When traveling with kids, you want to pack light for the vacation, but also want them to enjoy every moment. Follow these travel tips from parents who have done it before.
Traveling with kids can be stressful. If you plan, though, your trip won’t go wrong. These tips are designed to ensure that your family has a smooth and enjoyable experience.
Top Tips for Parents Traveling with Kids
1) Pack wisely
Your bag should contain only essentials. Put heavy items at the bottom and lighter ones near the top. This way you’ll have room for souvenirs. Keep clothes in their original packaging so they don’t wrinkle. A pillowcase or hand towel makes an ideal packing cube for socks.
2) Pack snacks
Keep meals simple by packing snacks. You might buy healthy treats such as sandwiches and fruit, and then stock up on sweets when you stop so they aren’t eaten before bedtime.
3) Avoid the last-minute rush
You may think your bags are packed already, but make sure they’re safe and accessible before leaving home. Create separate luggage tags for each child. Have children write down the names of other people traveling with them.
4) Know what happens at airports
Some families fly together or separate into groups. You may decide to stay close together while waiting for check-in or security lines (which help slow things down). Others prefer to spread out. It depends on how many flights are being made.
5) Consider different seating
If possible, book rows in first-class instead of economy or coach. Many parents opt for middle seats because they work better than aisle seats, which are usually less comfortable. Ask about sitting options if there is no window seat available.
6) Arrange childcare
Plan if you need childcare. Children under two years old are best taken to daycare centers during the day and nurseries after hours. Older children can go to school. Make arrangements right away – especially if you need to pick up a sick kid. Be aware of local laws, too.
7) Don’t forget baggage fees
Checked bags may cost extra, so ask about a refundable handbag. Bring a small amount of loose change to pay for parking and restroom fees. Also, keep in mind that airlines often tack on more charges — sometimes thousands of dollars – for lost bags.
8 ) Find free Wi-Fi
Internet access is expensive in most airport lounges, so look for areas where you can use Wi-Fi without paying. Some hotels offer free internet access for guests.
9) Get lost
Take advantage of map apps on smartphones. Your phone will guide you through tricky spots, and you’ll avoid getting lost en route to the hotel.
10) Be patient
Airports tend to move fast, and everyone gets frustrated now and then. Take breaks to stretch your legs, get some food and rest your eyes from the glare of the sun. And try not to worry. As long as you arrive safely, nothing else matters!
After all this planning and stress, travelers can end up missing the fun parts of vacations: eating junk food, going to theme parks, and watching movies.
12) Relax at night
Make sure little ones get plenty of sleep the night before. Plan meals around a good night’s rest. Then relax with snacks and drinks while you wait for boarding.
Whether you’re traveling to an exotic locale or taking a trip within the country, making preparations before you leave offers peace of mind and helps ensure smooth travel.