Before the school year begins, we know that some families may be taking off to enjoy a fun filled family vacation during these last few weeks of summer. Despite how much fun the vacation may be, we understand that planning a trip 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 a few tips to keep in mind when getting ready for your next family trip:
No matter what length of time you are traveling for in the care, build in time for extra pit stops, especially after a meal. It’s also a great opportunity for children to run around or stretch their legs and burn off some of their energy they’ve built up. If your drive is only a few hours and know your little ones will need a break, try to find a nice park or a rest stop along the way that has something to do where you can spend 20 or 30 minutes to give the family a change of scenery. If you’re going to be traveling a much longer distance, think about staying overnight at a hotel. To make the stay more comfortable for your children, bring something familiar from home such as one of their favorite stuffed animals or blankets. If your children love to be in the pool, find a hotel that has a swimming pool and make sure you pack those swimsuits!
When thinking about ways to make your actual drive smoother, try to plan for what you will need readily available during the trip and keep those items upfront with you instead of in the trunk with the luggage. Keep a bin with you that has all the essentials such paper towels or wipes for spills, snacks, drinks, or an emergency bag filled with band aids or medicine. For snacks, buy in bulk to save some money, but then separate them into small snack bags for easy storage and sharing. When making out your grocery list, make sure you think about snacks and drinks that are healthy and not too sugary, so your children don’t build up too much energy during the trip!
Flying with children can be challenging, especially when you have to keep in mind all of the restrictions and guidelines that need to be followed, all while making sure you make it to your gate in time! One of the best ways to plan ahead is to check with the airline you are traveling with and the Transportation Security Administration webpage regarding special guidelines for traveling with children. You’ll be able to find information about check-in, what you can and cannot bring, what you may need for children of certain ages and more.
When packing, make sure to include extra outfits. This will be helpful if your child needs to be changed for any reason or if your luggage is delayed in reaching your destination. You should also think about overpacking snacks and under packing when it comes to toys. Absolutely bring a few of your children’s favorite toys or games, but young children can find entertainment in the simplest items. If your child is hungry, they are more likely to be irritable during the flight.
Trying to think of what you could bring with you on your trip that will keep your children entertained? Here are some great ideas that can work whether you are flying or driving:
- iPods and tablets that have educational games
- Portable DVD players and movies
- Window clings so your children can create mess-free
- Busy bags that have different activities
- Have your children create travel journal documenting their trip
- Mess-free paints and/or coloring books
- Puzzles or word search books
- Card games
What tips or activities would you suggest to families traveling with children?