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Traveling with Tots: Tips for a Stress-Free Family Vacation

Summer vacation is all about spending quality time with your family but traveling with a child (or multiple!) can seem like a daunting task. Read on for some helpful tips so your whole family can sit back, relax and enjoy your summer travels.

Flying with kids

  • Make sure to check the airline’s rules regarding strollers and seats being taken onto the plane. If you gate check your stroller, make sure it is properly tagged with your contact information.
  • Unless you are keeping a close eye on them, don’t let a young child carry their own luggage, backpack or plane ticket through a crowded airport.
  • Many airports have a play area for kids. If you are early, check it out. Just make sure to bring hand sanitizer.
  • Pack a change of clothes for your child (and yourself!) in your carry-on bag just in case.
  • Before taking off your child’s shoes in the security line, make sure it is absolutely necessary. Oftentimes with small children, it is not.
  • If you are traveling with multiple children, have them each wear the same brightly-colored shirt so they can be easily spotted in a crowded airport.
  • During takeoff and landing, make sure your child has a piece of gum or candy (if they are old enough) and explain to them prior to leaving that their ears may pop.
  • Consider flying when your child usually sleeps. Early morning or even overnight flights may work if your child is one that can sleep anywhere.
  • Take advantage of early boarding so you have extra time to get settled.

Driving with kids

  • Make extra time for bathroom breaks and (sigh) tantrums.
  • Pack more clothes, diapers, wipes, etc. than you think you need in case of spills and accidents in the car. You can never be too prepared.
  • If your car doesn’t have one built in, consider buying or renting a TV or portable DVD player for longer car rides.
  • Take advantage of road trip games such as I Spy and the license plate game.
  • Rent some children’s books on CD and play them throughout the trip.
  • Pack basic supplies and things you think you will need (snacks, wipes, etc.) within an arm’s reach so you can avoid taking off your seatbelt and moving around.

Other helpful tips

  • Bring a lot for your child to do. Puzzles, coloring books, stickers and even a smart phone with gaming apps downloaded make for good distractions.
  • If they are old enough, buy them a travel journal. This will get your child more into sight-seeing and listening and may even encourage them to try something new so they can write about it.
  • Spill proof cups are your friend.
  • Avoid snacks that are sticky, crumby or generally messy.

Prepare well, hope for the best and if your kids don’t behave perfectly while traveling, who cares? You tried your best. Enjoy your vacation anyways. Happy travels!

Bringing your pet on your family vacation as well? Check out last week’s post – Tips for Traveling with a Dog or Cat!

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