Tips for Traveling with Children
We’ve been chatting with all of you at the stores, through twitter and via facebook for a few weeks now about traveling with children. Together we’ve compiled a list of tips from all our our travel savvy friends on how to make your next trip go smoothly. Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed. Please feel free to add more tips in the comments...
- Pack a sense of humor.
Vacations are great at building positive childhood memories. Laughing and being laid back even if your flight is delayed or traffic on 95 is horrendous helps kids stay calm and have fun anyway. Your attitude sets the tone for the trip. Kids are very in tune with their adult role models, and sitting next to a stressed out person will only cause them stress. (Thanks for the tip, Gigi!)
- Ask the flight attendants.
If you’re flying, the flight attendants can be your greatest ally in having a successful flight. If your family is split up and you want to sit together, ask them for help. They will always do their best to accommodate people’s needs if they’re brought to their attention. Other travelers are also very helpful and generally do their best to keep kids happy too.
- Keep snacks handy.
Low blood sugar and hungry kids makes for crabby travelers. For toddlers, pack a bag of “O-shaped” cereal and bring a new shoelace or piece of string. Their snack doubles as a threading activity and can also be made into an edible necklace. (Thanks for the tip, Valla!)
- Bring small, wrapped rewards.
Positive reinforcement works wonders when traveling. It’s a great incentive for kids to behave, and it keeps them busy after each item is unwrapped. Stagger the gifts throughout the trip to keep excitement up. (Thanks for the tip, Ellie!)
- Pack a few good books.
Books can be heavy in luggage, but if you choose your titles wisely, they’re worth their weight in gold. Books that can be read over and over again do well; so do ones with great illustrations. You can stretch out a story by talking about the drawings or topics related to the story. (Thanks for the tip, duopress!)
- Rest up.
Getting a good night’s sleep is a great way to keep spirits high for the ride. Sleeping en route can sometimes be difficult, so it's best to start well rested.
- Bring entertainment.
Travel games and portable activites are a great way to keep everyone engaged while traveling. Family Talk, Melissa & Doug travel games, Magnetic Mighty Minds, scribble pads, Find-Its and fidget toys are just a few of the many things you can easily throw in a bag to take with you.
- Find the right luggage.
We love Trunkis because they are a suitcase that doubles as a ride-on toy. They are standard airline carry-on size and fit in most overhead compartments. They're also perfect for scooting around on in the concourse. Keeping things easily accessible, especially when flying is incredibly helpful.
- Give yourself time.
If you're driving, schedule time to get out of the car to stretch, have a picnic and run off some of that excess energy. Bring an inflatable ball, jump rope or other portable outdoorsy toy to encourage your children to be active.
If you're flying, you'll need that extra time to get through security lines, make sure everyone has a drink and goes to the bathroom before boarding. Even if you end up being very early, watching planes takeoff and land is a pretty awesome experience.