Which type of parent are you: the one who makes a packing list two months before you leave on vacation or the one who jumps in the car at a moment’s notice with just a backpack?
No matter if you’re a planner or a spontaneous traveler, taking kids on a trip is never easy, but it’s always rewarding. Showing kids that there’s an entire world outside of their own city is a priceless experience. Your entire family makes memories that will last forever!
In this blog, we’ve listed five tips that will make traveling with children a bit easier. Plus, you’ll get access to a free bundle of travel printouts, including a packing list for kids. Let’s hit the road!
Going on a trip? Use this free bundle to encourage independence in your children, as well as keep your kids busy while traveling! Print it before you go and prepare a few supplies such as crayons and playdough and hopefully you’ll be able to have a few quiet moments on the road!
Here is what this bundle contains:
A week or two before you leave on your trip, start introducing your little ones to your destination. Read a few books about the place you’re going to or search for videos on YouTube. If you’ve been there before but your children haven’t, show them your personal photographs and souvenirs from a previous trip.
If your children have never been on a big trip, spend some time getting them ready for what lies ahead. The Travel box from our Create Together lineup gives kids and parents five travel-themed activities to do together. Do one or two of the projects before you leave and wrap up the box when you get home. It’s the perfect way to highlight the memories you make on your trip together!
Lugging suitcases from car to airplane to bus to hotel or wherever your journey is taking your family is never the fun part. Minimize and pack as light as you can. This can be a really hard thing to do if you like to plan and be prepared for any situation, but packing light will save you so much time and stress in the long run. Even in a worst-case scenario, you can probably buy what you need at your destination.
There are at least two exceptions to the rule of packing light. Do not forget any daily medication your family takes and pack a travel-sized bottle of your favorite pain reliever meds. Take diapers with you, too. If you have to buy them at your destination, you may not be able to find the right size or the brand that works best on your baby’s skin.
Also, your child might like a suitcase that is their size. They will love pulling it and do like their grown-ups! This way they can have they own suitcase, with their own things inside. Plus, this will be less weight in your suitcase, too!
Letting your children pack themselves is a great way to encourage a little bit of independence in your children and save some time in the process! Young toddlers will likely need a lot of help, but they’ll enjoy getting organized and being in charge of their own belongings. Older kids will likely be able to pack independently. They’ll enjoy playing a role in getting your family ready to go and may even be able to help younger siblings get packed, too.
You will find a free packing printable in our travel bundle that provides a colorful reminder of the essentials that need to wind up in your children’s suitcases. You can just write in the number of each item your child needs and they can follow the guide!
Being out of the normal routine is difficult for kids. If you can keep a few things the same, even while you’re traveling, it will give your kids a sense of security and a feeling of calm. Bring along a lovey or two for each of your children and try to keep your bedtime routine the same. It’s also helpful if you keep a predictable meal schedule. If you regularly eat lunch at noon at home, don’t try to stretch your kids until 1:30 pm. Everybody gets grumpy when they're hungry!
Everything takes longer with kids. You know that because it’s part of your everyday life at home. Don’t expect things to be different when you’re traveling. Embrace the slow pace and your trip will be much more enjoyable!
Plan to arrive at the airport extra early or factor another hour or two into your driving time. Be realistic with your itinerary. If you’ll be walking to sites, remember that kids have little legs that need frequent breaks. Explore your kids’ interest and go where their curiosity leads instead of being beholden to your schedule.