Planes & Automobiles; Travel with Kids
Got any great trips planned for the kids this summer? Traveling with kids can be tricky no matter what form of transportation you use.Of course you can do all of the careful planning that you want but you also have to be prepared to wing it and improvise in the event that something goes wrong. I mean, I am sure that most of you reading this can remember a time from your own childhood where your parents had to pull over on the side of the road on a car trip to let you use nature as your bathroom. The best tip about traveling with children is not just to be prepared, but more importantly to be flexible. Traveling can be stressful, especially when kids are involved but ultimately it’s supposed to be FUN! So here are a few tips on traveling with children coming from the experience of growing up with many younger cousins and traveling far and short distances with them using a variety of transportation. Another great blog to reference for more tips and ideas is from Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.
Travel by Car
- Make sure you know how to get to your destination. If you have a GPS system that you rely on, make sure you bring a map or printed out directions for backup in case the system malfunctions.
- Bring lots of snacks. Everyone gets a bit hungry during car rides, so make sure you pack a variety of drinks and snacks for the road. Bring a small cooler to keep drinks cold and to store snacks like string cheese or yogurt.
- Entertainment. If you are lucky enough to have a car with a DVD or VHS player make sure you stock up on a variety of movies to watch. This is especially true if you have multiple kids traveling with you because they will inevitably disagree over what to watch so having a variety gives them more options to agree on. If you do not have a car with a DVD or VHS player, make sure to bring other forms of entertainment for your young travelers such as coloring books, puzzle books, books to read, etch-a-sketch, handheld video game, etc. Also bring an assortment of music to play as well. You cannot always rely on finding a radio station that suits your taste will traveling.
- Plan to utilize many rest stops. Traveling in the car can feel pretty cramped after a while. Make sure you stop frequently enough at rest stops for bathroom breaks and to be able to stretch everyone’s legs.
- If you are traveling with multiple children, be prepared for arguments. Make sure you have a course of action ready in case you need to settle a dispute from the front seat.
Travel By Plane
- For a more detailed list of tips and ideas for plane travel with children check out The Delicious Baby
- This is a good idea to do anytime you fly but especially when you’ve got kids in tow. Utilize most airports online check in. This saves you time waiting in long lines when you first arrive at the airport. Make sure you print out your boarding passes
- Getting to the airport is a struggle for most people. Instead of spending a fortune on airport parking for the duration of your trip, find a family member or good friend to drop you and your family off at the airport. It will be much less stressful than trying to find long term airport parking and having to pay the heavy fees.
- This seems like a no-brainer, but make sure you pack accordingly for each kid. Do you have a little girl who refuses to sleep without a certain doll? You better make sure you bring it!
- Pack snacks! Make sure you pay attention to the rules of airports though. Most often you cannot bring things like fruit or liquids over 3 ounces. You will definitely want to pack enough snacks for the flight for kids though. You never know what you will get served for those in flight meals and you certainly cannot guarantee that your kids will even eat it. So make sure you bring enough food to hold them over for the duration of the flight.
- Stay calm. Traveling with kids is incredibly stressful, but the more you keep your cool the more relaxed your kids will be. Don’t sweat the small stuff and try to make plane travel as painless as possible.
- Make sure you explain to your children about how airport security works. Sometimes walking through the big detectors can be frightening especially for little ones. Make sure they are aware of what to expect and that it is done to make sure they are safe.
- Like the car rides, make sure you bring entertainment! Air travel involves a LOT of downtime and waiting so for the sake of your own sanity you will want to make sure you have plenty of activities for your kids or else they will be using all of their energy to climb all over you!
- Take-off can be frightening for new air travelers. Explain what is going to happen before your flight takes off so your children are prepared for it. For young children is is a good idea to have them suck on a pacifier to help the discomfort of ear pressure from take off. Gum works too for kids old enough to chew it.
- Before the landing process begins make sure you explain what is going to happen to your kids. Landing, like take off can be a frightening experience especially if this is their first time.
Above all, have fun!