Traveling can be stressful, but traveling with young children can be downright challenging. As you hit the road, keep these handy travel tips in mind.
Take breaks. If you’re driving, try to make regular rest stops so your child can get some exercise, use the bathroom or have a snack.
Stock up. Bring a stash of toys, snacks, coloring books, crayons and other goodies to keep your little one from getting bored or hungry during the trip.
Tire ’em out. Children often travel better when they’re tuckered out and sleepy. If you’re flying, have your child push a small suitcase around the waiting area or ride the escalators with you. If you’re driving, try to leave the house before dawn so you can scoop up your drowsy child, put her in the car seat and hit the road.
Surprise them with treats. Have a few of your child’s favorite treats on hand to bring out when they’re growing weary from travel and you’re stuck in the car or a plane.
Engage them. When children are actively involved, they are less likely to misbehave. Talk to your child about the trip and ask them what they’re looking forward to seeing or doing. You can also give them a disposable camera and ask them to document the trip. This will encourage your child to observe their surroundings and focus on interests.
Take a bus, a subway, a train or a boat. Children love the novelty of public transportation, so if it’s available at your destination, use it. Large cities usually have public transportation systems that are fairly inexpensive and easy to use.
Keep tabs on your children electronically. You can use an electronic child locator to make sure you can find your child if you’re separated. Most locators cost around $30 online and include a transmitter your child wears and a locator unit you carry. If you get separated, you can press a button on the locator, and the transmitter will make a sound that you can follow to find your child.
Check the weather. Make sure you pack for any weather conditions you might encounter. You don’t want your child to be too hot or too cold. Extra clothing may make your luggage bulkier, but you’ll be glad you’re prepared if the weather changes.
Pass the time. Travel delays are almost inevitable, but games can make the wait more fun. Whether you’re playing 20 Questions, a travel version of a popular board game or a quick game of Go Fish, you and your child will appreciate the distraction.
Sanitize. Traveling means coming into contact with more germs than usual, especially if you’re flying to your destination. Be sure to pack plenty of antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer to disinfect your little one’s hands, especially if they have touched the seat-back pockets of airplanes, which can be full of harmful bacteria.