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Travel with kids – tips tricks and sanity

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“Show the children the world” they say – but do those people actually have kids? As a mom of two frequent travelers I can attest that travel can be easy – okay maybe not easy — but it can be manageable and worthwhile. Why travel if it isn’t worthwhile? Of course worthwhile is individually drawn. I figure if the kids either enjoy it or learn something from it and the parents are with only two more gray hairs than it would be considered worth it.

 

travel with kids
Make travel enjoyable. Have balance (ie me time) and fun for kids planned.

I have traveled with my kids in a variety of ways: plane to India four times. Mexico four times. From Phoenix to Michigan quite a few times. From Phoenix to the DC area a few times. Road trips to California and a major road trip (with our wonderful au pair) from AZ to Upper Michigan as well. All parents want stress-free time and attached parents may sacrifice the “balance” and get stressed. Because of this plan “me” time as well into your trip.

 

Tips for travel with kids

  • Have low expectations for sitting/staying/being – you can have a plan but stressed travel is not easy travel!
  • When going by car – start when your kids are sleeping and make it as far as you can while they sleep
  • When going by airplane – have something new for them to do to keep them occuppied. Stickers and sticky notes do great for age 1 and above. It is very tactile for the really young too!
  • Take potty breaks or be prepared for messes.
  • Find parks for kids to burn energy for meals. Quick food and park tends to do better than attempting a sit down meal!
  • If you can choose to have stopovers where the locales are kid-friendly
  • Plan something kid-friendly into the trip – most beneficial if kids have something “each day” that they can be excited about!
  • For preschool and above you can make a game out of “finding” certain landmarks or items. Give them each a handy-dandy notebook of things to find. The person who finds all their items may get to pick the dinner spot for example.
  • If you have an infant bring a sling. It is a lot easier than a stroller. But you can use the stroller to carry “everything else” too!
  • Nurse on the airplane. Seriously. I had people say “I didn’t even know you had a baby there!”
  • I like to wrap gifts (toys or stickers etc) and give after meals on long flights or in mid-points. Kids look forward to it and the time it takes to unwrap buys time too!
  • If you have two or more adults then split time. So both be in charge for a while but each adult should have “me” time or “sleep time” on the plane. When road trips allow adults to take turns on potty breaks. Even a few minutes of privacy is a sanity saver!

 

In all traveling with kids can be fun and educational.

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10 comments

  1. When ever I know we are going on a long trip I always go to Michaels or the dollar store and get my little guys a couple of new cheap toys. I don’t let them have them until the trip. The allure of new toys always works to keep them occupied….. Well at least for the first hour :)

     
  2. These are great tips! I’m not a big flyer, so my preferred method would be to have my husband be in charge of the kids so that I can take my Xanax and survive the trip.

     
  3. Good tips, we’re going to be taking a very long car trip with our two girls soon so I’ll be putting them to use soon :)

     
  4. Great tips! We’ve never taken our 2 year od on a plane, but he has made some very long car trips, and he’s even been on a cruise. We started traveling with him as soon as his Pedi. gave us the green light and we’ve never looked back. We love traveling as a family, and he is great for us on trips!

     

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