Travel Tips With Kids

Reviewed Dec 22, 2019

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Summary

  • Have each child pack a personal backpack.
  • Compile a surprise goody bag.
  • Stop often.
  • Get up and move around a plane cabin often with your child.

“Are we almost there yet?” This question is all too familiar to parents traveling with children. Although today’s minivan makes travel less painful than the days of riding in a station wagon without air conditioning, road trips are never easy. Nor is changing planes with a stroller, car seat, diaper bag … Before you hit the highway or tackle air travel, consider these tips for traveling with children.

Road trip tips

  • Stop often. Children need frequent opportunities to get out of the car, stretch, and exert some physical energy. If your children are growing increasingly antsy or irritable, take a five-minute break. Look for places to pull over that offer room to run, such as rest stops with picnic areas, rather than fast food chains or convenience stores. Consider bringing a jump rope, bubbles, or ball for some quick playtime.
  • Rotate seats. A simple change in perspective can make a big difference. Consider assigning each seat a separate responsibility, such as deciding where the family will stop to eat, what car game the family will play, or what music to listen to.
  • Keep children informed of where you are going, when you plan to stop next, side trips, etc. Older kids may enjoy mapping out your destination using a highlighter. If they can see where it is they’re headed, you may not hear the inevitable “are we almost there?”
  • Use car window shades to keep the car as comfortable as possible.
  • Designate quiet time.
  • Don’t tolerate bickering. Squabbling is not only irritating, it is a hazardous distraction to the driver. Pull over in a safe and convenient spot and ask kids to get out of the car and settle the issue.
  • Stock up on supplies, such as tissues, wet towelettes, drink boxes, and snacks so that you will have to stop only as necessary.

Trouble-free air travel

  • Let the ticketing agent know you will be traveling with kids. Ask for bulkhead seating, which tends to offer more space. See if the airline offers child safety seats so that you don’t have to bring yours from home. Request a child’s meal ahead of time or consider bringing along a special meal from home.
  • Board early. Get your children in their seats and occupied before general passenger boarding.
  • Dress in layers. Airplane temperatures often fluctuate, and blankets aren’t necessarily available for everyone.
  • Take advantage of in-flight movies or have a movie or two ready to go on an iPad or laptop. Movie-watching occupies a good amount of travel time.
  • Let children have turns at the window seat.
  • Move around the cabin with your child periodically, but do not let him roam the aisles without you.
  • Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids—air travel can quickly dehydrate a small child.
  • Give your baby a pacifier or bottle and older children chewing gum to avoid earache during takeoff and landing
  • Let everyone else deplane ahead of you.

Travel packs

Have each child pack a personal backpack with important things from home (e.g., books, MP3 player, stuffed animal). You can make the trip a little more fun by compiling a surprise goody bag that includes some travel treats, like:

  • Travel games (get ideas from books at your local library)
  • Activity and game books, brain teasers, threading sets, felt boards, etc.
  • Stickers
  • Art supplies
  • Hand puppets
  • Electronic games
  • Wrapped surprises
  • Special food, such as fortune cookies, trail mix, homemade snacks, or candy
By Christine P. Martin
Source: Trouble-Free Travel With Children: Helpful Hints for Parents on the Go by Vicki Lansky. MJF Books, 1999; The Penny Whistle Traveling With Kids Book by Meredith Brokaw and Annie Gilbar. Fireside, 1995.

Summary

  • Have each child pack a personal backpack.
  • Compile a surprise goody bag.
  • Stop often.
  • Get up and move around a plane cabin often with your child.

“Are we almost there yet?” This question is all too familiar to parents traveling with children. Although today’s minivan makes travel less painful than the days of riding in a station wagon without air conditioning, road trips are never easy. Nor is changing planes with a stroller, car seat, diaper bag … Before you hit the highway or tackle air travel, consider these tips for traveling with children.

Road trip tips

  • Stop often. Children need frequent opportunities to get out of the car, stretch, and exert some physical energy. If your children are growing increasingly antsy or irritable, take a five-minute break. Look for places to pull over that offer room to run, such as rest stops with picnic areas, rather than fast food chains or convenience stores. Consider bringing a jump rope, bubbles, or ball for some quick playtime.
  • Rotate seats. A simple change in perspective can make a big difference. Consider assigning each seat a separate responsibility, such as deciding where the family will stop to eat, what car game the family will play, or what music to listen to.
  • Keep children informed of where you are going, when you plan to stop next, side trips, etc. Older kids may enjoy mapping out your destination using a highlighter. If they can see where it is they’re headed, you may not hear the inevitable “are we almost there?”
  • Use car window shades to keep the car as comfortable as possible.
  • Designate quiet time.
  • Don’t tolerate bickering. Squabbling is not only irritating, it is a hazardous distraction to the driver. Pull over in a safe and convenient spot and ask kids to get out of the car and settle the issue.
  • Stock up on supplies, such as tissues, wet towelettes, drink boxes, and snacks so that you will have to stop only as necessary.

