Have you ever planned the perfect family vacations and suddenly things don’t go out as expected? Well, it’s perfectly normal! I’ve seen many families having to cancel trips or totally giving up the idea of traveling because they don’t know what to expect or how to prepare for it.
I decided to write about this because I think it’s important to let children be children and explore the world! Take a seat and take notes because right now you I’ll be giving you 35 tips for traveling with kids, babies, and toddlers! From organization to disorganization, in order to have the most enjoyable trips with the smallest ones of the family!
#1 Don’t be afraid of what others say…
How many times haven’t we heard of the many disasters that can happen when traveling with children? I bet it’s a lot.
People will have many negative stories but you must think that they also have many positive stories about the many good experiences they had when traveling as a family! Anyway, the “bad experiences” could also be the big laughs of tomorrow.
Don’t be afraid to travel with your children, they will build some nice memories and you will too, so don’t take what others say too seriously. Here are some good family experiences, in case you need some extra courage!
Quit it all to travel the world (with a kid):
#2 Check with the doctor:
Before traveling you should take your kids to the doctor. Tell him about your plans and the place where you plan to go travel. This is needed in case your kids will need some extra vaccine before the trip in order to prevent unwanted diseases.
If the doctor says your children do need vaccination before the trip, don’t just take them the very next day they get it, ask your doctor how much time you must wait before taking them to the trip.
Ask if you need some vaccines before traveling too. This way you can be much more confident when traveling with them. Here is a video of a mother and her son getting their travel vaccinations in case you want to show your children that other families do it too.
Getting our travel vaccinations:
#3 Carry the right documentation:
Carrying your own documentation may be a habit already, but traveling with kids requires some extra planning since you must first investigate what kind of documentation is needed depending on how you are going to travel and where to.
Sometimes forgetting or not having one single documentation paper can lead to the cancellation of the trip. Consider gathering all that’s needed to travel beforehand. Here is a list of the ten most important travel documents when traveling with kids, for you to have an idea of what you need…
#4 Check the Weather:
Good, now you and your kids are vaccinated and you have all the documentation needed to travel. It’s time to prepare the luggage! So, what do we need exactly? Before deciding what we and our children will wear for our trip, we need to check the weather. It could be snowing right now but maybe the place where you plan to travel is very warm, it would be a bad idea to take your sweater there.
Also, some places may be crowded in depending upon the weather. In order to avoid that, you just need to search “weather in Colombia during august” to set an example. This will help you when deciding what to carry in your luggage and not having weather problems when arriving.
#5 Think of where to stay:
There are some places that don’t accept kids and you may not want to book a hotel room in those if you plan to travel with children. Search for a good place that your children and you will enjoy!
Like a place where children can have fun in a pool and you can also relax and have a good time to release stress in a sauna. Take your time to decide which place would be fit for you and your family to enjoy your vacations!
#6 Make a list:
It is always good to make a list of all of the things we need for our trip in order to not forget anything. Sometimes we think that everything is ready and that everything is there, but once we get to where we want to get, we notice all of the many things we forgot!
The most common things are toothbrushes or phone chargers as well as some favorite toy or a little napkin. Here is a little list to help you make a packing list in order to not forget anything!
#7 Don’t forget the medicine:
When traveling with children, medicine must be checked many times before we decide to leave the house, especially if our children is asthmatic, is having a minor disease or has some special needs.
If your kid is sick you must double consider if to travel or not; if you decide to travel, then make sure you take the medicine with you at a very handy place, so that in the case of an emergency you won’t be searching for it like crazy or even lose it. It would be good reading this article before deciding to travel with children.
#8 Carry extra clothes:
We all know that children like to play and that accidents sometimes are just inevitable on a trip with them. For this reason, it would be a good idea to travel with some extra clothing for children since this could help them feel clean after an accident and would help you feel good after one too.
Don’t just carry extra clothes for them; borrow an extra blouse or two for you in case that accident involves you too. It would be better if these clothes were made of cotton since these ones will help children feel better after anything happens.
#9 Simplify your handbag:
Try to take with you only the essentials in your handbag. Choose very carefully what you want to carry with you and that will not make your handbag look very bulky.
Since you are traveling with children, you don’t want to carry more than necessary because your hands will be already too busy with children luggage, your own luggage and your children. Keep calm and try to gather the things you use every day and the things you know might make your trip less difficult.
#10 Encourage participation:
We know children like to play and are very active, help your children get involved in participating in physical activity! We know that doing everything on your own can be stressful and might make you run out of energy before time.
Make children help you out a little! This will help you save some energy and might make them feel they are also part of the process of traveling with the family. Don’t stress them and check, once they are finished, if they packed everything they need.
