Traveling can be a stressful and daunting task, but doing it with children in tow becomes even more of a challenge. Packing and trying to round up kids for a long trip usually makes you feel more exhausted when traveling should be a fun endeavor at an exciting place.
The most significant factor to keep in mind throughout your travel is that you will make it to your destination. Mindset is everything, so do yourself a favor and work to stop the thoughts that overwhelm you and stress you out when traveling with children.
But you may also wonder how you can make it easier to travel with kids? Whether it is your first time traveling with children or you're tenth, you will run into some challenges. Read on to find out just what steps you can take to help ensure that traveling with kids is more leisurely, smoother, and more manageable for your journey.
Work to Limit Overpacking
It is the easiest thing for us to do, but overpacking makes for less room in the vehicle, and you don’t need to pack your entire home for a vacation that is only a week or two. Keep it simple and pack only what you need, and you’ll thank yourself later when you have to do laundry. You also will have more room in your luggage to bring back souvenirs!
You should also keep in mind that plenty of things can be bought while you are traveling, making another good reason not to overpack. Consider things like diapers or toiletries – you can always get them while you’re on the way or once you get to your location. Many hotels have their toiletries, and if you’re visiting family, ask to use theirs instead of bringing extra and save yourself some room.
Prepare Ahead and Book More
You probably have your flights, hotel, or vacation home all booked for your trip, but you shouldn’t stop your booking. Planning will take a lot of burden off of finding things to do, so having an idea of what you can do each day is more helpful with kids.
Besides knowing where you’ll be staying, look into excursions or things to do. For example, if you plan to do some exploring, maybe you’ll need to rent some sort of transportation.
You might find a sale on full suspension mountain bicycles to ride around the mountains or a deal on renting your skis to hit the slopes. No matter the trip, anything you can book and plan ahead of time is one less thing to worry about when you travel. It also will help keep your kids busy and entertained.
Talk to Your Kids About the Trip
You need to introduce the trip ahead of time so that the kids understand what is happening. Kids tend to get restless and unhappy when uncomfortable, which is bound to occur during a long journey. Let the kids know where you’re going and what you will be doing, so they have something to look forward to, and explain how long it will take to get there.
When kids know what to expect and aren’t surprised by something foreign, they will be less likely to react. No one wants to see their kid throw a tantrum in a public airport or hotel and cause a scene, so ensure your kids know your expectations for their behavior.
Stay Safe and Secure
It should be a given that you want to stay on top of where the kids are at all times, but it is crucial to emphasize. When you have to check in at a location, it can be easy to lose sight of kids, especially if they can just as easily wander off.
There are plenty of actions to keep your kids safe and secure. Hold your child’s hand when walking anywhere, especially in a busy public area with many people. Keeping them close to you is the best course of action. You can also institute a buddy system between kids if you have multiple to have them on the lookout for each other, though this works best with older kids who can be more responsible.
It is also worth saying to have a plan if you lose a kid. Talk to your children about what to do if they lose you; how they need to find a police officer or security guard and have them help find you. If you have kids old enough, have them memorize your cell phone number so your kid can easily reach you if you get separated.
Have Lots of Snacks Handy
Kids who get restless also become cranky when they get hungry. So you should always have some snacks handy, whether in the vehicle, waiting at the airport, or if anything unexpected happens where things take longer than they should.
Consider how picky young children are with food. For example, suppose you have lunch but your child doesn’t eat very much, and then you are on an excursion later, and then the kids are hungry. Being prepared with food to snack on will be extremely helpful in cases like those.
Technology today makes it simple to engage kids with things like tablets, portable players, and other travel gadgets and devices. You can also bring some portable toys or stuffed animals and play easy games in the car, such as “I Spy,” to help pass the time. Airplanes sometimes will have devices built-in, but don’t forget to ensure that your own electronics are charged and ready for the trip.
Documents and ID
Check with airlines, hotels, or other places you will be to know what identification or documentation is needed. Keep all of your documents and identification in one area for easy access. For example, papers such as boarding passes, passports, driver’s licenses, birth certificates, and whatever other necessary documents you need should be in a central place that will be quick to get to when you need them.
Be Willing to Adapt to Changes
Not everything will go as planned, and you should expect that. When you plan, consider what might not work out due to unplanned situations such as weather or a place being closed. Try to be flexible with your schedule and keep everyone happy, so things are more stress-free on your trip.
Go with the flow and make the most of your trip, and traveling with kids will be a breeze.