Tips for Traveling with Children
Thursday, December 20, 2012
It’s the holiday season, which means that many of us are packing our suitcases, wrapping those last-minute gifts, and loading the family into the car for a road trip to our friends’ and family’s homes for holiday get-togethers. All of this hustle and bustle can make getting on the road a hectic experience, especially if you’re trying to keep kids happy and cooperative during the trip. We’ve pulled together a few tips for traveling with children to help them (and you!) have an enjoyable road trip, no matter where you final destination may be.
1. Bring a variety of toys and games
It’s easy for kids to get bored on long trips, especially if they don’t have anything to distract them from the hours on the road. Pack a bag of entertaining toys and games that you know your kids enjoy and make sure it’s easily accessible to them while buckled into their seats. If they get tired of one toy, they can easily put it back in the bag and choose another one.
2. Invest in a portable video player
Portable video players, such as tablets, are very popular this season. They are particularly useful when entertaining stir-crazy kids during long trips. If your vehicle isn’t equipped with TV screens that are embedded in the headrests or drop down from the ceiling, a tablet or similar device can provide hours of entertainment for your kids. Load their favorite TV shows and movies onto the device beforehand so they can enjoy them during the drive. Don’t forget to pack headphones for them so you can have some quiet time, too!
3. Prepare snacks for the trip
A hungry child can easily turn into a cranky child, but stopping at multiple points along the way can be inconvenient, and the food options may not be the most nutritious. To combat hunger, plan to bring snacks with you during your trip. Having these handy when you hear “I’m hungry” or “I’m thirsty” from the back seat can mean the difference between a happy traveler and a temper tantrum. Packing your own snacks also means that you can control what your family eats and avoid the popular roadside fast food options.
4. Pack travel-size pillows and blankets
When you’re not driving, a road trip is a good excuse to take a nap. While unbuckling their seat belts isn’t an option, you can help make your kids a little bit more comfortable while they sleep. Pack small, travel-sized pillows, such as those used by frequent air travelers, for them to rest their head on, and blankets to keep them warm while they sleep. These small additions to your packing list will help your kids sleep more comfortably and wake up with less of a crick in their necks!
5. Plan for multiple stops along the way
Traveling with children requires you to make a lot of stops – to use the restroom, grab a bite to eat, or just stretch your legs. Consider the stops you’ll be making when you plan for your trip and be sure to add in those lost travel minutes when calculating your arrival time. If you’ll be traveling through remote areas, map out any stops you may need to make ahead of time so your family won’t have to wait for long periods of time to eat or use the restroom. You’ll also be able to look forward to getting out of the car every so often, which helps break up the trip for both the kids and for you!
If you travel with children often, how to you keep them happy and entertained throughout the trip? Tell us in the comments below!