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Top 10 tips on travelling with kids

Updated on November 4, 2016

Little boy crying on the plane

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boy crying on the airplane
boy crying on the airplane
boy crying on the airplane

Is it that scary?

Are you all excited for Thanksgiving and Christmas? Have you been dying to visit your friends and family and take a few days off to go on a nice holiday vacation? But, have you thought about travelling with your kids during the busiest time of the year yet? Oh, don’t lose your enthusiasm!

As the family holiday season is approaching, parents need to get ready to face all the struggles and the joys of taking their young kids on car/plane journeys to visit their relatives or to spend a few days at a holiday resort. While it’s not that easy for adults to bear the travelling difficulties during the busiest days and months of the year, the process is even harder on small kids.

Early mornings, long car journeys and plane flights, crowded airports with hundreds of people roaming around, endless queues, loud noises, tiredness, travelling sickness, unfamiliar hotel’s/relatives house’s environment, busy parents, who can’t devote all of their attention to a confused child make kids bored, confused and frustrated. And that turns travelling into a total nightmare for the entire family.

Thus, most parents are terrified of the idea of taking their kids on holidays or to see their granny/auntie, who lives in a different state and desperately wants to hug and kiss her little cutie(s).

However, that shouldn’t stop you from visiting your family or going on a holiday getaway with your little ones. If you develop your own ‘family travelling style’, acquire a couple of useful habits, which ensure smooth journeys with kids, approach the situation with a positive attitude in contempt of the difficulties family travelling is inevitably related to and accept the fact that the journey is never going to be perfect, you’ll be able to turn travelling with young kids into a somewhat enjoyable experience for everyone.

In the end, once you reach your destination, all the travelling nightmares will be forgotten and you’ll get to enjoy the time at the new place and with the people you haven’t seen for so long.

So, don’t get intimidated by the trip that hasn’t even started yet and use these tips for travelling with kids to make sure that it goes as smooth as possible.

Small boy boarding the plane

Top 10 tips for travelling with kids

  1. Avoid peak travel days. If you want to visit your family for a holiday, try to get to the destination a few days before the actual family gathering to avoid the jam-packed airports and airplanes with loud and annoyed passengers, the lack of luggage space and the air that’s hard to breathe. Don’t forget to reserve the services of a home/pet sitter in advance, as they get booked out quite quickly around the holidays.
  2. Start early. Everything takes twice or even three times as much time when you do it with kids. Thus, you need to make your travelling plans taking into consideration the extra time you might need to get everyone and everything set it the car, to make it to the airport despite the things you’ve forgotten and the backseat screams, to go through the security with a ton of luggage and huge car seats, to take your kids potty a million times throughout the trip, to tackle temper tantrums, and so on. The list of things that might go on or that may require extra time is literally endless. So, make sure to carry out the necessary traveling preparations beforehand and start your journey a lot earlier than you’d normally do without any kiddos on the board.
  3. Choose the flights wisely. Try your hardest to book direct non-stop flights and avoid connecting ones not to deal with multiple boarding, taking your carry on luggage to the other plane and (God forbid!) flight delays caused by weather conditions. You don’t want to go through that experience with your little ones.
  4. Don’t board as soon as you’re allowed to. There’s no need to keep your energy bomb of a child on the plane for longer than expected. Let your kids run around the airport, look at the huge planes and explore the place to wear them out before boarding.
  5. Plan the entertainment. It’s quite difficult to contain an energetic child who doesn’t want to sit through a long car/plane journey. That’s why the more entertainment options you may come up with – the better. Find simple games you may play together, download favorite cartoons or e-books, purchase a few inexpensive toys and coloring books to distract your kid with the new things. Change the activities every 15-30 minutes not to let your little one get too bored and beyond cranky.
  6. Choose family-friendly hotels and look for the family discounts and deals to save money on accommodation. The Guardian suggests home exchange as one of the ways to lower the traveling expenses and finding a kid-friendly accommodation.
  7. Pack extras, but keep it minimal. Extra clothes in case if someone gets car/plane sick or has a potty accident, extra toys to entertain during the journey, extra snacks, extra binkies (if needed), extra pajamas and socks, a lot of underwear if you’re going through the potty training phase, a change of clothes for you… But, while it’s always nice to have a couple of backup options for the basic items, it’s necessary to keep the rest of your luggage quite minimalistic. For that matter, pack an outfit per day and a couple of spare tops and bottoms that would match any of those outfits. Only one favorite toy – a comfort item – is allowed. The fewer bags you have to juggle along with your kids, the easier the journey will be for you. (And, the less laundry you’ll have to do once the holiday is over).
  8. Even if your child is walking, a small fold-down stroller might appear quite useful on a holiday. Thus, try to bring one with you or rent one once you reach your destination.
  9. Babysitter. Take the most of the holiday and make sure to squeeze at least a little bit of quality time with your partner in it. Thus, if you have a chance, try to plan your holidays with your usual babysitter and ask her if she’d like to come with you and work just a few nights to let you and your partner go out kid-free. If not, use the one-time babysitting services or ask your local friends/family members who have kids to give you the number of their babysitter.
  10. If you’re going on a road trip, plan it thoroughly to avoid traffic jams, include a couple of family-friendly pit stops and pack an entertainment bag to get your kids all excited for the trip and keep them busy on the road.

Kids on the road trip

What part of travelling with young kids is the hardest for you?

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