Traveling with children can be a daunting task. Between keeping them fed, keeping them entertained, and making sure they don’t get lost in a foreign country, it can feel like you have your hands full! But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we will list 50 tips and tricks for traveling with children.
From well-known tips to little-known secrets, we have everything you need to make your next family vacation a success!
35 Tips and Tricks for Traveling with Kids: The Ultimate Guide
- Make a packing list. This will help you make sure that you don’t forget anything important while you’re packing.
- Label your child’s luggage with their name and contact information. This will help if they get lost or separated from you during your trip.
- Pay to book your seat with your child. Many airlines will separate kids from their parents if the flight is full and charge you a fee to have your child sit with you. It’s a HORRIBLE business practice but if you want to avoid the stress make sure to pay for seat selection OR book and call immediately to see if you can sit together. Don’t wait until you get to the gate as that makes it more difficult for all involved.
- Know the high season of where you’re going and try to avoid that time of year. Traveling with kids can be expensive enough as it is, so don’t add to the cost of traveling during peak tourist season.
- Bring snacks and entertainment for the plane ride. We always bring a small backpack filled with snacks and activities like books, coloring pages, and small games that won’t take up too much space or weight. This will help keep your kiddos occupied (and hopefully quiet) on long flights.
- Plan plenty of downtime for your trip. Trips are always more fun when there’s a mix of activity and relaxation, so make sure to plan some downtime into your vacation schedule. That way everyone can recharge their batteries before heading out for more exploration!
- Don’t book airline tickets from third-party sites. Many third-party sites (like Expedia or Orbitz) add on a fee for tickets purchased, so it’s always best to book directly from the airline or hotel website, or use a reputable travel agent!
- Start packing days before your trip. Make a list of what you think you need and then put everything out on the floor or bed and organize it by a person. Typically you will probably need 50% less than what you first pull out to pack so just keep that in mind.
- Invest in some packing cubes. These are lifesavers when it comes to packing and unpacking–especially if you have a lot of small items. We use them for our clothes, toiletries, and even snacks!
- When you return from your trip print cheap copies of any photos you take and put them into a photo album–young kids LOVE looking back on memories and talking through familiar pictures is a great vocabulary-building activity.
- Pack a first aid kit with any specific medications you need for your child. It’s always good to also bring some basics like Tylenol, a thermometer, and bandaids.
- If your young child is potty training, pack a small potty in your luggage! This can come in handy when you are on the road or even at your destination as it will be a comfortable and familiar place for your little one to use the bathroom.
- If you bring water bottles with straws or containers of food on the plane, keep in mind that the pressure will make them explode when you open them unless you do it super slow…
- Research the best pediatric ER or urgent care in the area. The last thing you want is to be dealing with an emergency in an unfamiliar place with a hurt, sick or screaming kid.
- Before you leave take a picture of your passport, birth certificates, and licenses and email them to yourself so you can always access the information if you need to.
- Check your mobile phone plan to make sure you won’t get hit with crazy charges or use WhatsApp to call and text with family back home.
- If you are experiencing jetlag just try to push through the first day and go to bed at a reasonable time. Using a very small amount of melatonin can help reset your (and your kids) sleep cycles. Make sure you check with your pediatrician prior to giving any type of medication to your little ones.
- Consider split packing to avoid losing everything for one person in case of a bag mishap.
- Pack outfits by day for your kids to make it easier for them to get themselves dressed for the day while you’re traveling.
- Consider using a capsule wardrobe for yourself and your children on your trip. Make sure everything you pack can go with everything else: so you may have five tops and three bottoms that are all color-coordinated. This equals 15 outfits! This will help you pack less and avoid overpacking.
- Bring a handful of freezer size Ziplocs in case of a bodily fluid emergency…no No more explanation is needed.
- Try to fit everything into a carry-on bag. Checking bags is now often an extra fee and you typically don’t need everything you think you do!
- Think about the timing of flights. If you are traveling with young kids or traveling with a baby, it may be best to fly during naps or overnight. But that isn’t always the case–think about your individual kiddo to figure out what you think would work best. And understand that it may take some trial and error!
- Buy or borrow kids’ books that are specifically about the place you’ll be visiting. This will help children prepare. This is especially helpful if you have a kid that has a hard time with transitions or adapting to new places.
- Bring a baby carrier to use so you can have baby contained and you could have your hands-free. This is super helpful while navigating the airport or busy cities.
- If you (or your children) get motion sick try Gravol, Dramamine, ginger chews or sea bands–again, check with your pediatrician first!
- Pack a few small toys that won’t take up a lot of space and can keep toddlers entertained for short periods of time.
- If you’re traveling to multiple places in one trip make sure to have a designated bag for dirty clothes and another for clean clothes. This will help avoid any confusion or extra laundry when you get home!
- Bring an electronic device charger (or two) as well as backup batteries so you don’t run out of juice while on the go.
- You can check your stroller right at the gate of the plane so if you are bringing one get a travel bag (or just know you might get a few dings on the stroller).
- If you’re taking a car seat on the plane (which is recommended for safety for younger children) get either a trolly or a strap to attach the seat to your luggage to help you navigate through the airport.
- Pull the kids into planning as early as possible. It helps maintain engagement in family travel as they get older and can give them a sense of ownership and pride in the trip. This also alleviates some stressors for parents when it comes to traveling with kids.
- If you want to rent baby gear like bassinet, stroller, or pack and play check out BabyQuip. They have a huge selection of gear and you can rent it for your entire trip!
- Consider getting a car service to and from the airport. It’s often just as expensive as a taxi or Uber but is going to be significantly more comfortable and less stressful for you.
- Make a list of all your important travel documents like passports, visas, tickets, etc. and put them in a safe spot–either electronic or hard copy. That way you’re not frantically searching for things when it’s time to leave!
Traveling with kids can feel really stressful but there are so many benefits to doing it as a family. We hope they help make your travel a bit smoother and more enjoyable. Make sure you are following us over on Instagram as we head out on the adventure of a lifetime with our little ones.