Traveling with kids can become extremely overwhelming, especially when you are doing it for the first time.
Even though your kids are anxiously waiting for it, you will find yourself facing a lot of challenges during the planning process. You can be an experienced traveler and have done it many times. However, this doesn’t mean that the process will run smoothly. There are a lot of little things you need to take care of.
Therefore, planning is key when traveling with kids. You will need to pay attention to every detail and create an organized list of items to pack. Keep reading this article and find which are the best practical tips you can use when traveling with kids.
1. Plan in advance and leave enough time
When you are traveling with kids, you will need a long list of items to take with you. Even though you are traveling to a destination where you can buy the things you need, it is always better to take any necessary items with you from home in case you’re unable to find exactly the products your kids need.
In order to make sure that you are not forgetting things, you should prepare your to-do list in advance and update it as the departure date comes closer. What is more, you should also plan enough extra time when you head to the airport. When traveling with kids, the check-in process takes a bit longer than if you would travel alone. You should take into consideration that something might go wrong at the security point when you have your luggage packed with baby bottles and other products your kids need. Apart from the time necessary for check-in, you should consider this tip of leaving enough time during the entire trip.
2. Bring new toys with you
Kids can be easily distracted and calmed down when they see an unfamiliar toy or book. Especially when you are traveling for long hours, your kids will become exhausted as they are changing their normal schedule and the surrounding environment. This will make them agitated and it might become difficult to calm them down.
An efficient tip to use in such situations is showing them a new toy or book which will keep them busy. Even though your kids will participate with you during the packing process, you should be careful to put these new toys and books somewhere where they don’t see them. That way, when you take them out, the surprise and excitement will be even higher. What is more, you shouldn’t use this “secret weapon” immediately after your kid shows the first signs of discomfort. Try to keep them until the moment of meltdown, when you feel that nothing else is going to have an effect on him. If you take it out too soon, then you won’t have any other solution if things go really bad.
3. Use technology to keep them busy
As you are traveling to a new destination, you most probably downloaded various travel apps to help you discover the location’s beauties and find interesting activities to do with your kids. However, you should also think of bringing technology to your kids as well. Even if you are against using it when you are at home or you have a very strict schedule when it comes to watching TV or playing games on the tablet, you might consider breaking these rules a bit during vacation.
Giving your kids access to technology while traveling will have the same effect as when you are offering them a new toy or book. Especially when they know that this is a restricted activity, its soothing effect will be greater and faster. Furthermore, you can also give them access to TV or technology during the entire holiday. As long as you explain to them that during the holiday they can enjoy a special TV and internet program, you won’t risk that they will change the attitude when you come back home and you apply the same restrictions they had before.
4. Keep your kids healthy
It’s not uncommon that kids get sick while on holiday and this can compromise the entire trip. Depending on your destination, it is always better to be prepared and pack everything necessary to keep them healthy. For example, if you are going to a sunny resort, you should pack light clothes, made of natural fibers, which will prevent them from sweating. In addition, keep also in mind that they will generally need at least two sets of clothes per day, depending on their ages and the activities you do on vacation.
So, pack enough t-shirts and short pants to keep them comfortable. Food and water can also become a serious problem when traveling to exotic destinations. Do detailed research in advance and pack your sterilizer with you in case you discover that water is not safe to drink. When it comes to food, the best thing you can do is eat in busy locations and stay away from buffets. Moreover, despite all your safety measures, you should always have with you some antihistaminic pills to help you in case things go wrong.
5. Explain the trip to your kids
If you want to have a relaxed and entertaining holiday with your kids you should explain them in advance as much as you can about the destination. When you are taking them to a new place, even though you expect them to get excited, they might get scared of the new surroundings and start feeling uncomfortable. This will bring on stress and they may start acting up. From the moment you book the tickets until the day you come back home, you should explain the trip to your kids. Talk to them not only about the destination and the things they can do there, but also about the journey. Explain to them what they should expect at the airport and how the schedule looks. This will help them feel like adults and it will become easier for them to adapt quickly to the changes.
Traveling with kids doesn’t have to be so dramatic. Of course, not everything will go as planned and there will be moments when you will feel overwhelmed. However, you should pack yourself with patience and admit that things can go wrong. On the other hand, as long as you plan everything in advance and engage your kids in the preparation process, the risk of something going wrong will be minimal. And even if your first family trip doesn’t go as expected, you shouldn’t give up — keep organizing trips for your kids. Exposing them to new activities and places stimulate their imagination and intelligence.
About the guest author:
Daniela McVicker is a freelance writer, blogger, and editor at Topwritersreview. She graduated from Durham University and has an MA in psychological science. Her passion is traveling and finding ways to enrich students’ learning experience.