Due to a cross-country move away from my family and friends, I have been traveling with my children since they were babies. Even at their current young ages of 5 and 6, they have logged thousands of miles in long car rides and cross-country flights with me. Since day one, I have listened to candid advice from experts (other parents) and have the following tips to share with you.
- Let go of the plans: Sure, you want to get in as much as you can, but it is important to rest, take it all in, and have some spontaneous “I feel like doing X today” moments.
- Share your travel plans with friends and family: This way they can see when you are leaving and arriving. This helps your family understand, for instance, that you had to get up at 3:00am and it is not best to have the entire family over for a family dinner on the first day you arrive.
- Be flexible: Whether it’s travel delays, weather, an unexpected sight, or interest your child takes in a certain activity, be open to changing your plans. This may mean staying somewhere longer, leaving earlier, or not going at all. Remember that this is your family’s precious time together.
- Get your children involved: Let them know they have a vote in what the family does. Perhaps they get to pick the dinner cuisine or the day’s activity. It is important for them to know they have a voice, too, and aren’t just getting dragged around.
- Pack a personalized back pack: Let children pack snacks and activities, as well as select the music they want to hear or the movies they want to watch while traveling. This helps prevent the “I’m bored,” “I’m Hungry,” and “How Much Longer?” comments.
Here are some ideas to include in the backpacks:
- Evan-Moor’s Never-Bored Kid Book
- Travel Snacks
- Deck of Cards
- Travel Board Games
- Writing Journal
Let us know your favorite tips for traveling with children. Feel free to include travel destinations and pictures.