When you have kids, everything you do becomes a bit more challenging. You are no longer just worrying about yourself and your own well-being, but that of the kids, too. They need to eat, they get bored, they don’t feel good. And, it never fails, they want to cry when you need them to be quiet and they want to run around when you need them to sit still. Nothing is more stressful or challenging than traveling with kids.
Despite all of the frustrations, kids can make life more enjoyable – including your vacations. All you need to do is try to remain organized and prepared for anything. Then, no matter what you come face to face with, you will be ready.
So, before you stress out about your next travel excursion with the kiddos, take these tips into consideration. These 7 tips for traveling with kids will allow the entire family to enjoy the destination and focus on making only the happiest of memories.
1. Always have snacks.
While kids may not always eat when they sit down at the dinner table, they surely get wide-eyed at the sight of their favorite snacks. So, make sure you pack them – lots of them. How often do you hear the phrase, “I’m hungry,” or “can I have a snack?” There are few things worse than hearing those phrases and not having a crumb of anything within reach.
Plan and prepare a lunch bag or cooler (depending on how you are traveling) with all sorts of their favorite snacks. Keep these snacks easy to access and easy to eat, such as crackers, fruits, etc. In other words, you don’t want anything that is going to require things such as a microwave, a plate with cutlery, and so forth.
2. Create your own first-aid kit when traveling with kids.
Kids know how to play hard and, when they do, they are bound to get hurt. Some kids just hurt without even playing hard. Because, let’s face it – if you need them to be well and healthy, they will likely get sick. It’s just how the world with kids works.
Since you know your child best, leave the pre-made first-aid kits at the store and, instead, create your own. Put in all the things that you would use at home should an issue arise. And, if possible, visit your local drugstore or discount store to see if trial or travel size portions are available.
Some things to consider:
When traveling with kids, you never know what issues or ailments may occur. By creating your own first-aid kit based on the specific needs of your kids, you will be prepared for anything.
3. Give them a bag and let them pack it.
We aren’t talking about packing clothes here. That could be a recipe for disaster – especially if your child is young. Instead, we are referring to the bag that will contain all the exciting things to do while traveling. Such as coloring books, favorite toys, movies, etc.
Kids may be kids, but they like to feel as though they have a bit of say in things. Some even want to feel in charge. By giving the kids a bag to pack, you are making them feel involved. Plus, since it is a bag that is going to be filled with the things they will want to use – who knows what to put in it better than the kid him/herself?
And, if it makes you feel better, go ahead and check it (or re-arrange it) when you are out of sight.
4. Its all in how you get there.
Next time you’re traveling with kids, how are you planning to get to your destination? Road trips are fun, but can be long and tiresome for everyone involved. Traveling with small children on airlines can be a bit frustrating for everyone. Not only are you worried about your child’s comfort while in-flight, but you will also likely worry about the comments and glares from the passengers seated around you. Mentally prepare yourself if this is your travel method.
Alternatively, consider taking a charter flight. These can get you close to your destination, are more affordable than you think, and can give you comforts that you won’t find on a commercial flight packed with passengers.
5. Keep a loose itinerary.
Being flexible while traveling with kids is probably the best thing that you can do. You never know when a cranky mood will strike, a tummy-ache will happen, or distracted attention will pop up. Sometimes it is not always easy for a kid to follow the same busy schedule as an adult. Forcing them to will only lead to further complications.
In preparing your travel itinerary, leave some wiggle room. Allow for a few extra minutes of giggle time in the morning or a stop at the park or a bit of playtime in the afternoon. Your kids will thank you.
6. Schedule something for the kids.
It is important to remember that your travels are not solely about you. You are traveling with kids – so it becomes about them, too. While you may want to see the museums, go mountain climbing, and hear your favorite author speak about his latest book – your kids may be yawning.
Do your research on the destination before you go so that you can plan something for the kids to enjoy, too. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but choosing to see a show they may like, visit and explore local parks, or hit up some of the most popular tourist traps.
Everyone deserves to have a little fun on the vacation.
This is, by far, the most important tip listed. The more stressed and worked up you are, the more out of character your kids will be. Every normal routine your family has gets disrupted while you are on vacation. This is bound to lead to some stressful moments. But, by mentally forcing yourself to relax and breathe, then you can keep any situation calm and enjoyable.
When you find yourself struggling to maintain your composure, try this simple task:
- Step away.
- Close your eyes.
- Take 10 slow, deep breaths.
Traveling with kids is rewarding and fun, but it can also be hard – especially on the kids. The changes in normal routines can be eased by being prepared, bring flexible, and free of stress.