5 Tips for Traveling with Children
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto
The wanderlust adventures don’t have to end when you have children! Traveling with kids can be a special experience for the whole family, but it can also feel very daunting. I get it! There are so many factors to consider and potential fears that all parents have when it comes to travel, which is why it’s so important to be prepared.
So, here are some of my top tips for traveling with children to make your travel experiences painless and fun!
1. Just do it!
There will never be a “perfect” time to travel with your kids, and there will always be a million excuses you can make for putting off a trip. But before we know it they won’t be kids anymore!
Traveling with our little ones can help shape their perspectives as they begin to navigate the world around them. Travel makes a great teacher too! There is so much to be learned when we step outside of what’s familiar. We can foster our kids’ curiosity in practical ways by exposing them to new places and experiences.
You don’t have to cross oceans to make a trip memorable for your kids. Near or far, the memories created during travel will stick with them! The world is waiting, so what are you waiting for? Make that next family trip happen!
2. Pack light
You’re already juggling so much by traveling with kids—the last thing you need is too much stuff! Trust me, I know how tempting it can be to pack for every possible best and worst-case scenario, but you don’t have to.
Make a clear packing list for yourself ahead of time to save yourself the headache of decision-making down to the last minute. Include your go-to clothing items and just a few toys at most to keep your kids entertained. If you don’t use it at home you won’t use it on a trip! And if you find you really end up needing something you don’t pack, you can always buy things along the way.
3. Give yourself lots of extra time
Everything takes longer with kids– it’s just how it is! So, make sure to manage your expectations with this reality in mind. Simple things like getting to the airport an hour earlier than normal or building in 10 extra minutes on your walk to dinner are super helpful stress relievers when traveling with kiddos. Being less rushed will help make your trip more enjoyable overall. After all, you want to be present with your family, not worried about rushing through experiences!
4. Plan (some) activities
On a trip with kids, the last thing you want is to have an overwhelmingly tight itinerary— but you also don’t want to show up with no plan at all! Do some research on your destination and decide what things your family really wants to do. Take special note of things that you might have to book in advance, such as tickets to a museum or show! Then you can have a few things roughly planned out for different days to give you direction as you go.
5. Plan on a recovery day
If you can, I highly recommend building in a recovery day after returning home from a trip! This gives you the chance to rest, do some laundry, and settle back into your home before jumping right back into your daily routine. It makes it so much easier to go back to school and work after a nice regrouping day. I love doing this to reflect on our travels, discuss our favorite memories, and be thankful for the things we just experienced together!
The biggest piece of advice I can give when it comes to traveling with children is to not miss your opportunities to do so. Some of my most valuable memories with my kids were made while traveling and it makes it all worth it. So if you’re planning a family trip be sure to manage your expectations and keep these tips in mind!