Congratulations, parents, co-parents, single parents, and partners, on planning a vacation or holiday travel to your families’ home with your kids; make sure to pack your sanity and plenty of patience, or use our easy 13-tip survival guide for traveling with your kids.
Whether packing up a car and traveling with your young kids or taking them traveling via plane, our tips will help make it a bit less stressful for all of you!
Admit it; traveling with your children can be a daunting task. Still, if you can avoid typical travel issues parents make, you have a chance to survive the travel chaos with your kids and enjoy vacations and traveling with your kids.
No trip will be without its young child drama no matter what you read, but those minor details are the trip-maker memories, so embrace it!
From bedtime to milestones and everything in between, kids traveling with you can be so much fun, you need to be prepared for almost anything ahead of the travel, and we will help you prepare!
We will help you without a survival guide for traveling with your kids providing tips and ways to skip to the fun while living in the moment; after all, isn’t that what parenting is all about?
Set Your Expectations When Traveling With Young Kids
If you take nothing else away from today’s article, remember that those that take their kids traveling will provide them with an education and a test of their parenting skills.
These are little people that are just learning the ways of the world, they are not adults, and they are not set up to take on all the challenges; that is YOUR job.
If you can keep them fed and slightly entertained, vacation can be a breeze, but the burden of traveling with young kids falls on you long before the trip starts!
We’ve got some great tips for traveling with young kids, including the under-1 crew, and these tips will help parents, couples, single parents, partners, and co-parents all survive and manage with much less stress.
Keep in mind you are traveling with little kids dependent on you, which will keep you focused and balanced no matter what arises, from delayed flights to potty issues!
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Pro Travel Tip For Single Parents, Co-Parents, and Partners, To Survive With Less Stress BEFORE Traveling.
One of the worst things about travel and being a parent is trying to remain stress-free when it is so hard to do with so much responsibility!
Don’t Isolate Yourself – Seek Support!
Another key step you should aim to follow as a stressed-out single parent is to seek support whenever you feel you need it.
You can ask your friends and family for support, as they’ll likely be happy to step in and give you any assistance they can offer.
If you don’t want to talk to your family and friends, and prefer privacy, seek external professional support like Embrace Grace. Just remember not to isolate yourself because talking to other co-parents, single parents, and partners, will offer some relief, and you’ll soon learn you are NOT alone in how you feel.
When you hear others are going through the same thing as you, feeling stressed, it lessens your feelings, so this is all great.
Now, you know how to knock out stress. Let’s travel and survive with our kids!
#1 The Survival Guide For Traveling With Your Kids: Starts With Planning
If the word “Planning” is not in your vocabulary, find it fast and own it!
The farther ahead you plan for kids traveling with you, the easier it will be to find accommodation and avoid issues.
- seek out hotels with options for the kids
- find stops along the way; they will love
- break down the timing without worrying about rushing
These great things can come from planning ahead of traveling with young kids, but we have so much more to keep reading!
#2 Set a Good Example When Traveling With Your Kids
Even though you are not in your everyday surroundings, kids still look to you for examples of how to interact and react.
A vacation or a trip is a huge opportunity to show them how to stay calm, remain focused, and be kind.
- let the kids see you lose it on someone
- get so upset that you lose focus on the big picture
- Get negative, or it will set the tone for the whole trip.
Instead, staying calm and focused no matter what life tosses into your adventure hand will make traveling with children an enjoyable experience.
You are molding your kids for future days ahead; make it all good, and find the rainbow in everything!
#3 Kids Traveling Love To Help, So Let Them!
Remember, you love to travel because of the joy of planning, adventure, and the end game (the destination).
The more you allow your kids to become part of the planning and getting there process, the more interested and less “whiny” they can be! Plus, as a side perk, your young ones are learning about travel.
Of course, an infant can’t help, but then you revert to our tip number two above, stay calm and in control becuase infants can sense upset, as you know.
- Allow your kids to have some ownership of the journey
- Have them choose from a preset pile of parent-approved snacks
- Allow them to help you map out your route
- If the kids traveling are old enough, have them program the navigation system / GPS device.
- Allow your kids to pick out songs for the car ride (but set boundaries and allow your music on as well)
- Have them pack their backpacks (again, you can toss what they need in a basket to still be in control)
Involving them in the process can help keep their interest and make them feel like part of the adventure!
Packing Pro Tip: Pack Smartly To Minimize All The Stuff
When traveling with kids (and adults!), it’s always best practice to pack lightly whenever possible.
