Many people believe traveling with young children is next to impossible. Fortunately, this is far from the truth. When you do a bit of planning and pack your bags well, not only is traveling with babies and kids possible, it’s super fun and rewarding.
That said, there are some things you will want to know before you jump into the world of travel with children. By keeping these tips and tricks in mind, you should be able to have a relatively relaxing and fun trip.
Give Yourself Time
As you know, everything takes longer with kids in tow. Give yourself extra time for everything. This means showing up to the airport early, scheduling plenty of time between layovers, and cutting back on the amount of stuff you expect to do each day of your trip.
Pay for That Extra Seat
Even though babies under 2yo fly on a lap for free, you’re going to want to go ahead and pay for that extra seat, especially if your flight isn’t a short one. A squirmy baby in your lap for 8 hours is no fun.
Pack Car Seats for the Plane
Technically, kids don't have to have car seats on the plane. That said, not only is bringing the car seat along safer, it’ll also make things easier for you, as your child will be less likely to wiggle and try to escape the seatbelt.
Have a Drink Ready for Takeoff
If you’re flying, be aware that takeoff and landing can be hard on little ears. Having a bottle or sippy cup ready to go will give your little ones a way to pop their ears and keep them from fussing.
Toddlers and older kids will want something to do during the flight or car ride. Be sure to pack plenty of entertainment. Otherwise, you’ll have to do all the entertaining yourself, which will make the trip much less fun for you.
Bring Favorite Snacks
Hungry kids are grumpy kids. On top of that, many kids are picky, making it difficult to find a snack they’ll accept. For this reason, we highly recommend packing your kids’ favorite snacks.
Buy and Bring an Extra Lovey
If your child has a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, buy a second one and pack it, leaving the original at home. This will keep your kid happy during the trip, but will protect you from the possibility of a lost lovey.
Stick to Your Schedule
As difficult as it is during vacation, you will want to stick to your usual schedule as much as possible. This means scheduling things around lunch and meal times. Sticking to your schedule will help your kids feel secure and comfortable, and should help them continue to get the proper amount of sleep.
Keep it Age-Appropriate
Expecting a toddler or preschooler to sit through a performance of Cats or a meal at a 5-star restaurant isn’t fair and wont turn out well for anyone. Instead, take your vacation expectations down a notch and try to find activities the whole family can enjoy together.
Don’t Leave the Medicines
The positive parent in you may want to leave all the medications behind. Don’t do it, because having basic medicines and bandages on hand can be a lifesaver. Additionally, you will want to pack and continue using vitamins in order to keep the family as healthy as possible.
Pack Extra Clothes
Kids are messy. For this reason, you will want to pack an extra outfit or two for each little one. After all, nobody wants to spend vacation time doing laundry thanks to spilled milk.
Have a Plan
Having a solid plan and reserving and paying for as much as possible in advance are both extremely helpful. They will reduce wait times and ensure things flow well, keeping the kids happy and reducing the stress you experience.
...But Be Flexible
While you do want to go in with a good plan, being flexible is also super important. You never know what might come up, and going in knowing things may go wrong will help you maintain a positive attitude and have a good time anyway.
Keep Track of the Kids
This one seems a bit obvious. However, you might be surprised how easy it is to lose your kids in a busy airport or a crowded museum or zoo. Always have an eye of your kids and keep wanderers in strollers or carriers whenever possible.
Get Safety Bracelets
Of course, even the most watchful parents could still lose track of their little ones in certain situations. For this reason, investing in safety bracelets that include all of your contact info, and making sure older kids know what to do if they become separated from you, are essential steps to take.