Of course, this is if your child is at least 5 years old.
#11 Comfy Clothes:
If you are traveling with a child, you should check for some travel wear tips that might make your child feel less stressed when traveling. If a child feels secure, then that means your child will be in a good mood and therefore will be much more open to behave well when traveling.
Long trips might make your child feel bored and if the clothes he/she is wearing are not comfy, then the trip is going to be even longer. A kid that feels good will enjoy the trip and will let other do the same.
#12 Say no to heavy luggage:
Heavy luggage is your worst enemy when traveling with children. It might not be a good idea to carry your children’s luggage, your own luggage, your handbag and your children in both your hands!
Try to keep it light and carry only what’s necessary, don’t bring too many toys, only the ones your children like as well as don’t bring things you can surely buy at the place where you are going. Here is a little list that can help you with your children’s luggage depending upon their age.
#13 First aid kit:
We all know that traveling with kids leads to many unexpected results, from small accidents like spilling the juice inside of the car to bigger accidents like your child cutting his finger while playing with something.
Children are very prone to accidents, especially when it comes to long trips. You should always carry a first aid kit just in case something happens. Maybe you won’t use it, but it is very necessary to have one.
Here is a little article about first aid kits for family travels where you can find all the information you need about the topic. Also, here is a video, in case you are a more visual person.
It is always a good idea to carry some plastic bags with you when you plan to travel with children. Some children might not feel good during long trips and a plastic bag might be ideal in case your child feels the urge to vomit, for example.
Why can’t it be a paper bag? Well, paper bags are not as strong as plastic bags so it could break inside of the car or train before you expect it. In case you need many plastic bags just to be sure, he is a video that will help you out to fold them so that they won’t take too much space…
If your child is big enough, you could search for some good snacks for traveling, like granola bars, mini pancakes or even fresh fruit. Children sometimes get hungry before we get to the hotel or even before we get to the airport, so having many different snacks is a good idea to travel with children.
If you are breastfeeding, here are some good tips for you to follow in order to avoid certain situations and make you and your child enjoy your trip.
#16 Take toys:
Children will not sleep during the entire trip nor will stay quiet if you tell them to if they are not entertained. You can carry with you some toys for your children to entertain during a flight, car or train trip.
Try to take the least noisy toys; this will prevent others to be rude because of the noise of your child’s toy. Here is a good list of travel toys from babies to teens, for you to guide yourself and decide later on what kind of toys you will carry with you.
#17 Avoid Hurting ears:
Some kids might feel their ears hurt whenever they travel and this could make your child feel stressed and he or she might even cry about it. In order to prevent this situation, you can carry with you some lollipop or something he can chew.
The sensation will not last forever; yeti t can be very stressful for the child, you and the other passengers. Here is more information about it in case you want to prevent this situation or simply want to know more.
We never know what is going to happen when we travel. Sometimes there could be problems with the energy and the entire place may turn to be dark, scaring your child.
It is always a good idea to have a lamp for you and for them to feel secure whenever this kind of situations are given. Children are children, and though they may know what is going on, they can’t just avoid feeling scared. A good lamp might help your child feel better during those situations.
#19 Children and Pets:
Sometimes we might find it hard to leave the dog in the house while we travel and children might even cry about it. You can give children the chance to say goodbye to their pet and promise them that they will be back as soon as possible, this lets children relax and feel that their pet understand the situation.
If you decide you want to take the pet with the family so that you won’t have to go through this, you might want to get a pet-friendly hotel. Here is a video about the subject:
#20 Remember your things too:
You packed everything for the children, don’t forget to pack your own things too! You may be too focused on packing things for children but you must remember that taking care of your stuff is also taking care of them.
Make a list of things you must not forget whenever you travel, not in regards to children, but in regards to yourself. A check is everything is there before you leave and make the list a month before you decide to travel so that you can make sure everything is there.
#21 Use the bathroom:
You and your children should go to the bathroom before the trip in order to avoid going to public restrooms. Those places are not precisely the cleanest places, no matter how many times they clean them.
There could be many diseases and the smell is very unpleasant. If you want to avoid diseases of any kind, just avoid going to those places with children. Take all you need and make sure everyone goes to the bathroom before you decide to travel.
#22 Always carry some cash:
There are some things that you will only be able to buy with cash to the places you go, so it is always a good idea to carry some whenever you travel with children. They might want to buy some candy or toy to some person and that person might only accept cash.
Of course, carrying cash could be something dangerous sometimes and that’s why you need to have some tips to carry it without it to become a problem.
#23 What to leave at home?
You might not want to carry the most precious things you have to a trip. You might understand that things with sentimental value must be better left at home when you go on a trip because there is a chance that you could lose it, but your children might not understand this.
