50+ Tips for Traveling With Young Children
As I always say, travel smarter, not harder. Traveling with children should feel like a fun adventure, not a headache.
To make your trip more enjoyable, here are 50 tips for traveling with children. Try out a few and see which ones work best for you and your family.
Pre-Packing Preparation Tips
Download Travelbarista’s packing checklist and start checking off items as you pack them.
Make sure all forms of ID for everyone traveling are up to date. If you need a minor consent form, make sure it’s completed before you leave.
Pick up snacks that are easy to pack.
If child is 2 or older, buy headphones prior to trip.
Download apps and movies days prior to trip. Be sure to take requests from your kids.
If you’re taking a taxi to the airport, book it in advance so you can arrange for car seats.
Start talking to your child about where you re going so they don’t feel unpleasantly surprised or anxious on the day you leave. They’ll be less likely to act out or throw a tantrum if they know what’s happening (Click here for expert advice with Mikaela DeMartini about free-tantrum tips).
Download and let your child complete a travel journal. Click here to get your child excited about the trip and interested in the places they’ll go.
Tell school, if applicable, students will be away on certain dates.
Book after school activity, or make-up classes, in advance so when you return from vacation you are back to your routines. It will help you & child to get back into normal life.
Go over your itinerary with your family several times before going on your trip.
Do your homework with time difference and have a plan for arrival, if nap is needed or later bedtime in order to quickly adjust to new time zone. Click here for further reading on jet lag.
If your child wears diapers, pre-order diapers and wipes on Amazon and send directly to your final destination whether it’s a hotel or condo.
Pack plenty of diapers and wipes into your carry-on in case of delay to journey.
Have your tablet/iPad ready to go with “good” apps that are age appropriate, click here for suggestions.
Bring small, light books and new activity books, stickers, and games. Click here, for suggestions.
Pack a small first aid kid for hand luggage.
For long hall flights, bring pillow/blanket for your child.
If traveling alone with child, don’t forget to bring your “minor consent form”. Click here, for additional information.
Pack your daily supplements for you and your child (Click here, for expert advice with nutritionist Tracy Morris)
Pack hand sanitizer and remember to use it.
Put extra batteries and chargers in carry-on luggage.
Store a few extra clothing items in your carry-on in case of accidents.
Gift wrap 1 small present from the “pilot” to encourage good manners. Click here for further reading.
If your child is two-years or older, pack a backpack for them with some of these items. It’ll be less for you to carry.
If you bring squeeze food pouches for toddlers, put them in Ziplock bags for security.
Don’t put your child’s name on his or her backpack. It’s easier for strangers to call them by their name and get their immediate attention.
Use a hand luggage with 4 wheels, instead of 2, so you easier can push it along if you need an extra hand, or your child can help to push it along.
Use a cross-body handbag for valuables. It should always stay on your body.
If you know you will arrive late during the day, pack food at the top of the suitcase.
Bring an eye mask in case you get the opportunity to rest.
Check the weather forecast for your destination and pack your carry-on accordingly.
Children should be allowed to pack their own bags. They’ll feel more in control and excited about the clothes and possessions they packed.
Go over your checklist one more time the night before you leave to ensure everything is ready to go.
Before You Leave the House
If traveling with baby, wear a big neckless for distraction or a teething bracelet.
The night before, set everyone’s alarm clock.
Give yourself plenty of extra time. Wake your children up a bit earlier than usual to avoid anxiety.
Allow plenty of time at airport, usually at least two hours before departure.
Make sure everyone uses the bathroom (or at least tries to) before leaving the house.
Double check all doors and windows to make sure everything is locked up.
Check off everything on the Home Preparation Checklist, click here to download form.
At airport, buy milk (if needed for bottle), or create a bottle with warm water, as many airlines don’t have milk.
Know that security might ask to you to open cleared drinks to taste or test them.
Aquadoodle and magic pens are the best and easiest activities.
If you have a baby, give bottle or nurse baby during take-off and landing to reduce potential ear aches from air pressure. If they don’t want to, then give something for them to chew on.
As kids get fussier towards end of flights, do a countdown from 20 before landing. It distracts them from air pressure and let’s them practice their numbers.
Bring their favorite cuddly bear / toy for flight for comfort or aid with naps.
Early on, explain to your child that when seat belt sign is on, one must wear seat belt in order for pilot to be able to transport you to your destination.
If all goes well and you’ve got time to spare, take a few slow laps around the airport with your children.
This will tire them out so they’ll feel less restless on the plane.
During Vacation Tips
Have child to send a postcard from your trip to his/her best friends.
Allow child to buy a small souvenir from the trip to aid them with strong memories. Click here for further reading on souvenirs.
Upon return, complete last part of travel journal and keep it in his/her memory book, together with some photos.
Take lots of photos during the trip for future kids albums (Click here for expert advice with photographer Brett Andrew Stone)
Stay flexible on your trip. Your children might feel bored going to museums two days in a row. Make sure you have plenty of beach or play time.
Try out these tips for traveling with children and see how much easier your vacation becomes.