11 Tips for Traveling with Young Children

Photo Credit: ParentMap

Photo Credit: ParentMap

School is almost out, which means it's also almost time for summer vacations! While that may be exciting for the kids, it can be an overwhelming thought for parents. But with a little planning and the help of these tips, your family vacation can be smoother than you thought possible!

1. Get a tablet. If you don't already have one, this can be a lifesaver. Load it with books, games, apps, and movies to fill the downtime on the plane, in the car, or at your destination.

2. Bring a pillow. Besides being great for making your child more comfortable to sleep, it can also be used as a seat cushion to give little ones a boost by the window.

3. Choose longer lasting snacks. Raisins, Goldfish crackers, anything that is small and you can feed your child a larger quantity of, will work for this one.

4. Give yourself extra time. Plan extra time to get to where you are going, extra time for bathroom breaks, extra times in case of a meltdown, you get the picture. Not only will this reduce your stress, but you might actually get to where you are going close to on time.

5. Bring medicine. Whether it's lack of sleep or related to the stress of a new environment, many people get sick when they travel, children included. Bring the basics just in case (and obviously any medication your child takes regularly).

6. Plan ahead. You don't want to be scrambling to find a hotel with a toddler in tow. Make sure you book your reservations ahead of time.

7. Prepare your child. Especially if you have a child with autism, it can be helpful to read books about traveling and about your destination, or drive by the airport before you are actually going there. For some kids, creating a simple social story about what you will do before, during, and after your trip can be helpful.

8. Pack more clothes/pull-ups/food than you think you will need. Because you will always need more.

9. Mail, buy, or borrow stuff. If you are able to mail some things ahead to save space, do that. Otherwise, buy smaller toiletry items or borrow bigger items from friends/family if possible. The less you have to bring, the less you have to worry about.

10. Fly or drive at night. This will help keep your child on her regular routine, and (hopefully) make for a more peaceful trip to your destination.

11. Don't forget the blankie or stuffed animal. This one is tricky, because if you lose it, the whole trip could be toast, but if your child has a favorite object, it can help with sleeping and put your child at ease.