Packing light is smart because it allows more freedom when exploring new places since heavy bags will weigh down nobody!
Try packing items that provide multiple uses, such as clothes that can be worn more than once, or dual-purpose items like baby carriers that double as backpacks – these will help minimize how much stuff you need overall while still providing enough supplies for everyone’s needs!
#4 Be Flexible When Traveling With Young Kids
Things don’t always go as planned when traveling with kids, so it’s important to stay flexible and to have a backup plan which you will since you planned out the trip ahead of time using our very first tip above; go you!
If something unexpected arises, be willing to adjust your expectations and plans accordingly.
This could mean taking detours or stopping somewhere you didn’t initially plan to visit.
Pro Tip: Ensure Your Kids Are Comfortable And Not Annoyed
When traveling with children, the most important thing to remember is that their comfort comes first!
Make sure they are dressed comfortably in lightweight and breathable clothing.
For your baby, be sure to pack a few blankets, so that you can swaddle them during long trips to soothe them while they are in their car seat.
Unfamiliar surroundings can create annoyance and upset, so swaddle when you can but make sure you stop swaddling as soon as they show signs of discomfort or annoyance.
Providing a comfortable atmosphere for your kids will make the journey much more enjoyable – leaving only memories of happy travels for everyone from older siblings to grandparents!
#5 Prepare for Emergencies When You Take The Kids Traveling
Accidents and other unfortunate events can happen while traveling, so it’s essential to be prepared.
- Be sure to bring along a first aid kit
- Pack the kid’s extra clothing (underwear, diapers, onesies, etc.)
- Have all necessary medications with you (epi-pens, etc.)
- Make sure to have an emergency contact list
- Pack a charging cube for your phone
- Always plot out where the closest hospital is
Having all of them on hand in case of emergencies during your trip is a huge part of the survival guide for traveling with your kids!
Pro Travel Tip = Stay In Touch + Connected.
If traveling to a destination with limited or no cellular service, ensure everyone stays connected.
Bring along an international phone plan, invest in a satellite messenger device to keep track of your whereabouts, or purchase a prepaid SIM card for each person in case of an emergency.
These devices can help give parents and kids peace of mind – so they can enjoy the journey without worrying about getting home safely!
#6 When Traveling With Young Kids, Please Take Your Time
Your kids are kids once, and they grow up fast.
Kids traveling are just that, kids. Remember this take your time and enjoy the journey!
Unlike adults, kids like to linger and look, and they innocently embrace stopping points and destinations because of curiosity and want to look and understand.
Traveling is education, let it happen, but it is also a time to embrace your children and family time while appreciating all of the unique experiences that come along when you travel with your kids.
Don’t be in a rush to get from point A to B – instead, embrace this special time.
Read Books When Traveling With Young Kids
Reading books is one of the best things you can do to keep your kids happy, entertained, and calm in every aspect of trips because kids traveling need normality, and reading brings this about.
It’s your special time with your little ones, and even though you may be tired from driving, that special one-on-one time that comes from reading a book together is very important and normal, as it fits your at-home routine!
By not deviating from what you usually do at home, you’ll find a more relaxed child when you read and travel with young kids.
#7 Start Early Traveling With Young Kids By Car
Kids traveling on vacation are so excited, and you can quickly wake them up to dress and brush their teeth very early, and they will sleep in the car again.
Do this when traveling by vehicle so that you get an early start. You will have plenty of time for rest stops and minor detours throughout the day if necessary (which you have planned for already, so you are golden!)
Naptimes work in your favor because as they sleep, you can travel with your kids and enjoy the ride quietly.
#8 Travel Mid-Morning To Early Afternoon By Plane
Traveling with young kids by plane is slightly different, as you might already know.
You’ll want to travel with your kids during the mid-morning to early afternoon portion of the day as they are awake and not crabby then!
You’ll find it is easier to travel on a plane when the kids can walk to the gates rather than ride in a stroller (unless they are too young to do so), and they will be enthused about their plane rides.
Night travel is hard when kids are usually in bed, as they get irritated easily, and this can be difficult to diffuse, so avoid late travel and early travel by plane as much as possible.
#9 Never Take Their Favorite Blanket Or Toy
Take a backup blanket they LIKE but have not coveted as “their favorite,” and avoid their favorite toy going unless you have a duplicate.
If the kids traveling loses their favorite possessions, you’ll not put that fire out, and you won’t be able to stay calm because they will be out of control and upset! We all know this.
