Traveling with children can be fun and exciting, but with that can also come nerves and a little bit of anxiety. Kids are unpredictable when it comes to how they’re going to be feeling, how they’re going to behave, and how well they’ll adjust to the basics of traveling.
Whether it’s your first time traveling with your kids, or you just seem to dread the topic whenever someone brings it up, don’t worry – you’re not alone. There may never seem like a “right time” to travel once you have kids or you may be unsure of how to make your trip run smoothly, but we’re here to share our top 5 tips for traveling with kids to not only make their trip more enjoyable but yours as well.
#1 – Communication
Be sure to talk openly with your kids about expectations when traveling. With communication being our first tip, it’s one of the more important tips for traveling with kids. Be transparent and tell them things to look out for, things to be careful of, what feelings they may have, and how to behave. This helps set up expectations on both sides of the conversation.
Asking questions about the process of traveling and letting your kiddo respond based on their understanding will allow for understanding and patience on your end. Letting your children in on the agenda and plans also helps make them feel important and more involved in the trip.
#2 – Time Management
Involving your children in day-to-day activities almost always takes extra time than on your own; traveling is no exception. From the moment the trip begins to the moment it ends, be sure to leave space for things to take up extra time.
Beginning with the morning you wake up on the day of traveling from loading up the cars, catching a flight, getting gas, to eating breakfast. Everything taking place will need that extra wiggle room to accommodate your kids’ cooperation and comfort level. This is a big one for first-time travelers but typically is something kiddos learn to adjust to as time goes on.
#3 – Pack Wisely
Although packing may seem like the easiest part of a vacation, it’s important to remember to pack with intention. If your kid hates wearing a specific item of clothing, there’s no point in piling it into their suitcase just to be thrown aside each day. The same concept applies to what they enjoy wearing, be sure to pack enough of that specific thing to ensure they’re properly dressed and equipped for whatever your vacation may throw at you.
This can also be said for items you bring along such as sunscreen, accessories, snacks, and toys. Sometimes, less is more – but it never hurts to plan out which items are most beneficial to bring and the quantity of those items to correlate with the duration of the vacation.
#4 – Prepare to Entertain
When traveling, entertainment is crucial to create an enjoyable trip. Kiddos typically need constant stimulation to keep them distracted and happy, so be prepared for your kid to be needier than a normal daily basis.
They’re going to need toys, literature, music, books, and other forms of entertainment to keep their minds and their hands busy. This will also give you a chance to take a deep breath and find peace of your own while their mind is occupied and distracted.
#5 – Accept Things Will Go Wrong
Telling yourself that this is a learning process, and with learning comes trial and error, will leave you feeling relieved and less pressured to nail your vacation plans on the head. Whether your little one needs to use the restroom and you miss your bus or they need an extra snack causing you to arrive late to board your plane – keep calm.
Accidents happen, plans change, and hiccups are expected when traveling with kids. If something does go wrong, remember: don’t let it get to you. Continue to go with the flow – you will bounce back and your vacation will be excellent no matter what.
Traveling will inevitably bring stress and anxiety even if you hit all of these tips for traveling with kids, but it also brings memories and quality time. Vacation is fun and exciting, so remember to enjoy every minute of traveling with your kiddos and not sweat the small stuff. They’ll only be little for so long, and now is the time to take it all in and accept traveling with little ones isn’t easy for anyone – but you’re doing the best you can.