As a seasoned traveler, I know how stressful it can be to voyage with small children. Don’t get caught up in the stress this year, follow these tried and true tips for ensuring easy travel with your kids this summer and beyond.
Whether you’re flying or driving to your vacation destination, here are a few reminders to help you and your children get where you’re going smoothly and happily – so your vacation can be a little more relaxing.
Preparations Are Key: Make sure your family knows of this year’s travel and vacation plans well in advance so they are able to collect their favorite movies, download their favorite music and pack up their favorite stuffed animals. Your itinerary should be solidly planned out with a little extra room for hiccups and delays. If you’re driving, purchase a road atlas for your car, print out directions from Google Maps, or program and update your GPS system. Be as prepared as possible, and your travel time may just be a little more enjoyable.
Packing: When it comes to packing it’s all about being organized. And, as it turns out, one of the more difficult activities when traveling is packing in an organized fashion. You will need to decide how many suitcases you’ll be packing and who will be responsible for what bags or belongings. Don’t wait until the last minute to pack, start early. Remember to pack up a bag full of snacks and goodies to have on-hand during your travels. Whether on a plane or in a car, getting into baggage once the journey’s begun might not be a viable option. We also stick a pair of pajamas in our on-hand bag. Most of the time, our traveling stretches into the night; changing from day clothes into pajamas while traveling at night helps kids feel more comfortable.
Entertainment: Chances are your child is going to get bored and burnt-out while traveling, so, as the parent, it’s your responsibility to have a handful of tricks up your sleeve. Toys, puzzles, games and books are great sources of entertainment on the go. Stick a few surprises in your on-hand travel bag so that you can head-off your fidgety child before boredom turns into a meltdown. When you’re driving during daylight, you and your child can watch license plates, keep track of the different colors of cars you pass or listen to a book on tape. When in the airplane, booklets of mazes and coloring books can be extremely helpful when it comes to keeping kids entertained. It doesn’t hurt to have a favorite movie on your iPod or portable DVD player to pop on when your child gets sleepy.
Keep in Mind: Your kids are going to be exhausted from traveling, so allow them ample time to rest. More than likely, you will be having more activity than a typical day at home would consist of, so keep a close eye on your children to see when they’ve had enough. Traveling can put stress on our bodies and immune systems, so make sure you all drink lots of water and try to eat healthy. Remember you’re on vacation with your children. Plan out some special, kid-friendly activities you know they’ll love and enjoy!
Make sure you explain everything to your children in advance so there are no surprises upon stepping onto an airplane for the first time or visiting someplace new. Your child will feel more comfortable, safe and secure if they know what to expect in advance. Remember to be flexible and have a little fun – nothing ever goes quite according to plan, so be prepared for a few minor hiccups and roll with the punches.