So, use a backup blanket and a backup toy, or have duplicates, and don’t tell them!
#10 Traveling With Young Kids Requires Taking POTTY Breaks
Don’t be the parent that tells their kids to pee in a bottle or that you are not stopping for hours. This scares and threatens the kids traveling.
You must stop fatigue from traveling, and you already know that!
Potty breaks are mandatory whether they are planned or not; take them!
It’s essential to take breaks throughout your journey for bathroom stops and to stretch and get some fresh air.
When possible, try to find a rest stop or park near where you will be staying so your kids can let off some steam before heading into their new lodging.
#11 Young Kids Traveling + Safety First
Once the kids traveling are back in the car (and when you start your journey), remember safety is key which means buckling up and using the age-appropriate seats and booster seats for young kids!
Set the example as well, and always buckle up.
When you’re out exploring, be sure to keep an eye out for any potential hazards.
- visiting ruins without handrails or safety netting
- cruise chips and balconies
- Large holes in the ground that need to be jumped over
- pools without safety fences and doors
- hot foods that can burn their mouths if eaten too soon after food prep
Always plan in place if you get separated from your group.
It’s a good idea to look at this list of free apps for family tracking.
#12 Pack Snacks and Activities
Snacks and activities are essential when traveling with kids.
Pack lots of healthy snacks, like fruit, nuts, granola bars, and even a few treats like chocolate bars or chips. It’s a vacation. Live it up.
Also, bring along some fun activities such as books, coloring pages, or small toys to keep your kiddos busy in transit.
We also recommend a pair of earphones and a tablet to entertain them with games, movies, and more along the way! (if age appropriate)
Try To Keep Bedtime OnTime
As a side note to all the fun activities, you will have tired kids traveling, so try to do your best parenting by trying to keep bedtime on time or as close as possible.
Try to ensure you have a strategy at bedtime within at least an hour of the norm that you do when you are at home.
Why? This keeps your kids on schedule, and you won’t have to worry about redoing or improving the bedtime routine once you return home again.
A Few Helpful Tips For Bedtime Routines
- If they use a stuffed animal, bring it along to soothe them to sleep
- If they have a favorite blanket, have it with you
- If you usually read right before bed, do it because kids traveling need their routines.
- If there is a favorite toothbrush, cup, or magical toothpaste they use and must have before bedtime, bring it
#13 Make Memories
As alluded to above, traveling with kids is the perfect opportunity to create special memories together!
Plan this out ahead of time, but they will believe it is all just happening at the moment, and sometimes it will but try to carve out time like these:
- Take time out of each day for fun activities
- Try out new footpaths
- Discover fun restaurants
- Go swimming in the pool.
- Snap selfies
- Collect rocks or shells
- Pick up souvenirs
These are all great ways to make memories of the kids traveling with you, and it will remind them of the journey even after you’ve completed your travels.
Don’t Forget To Keep Track Of Milestones When Traveling
Traveling is not a time to forget or overlook milestones.
Check for Milestones
Checking for milestones is one of the best and most important things you can do as a parent. as it is part of your memories of your child growing up.
For instance, if you are traveling with your 4-month-old, you’ll want to know what 4-month-old development milestones are and prepare to experience them. Or your 9-month-old might be starting teeth and need to be soothed.
A milestone might even be the first fancy restaurant you and your kids ate in on the road or what they ordered that was out of the ordinary. When you travel with your kids, every age group matters, so enjoy it and mark those milestones!
Milestones are a big deal whether you are at home or have the kids traveling with you!
Use Our Survival Guide For Traveling With Your Kids And Enjoy Vacay!
As you can see, with some preparation and planning, you can make traveling with your kids a breeze.
Remembering the trip can be viewed through so many different portals, from photos to recanting your memories of the trip to your kids or even marking down significant milestones that happened during the trip!
Traveling with kids doesn’t have to be stressful – it can be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone involved!
With proper preparation, planning, and flexibility, you can make traveling with kids an enjoyable adventure for the whole family.
We hope that our survival guide for traveling with your kids will help make your next travel experience with children a smooth one!
You’ve got this, and it’s really not hard to do, you have to commit to the process, and then it will be smooth sailing as you take on the work and take those kids traveling! ~ Dana XO
Dana Vento is an accomplished travel writer who has written award-winning articles for Niagara Falls USA, and Cabarrus NC, as well as winning IG photography for Southern Delaware beaches. Dana often offers tips for travel to help you have the best adventures ever!