and adults – are hungry. So for everyone’s sake, pack snacks that are easy to eat while on the go, and will fill the gap until you get to your destination or are able to stop for a meal.  Make sure most snacks are healthy, but remember to add a few cookies or a bag of chips – after all, it’s your kids’ vacation, too, and it’s meant to be fun.  Granola bars, trail mix, crackers, (string cheese if you have a cooler), and juice boxes or bottled water are all great choices.

Keep Kids Busy

Whether en route in a plane, train, or automobile, the key to keeping kids happy is to keep them engaged.  A game, stuffed animal, or activity book will help to keep the little ones entertained. A dollar store is a good place to purchase these items – they usually have a variety of small toys and activities, plus they are inexpensive.

For kids that are a little older, consider books, an e-reader, or a tablet with pre-loaded games or movies.  And let them listen to their favorite music with a pair of headphones.

If your children are old enough to write, give them a notebook to create a travel journal where they can write down details of the trip.  For younger kids that want to partake in the same exercise as their older brother or sister, let them scribble in a separate notebook.  Older children might want to buy some postcards to add to their writing, to turn the memories into a scrapbook.

Take Photos

Give your children an inexpensive digital camera, a disposable camera, or possibly an old cell phone, and let them get creative with their own photos. This will allow them to document their experiences as THEY see them.  A toy camera will appease a younger child.  Older children might appreciate printing some of the photos to add to their travel journals when they get home.

Pick and Choose Your Battles

If you say no to everything your child wants to see or do on vacation you will undoubtedly ruin their experience, as well as your own because there will be tears and arguments.  However, if you say yes to everything your child wants, you’ll miss out on the things YOU want to see, plus your well-laid plans for vacation will go awry, and you’ll likely end up broke.  So do your best to negotiate with your children, letting them know that if you say “yes” to one thing, you will have to forego the other.  Ideally, this will nudge them in the direction of choosing one thing and cooperating with you.

Remember that young children become overly excited as well as easily overtired when surrounded by so many unfamiliar stimuli, so do your best to keep them on a similar schedule as at home when it comes to meal times and bedtime.

*** If traveling with babies and/or toddlers, items like a car seat, stroller, high chair, crib, or playpen will likely be on your packing list. Make the trip easier and less cumbersome with equipment rentals from BabyQuip. They will gather everything you need and will deliver it to your destination, allowing you to pack light.  BabyQuip provides parents with a clean, safe, and trustworthy service, and welcomes you to the world of stress-free family travel!

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