What is the temperature where you are? As the temps start to warm up and we begin thinking about dusting off the winter cold, a lot of us have vacations or maybe even staycations on our minds! Warmer weather always brings a smile to our faces and instantly makes us happy. Do you have plans for a family vacation or trip? If you do, then this blog is for you. Let’s talk about some of the best tips for traveling with young children!
While it seems like an obvious tip, being prepared is more than just making sure you are packed, have a sitter for the pets and stop the mail for the week. Thinking ahead about what your trip entails and what you need for your child(ren) is key to a successful and fun vacation!
Before you head out the door, consider all the items you will be needing to take with you for your children and see what items you can replace with a smaller, more compact option. For example, needing to travel with a stroller? Seek a slimmer, more compact model for the trip. While it won’t provide you all the wonderful features you are used to with your regular, everyday stroller, it will help save space (and muscle as you will likely be unfolding and folding it quite a bit!
Got a little one who is potty training? Purchase a compact, portable potty for them. Just do a quick search on your favorite shopping sites and a plethora of options are available. Some come with a discreet carrying case as well which allows you to carry it in style without screaming to the world that your toddler is potty training.
Be at the ready with on-the-go activities!
On-the-go games are a must! Especially if you will be spending time in a car, bus, or airplane. Grab a classic such as magnetic checkers or a fun game of Tic-Tac-Toe. The more compact the better! If your littles are into drawing, our favorite on-the-go games are Melissa and Doug® Wipe Off Activity Pads, Melissa and Doug® Water Wow! activity books and Melissa and Doug® Make-A-Face Reusable Sticker Books. Not only are they fun but they are very easy to pack in the car or in your bag for a quick attention narrowing fix for your toddler when the inevitable sit and wait game is happening. These fun activities keep their minds and their hands busy! And the best part is they are virtually mess free which is every parent’s dream!
Traveling via airplane? Be ready for the security checkpoints.
Consider dressing your toddler in layers. The temps in the airport can undoubtedly vary and having your little one prepared to shed or add layers for comfort is a must. Another great tip to help get through security and help with dressing for the day is to pack shoes without laces that can easily slip on and off when needed!
Be sure to manage your time
Give yourself plenty of extra time when traveling with little ones. Heading to the airport? Arrive well in advance of your flight check in of course but consider arriving even earlier so your little one can get acclimated and explore the airport a bit. Make it fun! Children love looking at all the planes and other features an airport has. One of our favorite games to play while exploring is “Eye Spy”. As you journey through the airport, pick out objects and see if you toddler can guess what the object is by listening to clues. It's fun to play “Eye Spy” in a new environment and can help your little one feel more comfortable with the busyness of the airport.
Bring a small bag of toys
You never know when you will need a quick entertainment fix for your child so be prepared with a small bag of toys, books and crayons that they can easily grab and play with. Be sure to avoid any toys with small pieces so that you don’t have to go searching for them later. Trust us! That is not a fun “Eye Spy” game :) Refer to tip number 2 above for some of our favs!
Be Calm and Have Fun
Remember that this is a vacation and it’s supposed to be fun! Maybe the number one suggestion we have for parents traveling with toddlers is to do your best to stay calm and roll with any changes or delays in your trip. Your toddler picks up on your non-verbal cues so it’s best (but definitely not easy) to stay calm and try to be as stress-free as you can be.
Have a (flexible) agenda
We don’t recommend navigating a vacation with little ones without a plan and agenda, but we do recommend that you leave some wiggle room in your plans for the unexpected! You never know what may come up and having some padding in your schedule makes it much less stressful when something does come up.
Share your agenda with your children
They definitely do not need to know all of the ins and outs of your plan but talk with your children and give them the high level details. Not only will they be excited to know what they get to do while on vacation, but it will give them a sense of grounding knowing what’s next and what they can expect. Often our toddlers have meltdowns simply because they are overwhelmed. Help reduce that overwhelm by including them in what your plans entail.
Travel With a Companion
If it’s just you and your child(ren) traveling, consider asking a friend to travel with you. Or ask a sitter to come with you and help you along the way, especially if you have more than one child traveling along with you. Having an extra set of hands is so helpful! If that is not an option, check with the airports you will be traveling in as they often offer free services, or Meet & Assists, where an airport employee can meet you and help in carrying luggage or transporting you to and from your gates with their airport cart. Take advantage of the resources available to you by doing a little pre-planning.
The list could go on and on, but we hope these tips can assist in making your vacation memorable and fun and of course, as stress-free as possible! Just take it one day at a time and don’t forget to bring your camera to catch all of the fun moments and freeze them in time. Tell us in the comments where you are traveling to soon! We would love to hear!
Team Simply Blessed Kids