Traveling can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Far too often people find themselves placing travel on the back burner once they have children. However, I’m here to offer you some tips for making your child’s (and your) experience exploring the world easy and efficient.
I reached out to my friend, Elissa, who is a mother, and fellow travel lover for her own tips for travel with kids. Her personal experiences will guide you as you prepare your kids to hit the open road or coast on the friendly skies.
My husband and I have a shared love of travel, and we knew we wanted to incorporate that into our family.Elissa, mom of two (ages 7 months old, and 4 years old)
- Preparation is Key –
Each member of our family has their own color of packing cubes, which helps keep things organized if you have to live out of the suitcase. Pro-tip: lay clothes for your kids (and yourself) out on the floor before loading in the cubes and snap a picture. Then in the mornings, you have an easy reference of all of your choices while planning for weather and activities.
- Stay On The Same Page –
We also keep a running list of all the items our kids need for trips in a shared note on our phones. This way, we don’t have to start from scratch each time and wonder what we forgot, and either parent can pack for the kids and check things off along the way. I typically tackle clothing choices while my husband gathers up everything else.
- Inexpensive Toys (infants) –
When my oldest was too young for screens and we had a long flight ahead of us, we picked up several small items from the dollar store for the novelty of new toys every time she’d get restless. One in particular I remember getting tons of mileage out of was a set of tiny plastic shot glasses. So funny to see a toddler playing with them, but she loved stacking them up over and over again.
- Unlimited Screen Time (toddlers) –
Now that my four year old is bigger, traveling is one of the very few occasions we allow unlimited screen time. We try to load educational apps and shows, but it’s just better for everyone if she is entertained the whole way. She’ll often drift to sleep while watching so that is a bonus as well.
- Allow for Personal Space –
If you’re flying with a lap child (kids under two fly FREE so it’s a great time to travel with them), ask when you check in to learn if the flight will be full and if your seats can be rearranged to have an empty seat near you. You’ll often have to check at the gate as well… For a longer flight, we’ve found it helps to bring along an infant carrier so the parent holding the child can have hands free, especially if there are no extra seats.
- Test The Waters –
Start small! Plan a day trip or overnight to a place nearby that you haven’t explored before, and go with the mindset that if you do a lot of activities, great, but the overarching purpose is to just be together.
It will all be so worth it! All the planning, packing, and preparation is such a small price to pay for the joy of spending time together outside of the hustle of everyday life.
Hopefully, this post provided you with tips for traveling with kids. Don’t linger on worries or anxiety. Embrace the experience! Traveling with children can create awesome memories and cultivate a love of travel for your kids.