Traveling anywhere away from home can be nerve-wracking for an adult, let along a child. Being away from a familiar place can end up with you getting homesick (miss your own bed?), losing your appetite, sleep, and even getting ill. Feeling terrible while away from home can make you feel even worse. Just imagine what your children feel like, when and if you plan to take them on a trip.
Preparing for Traveling with Children
Preparation is the key to enjoying your time away from home. Therefore, it is important that you prepare your children for the trip well in advance. This means to discuss the possibility of traveling away on a vacation, up to six months in advance.
Honestly, there have been many trips where we don’t announce we’re heading out until THAT DAY! Do you remember our “Surprise, We’re Going to Disney” video? We’ve done that 3xs! You know your kids. You know what they need.
If you’ve traveling somewhere that is new (not Disney in our case) make sure to show them pictures of what the destination looks like, the food, the people, the entertainment, and what to expect. A parent who plans to take their kids with them on a vacation should choose a destination that has many things that would be of interest to young children. Before heading to New York, I brought the girls to the public library. The 7 year old found loads of books on NY and spent the next week or so learning everything she could about the city. She helped plan the itinerary along with the NY Pass app!
You can also head online to Amazon or the like and purchase books like Fodor’s Around New York City with Kids (Travel Guide) or a journal they can use over and over again, Kids Travel Journal: My First Travel Diary
Can They Behave?
Teach your children how to behave properly while out in the public. They will be meeting people of all ages while you are on your travels. Nothing spoils a vacation more than having to yell and scream at them in order for them to listen to you. You might want to practice “travel behaviors” at a local museum or attraction.
What to Pack
Bring along some children’s books for quiet times. Have them read before bedtime or you can read a story to them. Also, remember to bring your phone or tablet. If the children do not normally have access to this, load up a couple of games that can keep them occupied. You will be amazed at how quiet and well behaved they will be if they happen to have their hands and mind engaged in playing on an electronic gadget. Be sure to have a durable iPad case for travel
Make sure that all your essentials are packed in the carry on. In addition, as for the clothing, do not over pack, a couple of pairs of comfy shoes, two pairs of pajamas, a couple of changes of clothing, and sufficient outerwear for the climate. If your kids are rather young, make sure to pack a couple of dark colored plain shirts. This way if spills should occur, they are not as noticeable. Many hotels, and other places that offer lodging to travelers, often have laundry facilities in which you can wash the soiled clothing. A great product for traveling is the Odor Eliminating Laundry Travel Bag that will keep the dirty clothes smell from spreading….you know what I mean!
To keep the kids entertained in-flight or on the road, you might want to do a “surprise bag” that’s full of little dollar store gifts for them to open throughout the trip – perfect for when flying with a toddler! It has been a lifesaver for me!
All Right, Go Plan Your Trip! You’re Ready!
The first away from home trip that you take with your children will be a learning experience for all involved. Learn from it so you can enjoy the second trip you take with them even more!