Try to explain to them that carrying your most valuable things could make them lose it, prepare them beforehand so that when the time comes, they can leave what they want the most at home. Here are some things you wouldn’t like to take on a trip.
#24 Establish limits:
You must explain to your child certain rules to follow beforehand. Rules may be things like he can’t leave your side or that she can’t say “we hide a bomb” although it is just a joke. Children are very smart and they will understand if you explain to them what to do and what not to do when traveling.
Establishing limits is good since that teaches them that they are also important and that what they do is also very important and it can help the family. If you want to know more about setting limits, you can read more about it here.
Traveling with your children may be fun and a great experience! However, children can get too excited and get lost anywhere. You can buy them some identification tools with information like your phone number.
It could be a blouse, a bracelet or even a GPS tracker for children. No one wants to lose a child, so this could help you feel much more secure and also would let children have more fun during the trip.
#26 Leave before the right time to leave:
It would be a good idea to leave before “the time is right” because children can take their own time when packaging or get dressed. If you need to get out of the house at 6 in order to get to the airport at 7, you should better wake up earlier to leave at 5:30.
Trips don’t always go as expected but you can make things much easier for you and your family if you decide to prevent accidents somehow. You can even buy them a children clock in order to help them sleep better and feel better the day you must leave.
#27 Check the car:
It is always good to check the car before going to a trip. This way you can make sure that say nothing bad will happen when you and your family decide to travel somewhere and you will also help children not to feel desperate during the family trip.
You can always check the car with simple things like checking the water, oil and many other things that could fail during the trip. Try to drive the car a week before the trip just to make sure nothing bad happens.
#28 Seat belts are important:
Car safety is important and children must understand that. Explain to them why using the seatbelt will help them in case there is an accident. Make sure yourself they are having their seatbelt and also, make sure they don’t take it off.
This is very important because this can make a huge difference in case something happens. Of course, this is prevention and the fact that you are going on a family trip doesn’t mean you are going to have an accident for sure. You can read this article in case you want to know more.
#29 Don’t leave children in the car:
Although it is just for a few minutes, don’t leave your child alone inside of a car! Sometimes the heat is too strong and being inside of the car can be a matter of life and death to children.
There are many kids who literally die because their parents went to buy just one thing at the store. Take the kid with you, maybe the kid doesn’t like it, but it is necessary. They will be thanked later on. Here is information about this topic.
#30 Rest when necessary:
If you feel tired and you can no longer drive, don’t drive! You can rest a bit at a local restaurant and children will love to have some time outside of the car too. This will renew your energy and will make children feel a lot better too.
To stop for a little while may not be the best idea when you are late, but maybe arriving a little late is not that serious either. Remember, the trip was supposed to make you and your family relax, not to make you stress.
#31 Think of fun games:
Children might get bored if the trip is too long! Therefore you should always have some activities to enjoy inside of the car or the plane or even the train. Here are some fun activities to maintain children entertained while traveling.
Try to play with them, be part of their experience! They will be more than happy if you play with them too and you can even cheat a little, they will have more fun that way!
#32 Take music with you:
Children enjoy the music! You can always have a CD with songs you personally searched for them to be entertained inside of the car! Make sure you have enough songs and that those songs won’t drive you crazy.
The point of this is to have fun, not just the children, not just you, but the entire family. Here is a list of fun songs you can use for children to have fun inside of the car! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
#33 Give emergency numbers to children:
It is important to help children know which numbers are important in case anything happens. They must know mommy’s phone and daddy’s phone as well. If something were to happen to them, then also the number of another family member.
This can help them in case anything happens, for example, if they get lost they can give this number in order to get in touch with you as soon as possible. Here is an article that explains the importance of this.
#34 Be flexible:
Don’t think too much of routine. Remember that children will manage to somehow turn things in a different way. Don’t stress over things that couldn’t be helped! Be flexible! If something happens you can always have a plan B to come up with!
Although plan B was never really a plan but something that just happened to be the best option at the moment. Remember that vacations and routine are sometimes not compatible and it must not be any major problem. Here is a fun video about it!
#35 Enjoy the trip:
And last but not least… enjoy the trip! Anyway, this is why you wanted to have a family trip! Enjoy the mistakes, the good and bad moments! In the end, that’s all that matters! Make of these vacations the most memorable vacations of all times! Be a mom, be a dad, but also be yourself and have fun in the process!
Did you like these tips? I hope you did! I think it is very important for people to be prepared for anything and to enjoy life as well, and traveling with kids just shows up perfectly what I mean!
I would like to know what you think about this in the comments and if you liked the article, please share!