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Tips for Traveling with Young Children

Traveling with young kids isn’t easy. Not only do they have more stuff to pack, but you have to worry about how to keep them safe and entertained while traveling long distances, which can be quite boring for young children. Even if you have the most well-behaved children, traveling is still stressful for everyone. Little ones don’t have the patience for standing in airport security or may become fearful on planes. Meanwhile, traveling by car or train can be just as difficult. Family vacations can be stressful, but they can also be fun and exciting for children. So wherever you’re going, we’ve put together some tips to help make traveling easier with young children. Let’s get started.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Book Early Departures

Avoiding delays is key when traveling with children; you want to get to your destination as soon as possible to avoid crankiness. Early morning flights are also much less crowded, and most of the travelers will be just as tired as you are, so they won’t make too much of a commotion. In addition, if you book an early enough departure, your child will likely fall asleep on the ride, making it easier for everyone.

Avoid flights with layovers that leave your child waiting for hours without a proper nap when possible. In addition, avoiding crankiness is a necessity when traveling with young children who are more prone to outbursts.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Talk to Your Children

Going anywhere new for the first time can be scary to children, so the best thing you can do is set their expectations and help them understand every part of the process, even if they’re very young. For example, if you’re traveling on a plane, you can teach them everything about the airport, including baggage check-ins, ticketing, onboarding, and safety. Meanwhile, if you’re traveling in a car, you can tell them what time you expect to arrive at your destination and allow them to track it on a clock if they can tell time.

Pack Enough Essentials

Parents should always pack enough essentials for their children on the flight. There aren’t great snack options available at all times, so it’s best to bring snacks your kids can enjoy while they play games on a tablet or other games. If you’re traveling with toddlers, always bring more diapers than you expect to need to ensure you won’t run into any problems.

Airlines are also limited in what they provide to make children (and adults) comfortable, so it’s important to bring anything that can help your child feel more at ease, like their favorite weighted blanket. Since going to a new place can be stressful for children and exacerbate underlying health conditions, you should always bring their medication with you because you won’t know where to find a pharmacy when traveling. For example, if your child suffers from essential tremor (ET) that is exacerbated by stress, always bring their ET medication when traveling.

Of course, you should also avoid overpacking. Many parents bring way too much stuff to try to keep their children preoccupied, which can be difficult to carry on the plane while holding their child’s hand. Instead, only bring what you know you’ll need and allow your child to pick one time to take with them on the plane.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Use Pull-Ups

Even if your child is fully potty trained, consider having them wear pull-ups when traveling long distances. Even though you may tell your child to use the bathroom before leaving the house, you never want to be stuck in a public place running to the bathroom or dealing with an accident. Even potty-trained children have accidents if they hold it for too long without telling you they have to use the bathroom. Pull-ups can be a helpful option for parents worried about traveling long distances without access to a bathroom.

Find Perks for Kids

If you plan to travel by air, look for airlines that have kid-friendly perks that keep them happy and occupied. These perks may include television shows and movies, headphones, snacks, and activity kits you can purchase to keep them occupied while traveling.

Pre-Book Whenever Possible

While you might enjoy a more spontaneous vacation, you don’t want to get caught without a hotel room when traveling with tired, cranky kids. Instead, book your hotel as soon as possible to give you a destination as soon as you arrive. Since you’re traveling with kids, you’ll need to drop off everyone’s bags and give young ones time to rest after a long travel day.

You may also pre-book activities to ensure you always have something to do with your children. Of course, you can’t plan everything you do, but you can make it easier to set expectations for the day.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Always Have Snacks

We’ve already discussed that you should bring your own snacks on the plane. However, you should always have snacks when traveling with children, even if you plan to stop for a meal while you’re out and about. You never know what could happen at airports or while touring a new town, so it’s always best to have something in your bag to satisfy your kids.

Be Flexible

No vacation has ever been perfect; things will go wrong, especially when traveling with children. For example, maybe you have plans to go to a museum, but your child gets crabby and needs a nap; in that case, let your child rest to avoid ruining the trip. Additionally, your young one may have to use the bathroom, causing you to miss a bus. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to avoid every bad situation when traveling with children, so it’s best to be able to accept the inevitable and have a backup plan for what to do when something goes wrong.

Traveling With Children

Traveling with children can be stressful. However, you should always keep an eye on your kids in public, so it’s best to only pack what you know you’ll need, including your child’s essentials. Stay with them at all times and never let them wander. If you’re traveling with another adult, share responsibilities with them so someone is always watching the children. For example, one person can purchase snacks while the other watches the kids. If you’re traveling alone with children, hold their hands when navigating the airport and always keep them in your line of sight.

Try not to let your stress overwhelm you. You want your trip to be a positive experience for your children, so if something goes wrong, try to be flexible and find something else to do to keep your child occupied while enjoying your time together.

Header Photo Credit: Pexels


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