6 Must-Know Tips for Traveling With Toddlers
Traveling with small children can be fun and rewarding – an opportunity to see different places, enjoy new experiences and visit friends and family. But traveling with toddlers also comes with a few challenges.
When your little ones are walking, talking and getting into just about everything, it’s a good idea to prepare in advance for a long plane ride or car trip. Here are a few travel tips to make sure that everyone in your family has a smooth and happy journey.
Tips for Stress-Free Travel
1. Talk about the trip before you leave.
New travel experiences can be a lot for small children to handle all at once – loud noises, unfamiliar places, new faces. Start talking about the trip in detail far in advance to help kids mentally prepare.
2. Get excited.
Help kids look forward to the car or plane ride by playing up the fun parts of the journey itself – the trucks you will count on the highway, the clouds you’ll see high up in the sky from the airplane – as well as what you’ll do when you get to your destination. Look at photos of the hotel or house where you’ll be staying, and highlight any exciting activities you have planned – a trip to the zoo, a playdate in the park, a day with grandparents.
3. Be prepared with distractions.
One of the more challenging parts of traveling with toddlers, especially on longer trips, is finding ways to entertain them for long periods of time in a limited space. Pack a good selection of favorite toys, games and books, and include a few surprises as well. For example, include a couple new toy cars or books, or download kid-friendly apps or videos to your tablet or laptop. Even if you usually limit screen time at home, you can make this a special treat.
4. Leave plenty of time for each step.
There’s nothing worse than running with all your bags and fussy toddlers to try to make a tight flight connection. Plan each leg of your journey with plenty of wiggle room in case things don’t go as planned. You can let your kids move at their own pace without feeling stressed.
5. Try to travel around your children’s normal schedule.
Consider when your kids normally sleep when you are planning your trip. If you are able to take a long-haul flight overnight, for example, little ones might be able to go through a normal bedtime routine and sleep on the plane.
6. Take breaks to move.
Toddlers have boundless energy, so look for ways they can release it before they melt down. On an airplane, stand up and take short, frequent walks through the aisles with them (it’s good for you to stretch your legs, too). In a car, make rest stops once or twice an hour if you can. Let them do jumping jacks, play a quick game or run around a little before you get back on the road.