Traveling With Kids Made Easy
Just because you have a family now doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the enjoyment of discovering new places. Traveling with kids takes a little bit more planning - you won’t be able to simply drop everything and go on an impromptu weekend getaway - but, have no fear: it is completely possible.
Babies and Toddlers
Traveling with babies and toddlers is probably the hardest way of traveling with kids. There tends to be far more kits to carry, which can be bulky and difficult to transport. You also need to deal with the very real possibility of your baby disturbing fellow travelers in any form of shared transport. Conde Nast has some tips for preventing a baby crying on an airplane, but the truth is, it sometimes can’t be avoided.
If you are traveling by car, you will need to make sure your baby can be comfortable for extended periods of time within their car seat. This complete guide by the Child Development Institute contains a detailed checklist of everything you will need and what you should prepare.
Having a small travel crib can greatly increase the ability to travel with ease when kids are small. Not all hotels have a crib available, and even those that do may have something bulky that takes up half the room or doesn’t meet your standards for cleanliness. Travel cribs are portable (many come with carrying cases), easy-to-use, and particularly valuable when space is at a premium.
Once the kids grow up a bit, things get a bit easier. You will not need to carry a bed, a car seat, or a big bag of diapers, so you can travel much lighter. On the other hand, as kids get older, they become more prone to wandering off, which is a real worry when you are in a crowded place like an airport, train station, or tourist attraction. Agree on a meeting spot wherever you go, and make sure your child has your contact details on them at all times.
Traveling can be tiring, and children may not have much patience for all the waiting it involves. Be armed with a selection of toys and activities for when they get bored and some easy and healthy snacks for when they get peckish. Those driving should brush up on all the good old-fashioned car trip games, and you can make traveling through airports more fun with a ride-on suitcase like Trunki.
Check ahead of time if your hotel has a kids’ play area, and look up whether any museums or attractions you are going to have programs in place for child visitors. This can make a big difference in how much the kids enjoy the visit, and can also free up some time for you to enjoy things at your pace.
Teens should be the easiest group to travel with, since they can handle themselves and know how to behave in public. However, it can be difficult to get them to engage with the trip when all they want to do is chat with their friends or listen to music. The best first step is to involve them in the decision planning for the trip and to take their suggestions whenever possible. They are old enough to have some say in what you do and where you go.
Set some rules for phone usage during the trip, but be flexible and reasonable. If they are old enough, give them some space by giving them some free time in a city or at an attraction where they can explore independently. Many places have tours and activities specifically for teens and tweens, so encourage them to go to these and meet people their age.
Whatever age your child is, there are small, simple ways to make traveling fun and accessible to the whole family. The important thing is to understand that some parts of travel can be boring or distressing for kids, so try to be considerate of this. A little bit of prep can help you do that, as well as ensure everyone has a fun and positive experience.