Whether you’re going on vacation or visiting relatives or friends, you may be traveling more than usual now that the holiday season is in full swing. Despite how much fun going on a trip may be, we understand that planning and actually getting to your destination can be a bit challenging – especially when you are traveling with children.
Whether you are flying or driving to your destination, planning ahead is always best when trying to make the trip as smooth as possible. Here are five tips to keep in mind when getting ready for your next family trip:
- Be Strategic in Your Travel Times: Plan out when your flights will be or when you decide to hit the road based on your child’s schedule. Depending on how far you’re going, some families prefer to travel during naptime or at night, so that their child is more likely to be sleeping. If your travel time isn’t exactly at their bedtime but close to it, we suggest gradually adjusting their schedules a week or two before, so that it fits your travel schedule better.
- Keep Your Children Engaged: If your children are unlikely to sleep, be sure to pack fun activities that will keep them entertained. Here are some great ideas that are suitable whether you are flying or driving:
- Tablets that have educational games
- Portable DVD player and movies
- Window clings – great mess-free activity!
- Busy bags with different types of puzzles or games
- Puzzles or word search books
- Card games
- Mess-free coloring books
- Pack Like a Pro: Be sure you have all the necessities handy. This includes packing extra clothes, which will be helpful if your child needs to be changed for any reason during the drive or if your luggage is delayed in reaching your destination. Also keep all necessities such as activities, chargers, diapers and wipes, etc. in a bag that you can get to easily and quickly. If your child is hungry, they are more likely to be irritable during the flight or drive. Pack a bag with kid-friendly, healthy snacks and be sure it is in your carry on or a bag that is within reach in the car.
- Bring a Piece of Home with You: To make travel and the stay more comfortable for your children, bring something familiar from home such as one of their favorite stuffed animals or blankets. This will be especially helpful when they are feeling overwhelmed in a new environment.
- Be Flexible: As much as you plan ahead, some things are likely to not go as planned. Flights may be delayed, you may get stuck in traffic, or your luggage may get lost. As frustrating as those situations can be, the most important factor in ensuring that your travel goes smoothly is to be flexible, go with the flow, and remember some things are out of your hands.
What advice would you give families that are traveling with children?