Tips for Traveling with Kids
Whether you’re dreading a 15-hour flight with your infant or you’re wondering what your 10-year-old will do in the car for eight hours, the idea of traveling with kids can seem horrifying. But whether your kids are learning to walk or learning to read, there are tons of ways to prepare them for a long trip and keep them busy during the long stretch. Here are a few of our favorite tips for traveling with little ones in tow.
Set Realistic Expectations
First and foremost, it’s important to set expectations for you and your kids about what the trip will entail. If your kids are older, make sure they know what to expect on their first flight, what kinds of food there will be, what they’ll be able to do. Kids love routine, and travel really throws a wrench in that system, so make sure they have a good idea of what’s to come. Use this as an opportunity to teach them about airplanes or the location you’re traveling to.
Let Them Join in the Preparations
To you, preparing for a trip is chaotic and busy — but for new travelers, the anticipation can be exciting. Let them have a say in what books to bring, or show them your travel hacks for how to pack a suitcase. Not only is this a great way to prepare them for the trip, but it also lets you get things done without a tornado following in your path.
Give Yourself Extra Time
Think you’ll be able to make it to a connecting flight in a half-hour? Don’t risk it. Give yourself — and your kids — plenty of time to get from Point A to Point B, with some leisurely strolling in between. You never know when you need to make an extra stop at the bathroom, pick up a pack of diapers or just take a walk through the airport to blow off some energy. You’ll thank yourself later for not putting yourself in a pinch.
All. The. Snacks.
We know it, we live by it — kids are the ultimate example of hangry. You may think that bringing plenty of games to play with or books to read is the most important thing, but you’ll rethink that assumption when your 2-year-old throws a fit because she doesn’t want the crackers that she always asks for. Bring more than you think you need, and consider bringing some special treats so that the excitement of the trip stays in the green.
Go with the Flow
Spontaneous adventurers rejoice! Traveling with kids means things happen. Johnny will leave is blanket on the bus seat, Suzie will need a serious nap; even though you were planning on going to that museum, sometimes you just need to take a break. But going with the flow doesn’t always mean sacrificing the fun stuff; sometimes, your kids can lead you to places you never would have experienced. If there’s something they want to do, go with it! They’ll be much more enjoyable to travel with if they get to experience the fun too.
- Lifestyle Staff