Trouble-free air travel

  • Let the ticketing agent know you will be traveling with kids. Ask for bulkhead seating, which tends to offer more space. See if the airline offers child safety seats so that you don’t have to bring yours from home. Request a child’s meal ahead of time or consider bringing along a special meal from home.
  • Board early. Get your children in their seats and occupied before general passenger boarding.
  • Dress in layers. Airplane temperatures often fluctuate, and blankets aren’t necessarily available for everyone.
  • Take advantage of in-flight movies or have a movie or two ready to go on an iPad or laptop. Movie-watching occupies a good amount of travel time.
  • Let children have turns at the window seat.
  • Move around the cabin with your child periodically, but do not let him roam the aisles without you.
  • Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids—air travel can quickly dehydrate a small child.
  • Give your baby a pacifier or bottle and older children chewing gum to avoid earache during takeoff and landing
  • Let everyone else deplane ahead of you.

Travel packs

Have each child pack a personal backpack with important things from home (e.g., books, MP3 player, stuffed animal). You can make the trip a little more fun by compiling a surprise goody bag that includes some travel treats, like:

  • Travel games (get ideas from books at your local library)
  • Activity and game books, brain teasers, threading sets, felt boards, etc.
  • Stickers
  • Art supplies
  • Hand puppets
  • Electronic games
  • Wrapped surprises
  • Special food, such as fortune cookies, trail mix, homemade snacks, or candy
By Christine P. Martin
Source: Trouble-Free Travel With Children: Helpful Hints for Parents on the Go by Vicki Lansky. MJF Books, 1999; The Penny Whistle Traveling With Kids Book by Meredith Brokaw and Annie Gilbar. Fireside, 1995.

Summary

  • Have each child pack a personal backpack.
  • Compile a surprise goody bag.
  • Stop often.
  • Get up and move around a plane cabin often with your child.

“Are we almost there yet?” This question is all too familiar to parents traveling with children. Although today’s minivan makes travel less painful than the days of riding in a station wagon without air conditioning, road trips are never easy. Nor is changing planes with a stroller, car seat, diaper bag … Before you hit the highway or tackle air travel, consider these tips for traveling with children.

Road trip tips

  • Stop often. Children need frequent opportunities to get out of the car, stretch, and exert some physical energy. If your children are growing increasingly antsy or irritable, take a five-minute break. Look for places to pull over that offer room to run, such as rest stops with picnic areas, rather than fast food chains or convenience stores. Consider bringing a jump rope, bubbles, or ball for some quick playtime.
  • Rotate seats. A simple change in perspective can make a big difference. Consider assigning each seat a separate responsibility, such as deciding where the family will stop to eat, what car game the family will play, or what music to listen to.
  • Keep children informed of where you are going, when you plan to stop next, side trips, etc. Older kids may enjoy mapping out your destination using a highlighter. If they can see where it is they’re headed, you may not hear the inevitable “are we almost there?”
  • Use car window shades to keep the car as comfortable as possible.
  • Designate quiet time.
  • Don’t tolerate bickering. Squabbling is not only irritating, it is a hazardous distraction to the driver. Pull over in a safe and convenient spot and ask kids to get out of the car and settle the issue.
  • Stock up on supplies, such as tissues, wet towelettes, drink boxes, and snacks so that you will have to stop only as necessary.

Trouble-free air travel

  • Let the ticketing agent know you will be traveling with kids. Ask for bulkhead seating, which tends to offer more space. See if the airline offers child safety seats so that you don’t have to bring yours from home. Request a child’s meal ahead of time or consider bringing along a special meal from home.
  • Board early. Get your children in their seats and occupied before general passenger boarding.
  • Dress in layers. Airplane temperatures often fluctuate, and blankets aren’t necessarily available for everyone.
  • Take advantage of in-flight movies or have a movie or two ready to go on an iPad or laptop. Movie-watching occupies a good amount of travel time.
  • Let children have turns at the window seat.
  • Move around the cabin with your child periodically, but do not let him roam the aisles without you.
  • Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids—air travel can quickly dehydrate a small child.
  • Give your baby a pacifier or bottle and older children chewing gum to avoid earache during takeoff and landing
  • Let everyone else deplane ahead of you.

Travel packs

Have each child pack a personal backpack with important things from home (e.g., books, MP3 player, stuffed animal). You can make the trip a little more fun by compiling a surprise goody bag that includes some travel treats, like:

  • Travel games (get ideas from books at your local library)
  • Activity and game books, brain teasers, threading sets, felt boards, etc.
  • Stickers
  • Art supplies
  • Hand puppets
  • Electronic games
  • Wrapped surprises
  • Special food, such as fortune cookies, trail mix, homemade snacks, or candy
By Christine P. Martin
Source: Trouble-Free Travel With Children: Helpful Hints for Parents on the Go by Vicki Lansky. MJF Books, 1999; The Penny Whistle Traveling With Kids Book by Meredith Brokaw and Annie Gilbar. Fireside, 1995.

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