Every parent has been there. You’re planning to take the little ones on the vacation of your dreams, but you have to get there first. Whether it’s on a plane or in the car, traveling with children can be stressful. The thought of the tears and screaming can be enough to say forget it and not plan anything.
The good news is, that traveling with your kids doesn’t HAVE to be pain and suffering for all involved. There are plenty of ways to ensure everyone has a good time. Will literal and figurative bumps in the road happen? Probably. But there are ways to get through them peacefully.
People will always tell you to take a deep breath or have a sip of water to take the stress off. That simply won’t do when traveling with your kids. You need a real plan. Let’s look at how to travel stress-free with your kids.
Always Plan Ahead
This should be a no-brainer, but time can get away from you. You’ve had the trip planned for months, and the next thing you know you’re throwing everything into the bag a few hours before departure.
When you’re traveling with your kids, the best thing you can do for yourself is to make a list. Have everything packed a few days before, and go through it before you leave so you are sure you’re not missing anything. When in doubt, always check again.
Planning ahead should also include buying tickets to popular tourist attractions. The last thing you want to happen is something the kids really want to do sell out. That will be a recipe for stress.
A good rule of thumb is to pack snacks whether flying or on the road. This can cure a fussy child very quickly. When you’re traveling, you should always plan for the unexpected. Whether that be a flat tire or a flight delay, snacks are a must. Not only for your kids but for you as well!
Another thing to keep in mind with snacks is to avoid sugary treats. The last thing you want to deal with after a crying session is a sugar rush. Bring healthy, sugar-free snacks to avoid this and keep everyone full and happy.
Bring a Reusable Water Bottle
Along with the snacks, bringing a water bottle is an absolute must. When you’re busy traveling, hydration can fall to the wayside. Bringing a reusable bottle will allow you to not only fill it with water but with juice or a protein drink.
Let Them Choose Activities
As a parent, your instinct is to have total control and plan every day down to the minute. Your kids will likely enjoy what you pick but letting them choose activities will take off some stress. You aren’t planning everything, and they get to choose something they really want to do.
This is especially important for kids who are a little older. You may want to go to the art museum, but does your 11-year-old? Give them a list of realistic options to choose from so they feel as though they have some control over the trip.
Bring a First Aid Kit
Accidents happen, especially when you have kids. Even if you’re staying at a resort with plenty of amenities, you never know when you’re going to need a bandage. When you create your packing list, be sure to add a basic first aid kit to your list, including:
- Pain relievers like ibuprofen
- Hand Sanitizer (A must in the current climate)
- Ice Pack
When you travel with your kids, you should also look into nearby immediate care clinics. That way, if something does happen you aren’t scrambling on Google to find the nearest place without a 7-hour wait.
Always Find the Bathroom
Every parent has experienced this one. You asked “are you sure?” and they didn’t have to go before you left and now they need to go. This is especially stressful when you’re on a road trip and may not see a rest stop for another 100 miles. So, when in doubt, be sure they go. This will save you a headache an hour later.
It’s Okay to Take a Break
Rest days are crucial when traveling with your kids. Plan a day where you don’t have anything planned. If everyone needs to rest, great! Otherwise, see where the day takes you. The internet won’t show you everything a place has to offer, so sometimes it’s good to explore with no plan!
Pack Games and Toys for Entertainment
When you travel, you’ll be doing some sitting around and waiting. It comes with the territory. Whether that be at the airport, restaurants, or tourist attractions, there is inevitable downtime. Kids can get impatient, so it’s important to keep them distracted.
Self contained toys for trips are a must have. Something like the Tiny and Mighty packs up nicely and is easy to carry with you on your travels, while still being able to keep your little one occupied.
Don’t be afraid of screens, either. The iPad or other tablets will be your best friend on a long trip. Have some movies downloaded so they can get lost in them for long-haul drives and flights.
If your child has a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or other item be sure to bring that too. Having that item should help alleviate any unnecessary stress while in a new place.
To sum it up, traveling with your kids doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Bringing proper supplies, planning ahead, and making sure everyone has snacks will help immensely. Remember to bring games and toys for long-haul flights and road trips to keep the little ones occupied. Most importantly, don’t forget to relax and enjoy your vacation!Back to the Blog