Summer vacations and family reunions are a part of life that all parents want to enjoy, but traveling with kids can be a difficult proposition. Kids can make what was once a quick flight or a simple drive into a complicated and stressful trip. Taking the time to plan, and learning a few tips can make your trips much less stressful. With a little forethought and some ingenuity, traveling with children can be something that you can happily look back on for the rest of your life.
Knowing how to travel with kids is a skill that all parents need to learn. The following tips for traveling with kids will get you started on the path to mastering the skills you need to know. Traveling with small children doesn’t have to be a horror story. By following these tips, your trip will be a happy memory instead of a bad one.
Have a Plan
Have a plan but remain flexible. A good plan includes knowing when you are stopping, the hotel you are going to stay in, and where you are eating. While “winging it” may sound exciting, it’s usually the source of frustration during a family trip. Small children make even a well-planned outing chaotic. So, make a good plan and be flexible enough to change it as needed.
The best thing to remember when traveling with children is that you are there to have fun. While on your trip consider relaxing some rules, let children stay up later and have more latitude with what they do. Encourage exploration and enjoyment over strictly regimented schedules and “must do” type of activities. The best memories are often made from unexpected things that happen along the way.
Safety is an important aspect of any trip. No matter where you go make sure your children know what to do in case they get separated. The first thing you should do when you get to a destination is to decide where your gathering point is. Make sure children know their parent’s full names and phone numbers if they are old enough. For younger children put a note in a pocket with this information on it.
Prepare For Flights
If you are planning on flying, there are some special considerations to keep in mind. When you fly, you are stuck with just what you can bring. This means that you should think ahead and pack everything you might need. While there are some general tips including bringing extra clothes, only you know everything your child needs. Make sure you think through what you normally need and then also include things you might need.
When on a flight there is no worse feeling than being that parent. Take time to think of things for your children to do to help keep them quiet and occupied. Phones and tablets can help in this endeavor. Your children will need headphones due to the close quarters. Over-the-ear headphones work best for smaller children. If you don’t have a phone or tablet that you trust your child with, there are always coloring books and activity books that are entertaining.
Other things to consider when traveling by air is the inevitable wait in line, and dealing with layovers. Waiting in line is hard for many adults, for small children it can be almost impossible. If you are lucky enough to be traveling as a family take advantage of your numbers. One person can usually hold a place in line, and the other can explore the airport with the children or sit and relax. You can swap this duty after a while so nobody gets tired of chasing children or standing in line.
Use Time Wisely
Use layovers as an opportunity to catch up on parenting duties. Change any clothes with any food or drink spills, and diapers as well. Take the time to make sure everyone is fed. Once all those tasks are complete go exploring and let your children burn off some restlessness. Try to be at your gate no later than 15 minutes prior to your next flight’s boarding time.
Prepare For Drives
In a car, you have more options to stop and get items you might need. Driving takes longer than flying and usually includes spending at least one night in a hotel. Careful packing can make sure that you can get in and out of the hotel with the least amount of effort. When the kids are stuck in a car you should address ways to keep them entertained and distracted.
For car trips, comfort and distraction are the most important things to address. Consider keeping a pillow and blanket for each child for trips that go overnight. One of the best ways to travel is at night while they are sleeping. Only travel at night if you are sure you can stay awake for the trip, though. Entertaining children on a car trip is not as hard as it used to be. With phones and tablets readily available you can entertain your children for hours with movies and games.
Traveling with children and toddlers is one of the most stressful ways of traveling. No matter how you travel it can be both difficult and rewarding. The goal is to get where you are going with as little fuss as possible. If you take the time to ensure you plan for your child’s needs, you can create some good memories along the way.
Article provided by Contractor Quotes.