When it comes to traveling with my children, I like to say that I have it down to a science. But really there is an art to traveling with your kids. With so many preparing to travel with their families for the holidays I have prepared a list of tips for traveling with your kids.
1. Be Prepared | This does not mean to start preparing the night before you travel. While I can pack my own suitcase in this fashion, when it comes to traveling with your kids you want to begin much sooner than hours before. Also make sure to talk to your children up to the day of your departure. When your kids know what to expect and can be prepared they will be easier to travel with during your trip. Keep things light and exciting.
2. Create a To Do List | Lists help you to get the ball rolling, to make sure you do not forget anything, and to even help get your kids excited about the adventure of travel! You can even get them involved with packing their bags.
3. Suitcase Ready | Have their suitcase ready to go first. Make sure it is going to be easy enough to travel with alongside your other bags. Is your child old enough to carry their own suitcase? Will they have trouble rolling it through the airport? The last thing you want to do, is to be stressed out because you are having to drag or carry more suitcases than you had planned. Give it a test go in the house. Also make sure to have everything labeled and ready to go. You can put a name and address card inside the suitcase as well as the luggage tag.
4. In Case of Emergencies, Carry On | The carry on bag for your child/ren is just as important as their luggage. You need to plan in case their suitcase becomes lost and for emergencies that could happen in transit to your final destination. I also suggest getting your child a rolling backpack or a portable luggage cart that they can attach their bag too. This makes it easy to transport and one less bag you will have to carry. Things to think about having on the carry on are:
- Contact details. Both for members within the traveling party and for your final destination. In case someone gets lost it is always good to have this information with your child.
- Change of clothes. In case of an accident, a mess, or having a missing suitcase. Better to be safe than sorry.
- Prescriptions and bandaids. Anything you can think of that your child might need, make sure to keep it in ziplock bag easily to be found in the bag.
- Reusable water bottle. Easily to be refilled and to help keep your child hydrated.
- Busy Items. Things to keep your child preoccupied. Books, notebook, pencils, game, etc. If they will need spare batteries or a charger, keep it near by.
5. Snacks | Never rely on food being available when you travel. Always bring your own provisions and think about what kind of food will be best suited for your children and for the journey. Empty water bottles can be filled up once inside the airport.
7. Important documents | Make sure you have all the important documents you will need and have them in one secure but easy to get to place. Have a determined location for where to put the boarding passes and passports when you do not need at hand.
8. Plan for Fun | Traveling can be stressful but it can also be a fun adventure. When you plan for fun you can ease of the stress and tension of different situations that can arise. You never know if there will be a delay, so plan for one just in case. I recommend making up a ‘Travel Hunt’ of things they can find in an airport, even from the waiting area at the gate. Better yet make it a fun bingo game that can be played more than once. Bring along special goodies like books or games that the kids have not seen prior to the trip. The added bonus of having a new item to enjoy will help kids see traveling as fun. In preparation look up your travel areas to see if the are kids play areas they will have access too.
9. Patience | Be ready to teach a lesson in patience. More than likely there will be time spent waiting, whether that be in a queue (line) or at the gate. Use this time to teach your children the value of patience and things they can look forward to when the waiting is over. Do not go through all your fun goodies and food in first hour. Block things out and use the power of anticipation and talking about things to come to help the time pass.
10. Take a Moment | It might happen. Someone might get really stressed out. Someone else may have a melt down because they are tired. A situation might arise that will make you all scream ‘are we there yet?’. Know before hand that this will happen and be ready to take a moment to regroup and refocus with your family. You might even decide to have a special key word that you guys can say to let the other family members know when things are becoming a little too much.
Q: These are my ten tips for traveling with your kids. What tips do you have for traveling with your family?
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