Introducing your kids to the joys of travel is a lesson that will stay with them their entire life. Travel not only exposes you to different people and cultures, but encourages tolerance and openness to new ideas. However, traveling with kids presents its own set of practical and logistic challenges. We offer some tips for making the trip more enjoyable for all your family members.
- Travel light. While it may seem counterintuitive, traveling light on your family trip allows you to be more flexible as well as have a free hand to grab onto a wandering child, if necessary. Reduce the number of clothes you’ll need by booking accommodations with laundry service or a guest laundry. Limit the number of toys or personal items each child can bring.
- Allow for plenty of travel time. Close connections can be a headache even for a single traveler. Add small children into the mix and tight connections can easily become a stressful headache-inducing activity. Avoid this by allowing a lot more time at the airport, train station and in the car than you think you’ll need. That way that last minute bathroom call won’t threaten to cause you to miss your plane.
- Plan a constant stream of activities. Keep your kids occupied by handing out new toys and activities every hour or so. These can be activity books, toys, puzzles or even old school games like “I spy.” For older kids, you can incorporate some aspect of the culture, food or geography of the place that you are visiting. A deck of cards can be invaluable if you run out of other options.
- Make sure that you have clear photos of your kids on your phone. In case you get separated, it’s wise to have a clear picture of each of your kids on your cell phone so that you can show authorities and searchers what they look like. Even better is taking a new picture every day, so that it will also show the clothes that they are wearing that day. Better to be safe than sorry.
- Stock a few easy foods for the road. Hungry kids are cranky kids and it’s not always possible to stop every time your kids want something to eat. Instead, pack a stock of snacks for the road. Things like individual applesauce and fruit cups (with spoons), packets of peanuts, boxes of raisins and other dried fruits, granola bars and whole fruit like bananas or apples make easy to carry snacks. Stay hydrated by carrying refillable water bottles or packing small bottles of water.
Traveling with kids doesn’t have to be a headache. Make the trip enjoyable for everyone by traveling light, allowing for extra travel time and stocking up on snacks before you depart. With just a little planning, you’ll end up with pleasant memories that will last a lifetime.