5 Tips for Travelling With Children – Advice from Parents

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Travelling with children can be an unforgettable and stressful experience. Even if you’re an experienced parent, you’ve probably still experienced your fair share of tantrums, lost luggage, and forgotten presents. Children are prone to anxiety, and even the most laid-back of us can’t stay calm when our little ones are losing their minds at the airport, on a cruise, or anywhere else. As a parent, it can feel like you’re under the constant microscope of strangers. And let’s face it, most people don’t understand what it’s like to travel with young kids. So, how can you make your travels less stressful? Here are five useful tips that will help you cope when you travel with children.

1. Plan your trip to minimize stress

exhausted children with digital devices sleeping in car during trip

It’s important to plan ahead of time. If you know what you’re going to get into, you can be better prepared for the inevitable mishaps that are bound to happen. Make sure that your itinerary is planned out well in advance, and don’t forget about the little details like meals, naptime and entertainment.

2. Pack lightly

If you have a young child, then you know how much stuff they can accumulate in no time at all! Make sure that your bag isn’t too heavy and filled with unnecessary items. It will only make travelling difficult for everyone involved.

3. Have fun activities on hand

Sometimes kids just need something to take their mind off of the fact that they’re travelling with their parents! Whether it’s a special toy or a book, it will help keep them entertained and less likely to cause trouble for the rest of the passengers.

4. Be patient

Your patience will be tested when you travel with children. It’s important to remember that they don’t mean to cause trouble, and it’s not their fault that they can’t sit still for more than five minutes. They just need something to do!

5. Have a positive attitude

It can be easy to get frustrated when you travel with children, but if you stay upbeat, then it will make the trip a lot more fun for everyone!

Be Prepared

I'm so happy to go for a trip

Bags check-in

Your flight information

Your doctor’s contact info

Your kids’ medications (if necessary)

A list of your emergency contacts

A photo ID

A copy of your health insurance card

A passport and/or driver’s license (for your records)

A list of activities for each day of your trip

A brief introduction to your itinerary

A packing list

A list of local services you’ll need (i.e. diapers, wipes, formula, baby food, etc.)

A list of activities you and/or your kids will want to do

A list of restaurants you or your family will like

A list of attractions you or your family will like

A list of things to buy (i.e. food, toys, games, books, etc.)

A list of things to avoid buying (i.e. toys that break easily, excessive snacks, etc.)

A list of things to do if you’re stuck on a plane

A list of things to do if your flight is delayed

A list of things to do if your flight is cancelled

A list of things to do if your hotel isn’t great

A list of things to do if you miss your connection

Get Organized

Pack lightly

Label your bag (or carry-on)

Toiletry bag

Backpack

Duffel bag

Inventory your kids’ toys

Pack a change of clothes for everyone in your family

Choose comfortable shoes (for you and/or your kids)

Bring a journal or travelogue

Let them help

Let them help you pack

Let them help you unpack

Let them help you clean up

Let them help with the kids

Play with them

Encourage them to try new things

Travel games are a great way to pass the time

Try to find activities that involve both of you

Pack light

parents traveling by car with kids

Limit the number of toys and clothing you bring

Only bring the toys your kids can play with now

Limit the number of stuffed animals you bring

Only bring the toys your kids can play with now

Bring only the necessities for your kids’ meals

Don’t pack toys that don’t appeal to you

Don’t bring clothes that don’t appeal to you

Don’t bring anything that you don’t need

Make some memories

Look up local family activities

Visit local attractions

Take a walking tour

Go to the zoo or aquarium

Go to the playground

Go to the playground at the hotel

Take a day trip to a nearby city

Visit a museum

Visit a water park

Go to the beach

Visit a sporting event

Go to a music festival

Learn how to zip-line

Visit a castle

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

father riding car with kids

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask a parent friend to go with you

If you’re travelling with kids who are prone to anxiety, consider bringing a travel buddy

If you’ve run out of ideas, consider hiring an organizer

If you’re travelling with a baby, consider hiring a babysitter

If you’re travelling with an elderly person, consider hiring an assistant

If you’re travelling to a different time zone, get in touch with a local parent resource

Wrapping up: Planning is the key

Kids can be a challenge when you travel, but with a bit of preparation, you can minimize the stress and have a more enjoyable trip. Before you leave, create a packing list and a travel checklist. Bring your kids along with you when you’re picking out your travel essentials. If your kids are old enough, let them help you pack. Explain to them what you’re packing and why. Let them help you decide what to bring and what to leave behind. Most importantly, have fun!

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