Getting ready for that family vacation? Whether it’s your first trip with the kids or your hundredth, every parent can use some tips and tricks for traveling with kids. Maybe you’re wondering how to keep them entertained on a long road trip or how many bathroom breaks you should plan for or what toys to bring or what games to play. We can always use some tips, tricks, advice, or parent hacks.
So here you have it. 15 great tips and ticks for traveling with kids.
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1. Bring Snacks
This something you definitely do not want to forget. Just imagine you start out on a road trip and an hour into your trip, you have your little ones in the back yelling, “I’m hungry, I’m hungry.” Only to go searching in your bag, realizing you forgot the snacks on the kitchen counter. Don’t make that mistake. Make sure you take those snacks for the kids. It’s a good way to keep them busy and occupied too. And we all know, kids are always saying every couple hours that they are hungry. So if you do forget those snacks, it will be a long car ride or plane ride or bus ride, etc.
2. Bring Games/Books/Toys
This is another one to make sure you don’t forget especially if you are going on a long trip. You need to keep those kids busy with some type of entertainment or they’ll constantly ask, “are we there yet, are we there yet” and say “I’m bored” or say “I’m hungry. I’m thirsty.” It will make the trip go a lot smoother.
3. Plan for Bathroom Breaks
Make sure you plan for bathroom breaks ahead of time. It will help you stay on track and on time. And it will also help prevent your kids from having accidents. Because if they are still little, they may not always tell you when they have to go to the bathroom. But if you plan the bathroom breaks, they will be forced to go, therefore preventing those accidents.
This will also help to prevent your kids from announcing they have to go the bathroom when you are in an area where there are no rest stops to stop for a bathroom break.
4. Travel During Nap Times or Overnight
Traveling during nap times or even overnight, can make the trip go smoother because then your kids will be sleeping the whole or at least most of the way to your destination.
5. Play Games
Make up some car games to make the time go faster and to keep your kids busy. How about the license game, or I Spy, or the Alphabet game.
Or you can even sing songs while on your road trip. They are always fun.
6. Bring Change of Clothes
You have all the suitcases packed. They might all the way in the back of the car or in the trunk or if your flying, you probably checked all your suitcase. So all of these make it hard to find another set of clothes if your children or even yourself need a change of clothes while in transit.
There could be many reasons why you or your kids need a change of clothes. They had a bladder accident or they spilled something or they threw up. And any of these accidents could also get on your clothes. So it’s always a good idea to have a change of clothes for yourself.
Plus, if you are flying, it’s always a good idea to have a change of clothes for everyone in case the airlines loses your luggage.
7. Build in Extra Travel Time
With kids you may want to leave a little earlier so you can build in some extra travel time just in case you need to make an extra stop that you didn’t plan for. Or maybe you leave and realize you forgot something or your child starts screaming that they forgot their favorite stuffed animal or blankie and you have to turn around and go back home for those items.
Or what if your child has a meltdown. That could be another reason that would delay your travel time.
Extra travel time can also be great if you have a plane to catch. You don’t want to miss that plane. It’s better to get to the airport early and wait to board the plane than having to rush and run through the airports with a few kids in tow.
8. Bring Tablet
Who knows how long your travel time will be. Maybe it’s short and you’re only going a couple hours from home or maybe it’s a long road trip, or have a long flight. If it is a long trip, it is always good to have lots of entertainment. Bringing your tablet with some games they love or their favorite shows can help the trip go a lot easier.
9. Carry Gum or Bottle of Water on the Plane
Are you flying to your destination? Do you have little ones you are traveling with? It is always a good idea to bring gum or water on a plane in case their ears start hurting or popping. I have yet to take my son on a plane, but I know when I was a kid, I had this problem when flying. My ears always hurt and chewing gum or drinking water always helped me.
10. Bring Car Seat
Don’t forget that car seat. If it’s a road trip then you will already have your car seat in the car, but if you are flying somewhere you might need it for the flight. And when you get to your destination you’ll need it for the rental car or Uber or Taxi.
11. Schedule Downtime
Once you get to your destination whether you are going to Disney, the beach, a city, on a cruise, camping, a theme park, etc. make sure you are not running around sight seeing or have something scheduled everyday. Make sure to schedule in some downtime. Maybe have a day just relaxing by the pool at your hotel. Kids will get exhausted if you’re constantly running around sight seeing and on tours. They’ll need some breaks. That’s important.
12. Be Flexible
Be flexible. You might have every minute of your vacation planned out. But situations might happen where your kids get cranky or tired or hungry or bored or feeling sick and then plans may have to change.
So going into the vacation with the knowledge that plans might need to be changed will also make for an easier family trip. Be flexible.
13. Explain What You’ll be Doing
Children like to know what’s going on. I know my son does. He asks the questions, “where are we going”, “what are we doing” all the time. They even may get nervous if they don’t know what is going on. So just explain to them what you’ll be doing and where you’ll be going. You don’t have to explain it to them way in advance; actually it’s probably best to not explain everything in advance and instead wait until the day you are leaving. That way they won’t bug you for days with a million and one questions or get impatient and keep asking when you’re leaving.
14. Bring Travel, Portable Potty
There is not always a good place to stop and go to the bathroom if one of your kids has to go. And making them hold it until you can get to the next rest stop may be hard for those little ones. They can only hold it for so long. So bringing a portable potty is essential. We have one and it has been a godsend for when our son may have to go the bathroom while we are in the car.
Plus, this could have been a very useful item for the past 2 years while we’ve been in the middle of COVID where you might not have wanted to step foot into a rest stop or a public bathroom. That is actually when we purchased our portable potty. And it’s worked out great.
15. Accept Things Will go Wrong
Before the family vacation even starts, just accept things will go wrong. Kids will get cranky, kids will whine or have tantrums, you may have to cut a tour short, a kid might get sick, you might have ruined clothes, there might be some accidents. Once you accept all that, it won’t be as upsetting when it actually happens. And let’s face it, when it comes to traveling with kids, things will go wrong.
No parent can ever get enough tips and advice when it comes to their kids. Even if you think you might know it all, there may be someone out there that tells you some kind of advice, tip, parent hack that you may not have thought of before. So I hope these were some useful tips and tricks for traveling with kids. Maybe there is a tip listed here that you haven’t thought of before. If that is the case, then I hope this list helps you on your next family vacation with your kids.
Looking for other traveling tips with kids, check out What Essentials You’ll Need When Packing for a Baby or Toddler.
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