September 6, 2009

Tips on Traveling with Kids

One summer. Two kids. Four road trips. Eight airplane rides. This is what I learned:

ARMIES MARCH ON THEIR STOMACHS: Bring healthy snacks along, everywhere. Airlines don't offer complimentary food, and children are hungry often. Come prepared. (You may feel like a dork, but visiting the grocery store as soon as you arrive can do wonders for the rest of your trip.)

FLIGHT DELAYS: Remember to check your flight status before heading to the airport. In all of the chaos of getting the family ready, this is a basic travel rule that you don't want to miss.

KEEP THEM BUSY: Pack books and activities to keep kids busy on the plane, train, or at your destination. We follow the COLOR * PLAY * CREATE * DISCOVER formula for our activity kits, and they have saved many a day!

DIVIDE AND CONQUER: If you are traveling with another grown-up, designate one adult to head out on 'reconnaissance' missions. Dragging everybody down to town just to find out the restaurant or activity is overbooked leads to chaos.

AVOID CROWDS: If possible, go early, or go late - but try not to go when everybody else is going. Kids and lines/long-wait-times aren't the most peaceful combination.

TURN SIGHTSEEING INTO SIGHTDOING: Grownups like the views, children like to climb. You know where I'm going with this - get interactive!

PLAYMATES: It pays off to intersect with family, friends and cousins - children love to play together, and it makes your job more fun too.

TRAVEL BUGS: Illness happens. Set realistic expectations and be prepared with a plan in case barf is on your horizon. Come equipped with basic meds, handiwipes, hand sanitizers, first aid, and knowledge of the nearest medical facility.

LET GO, AT LEAST A LITTLE: The point is to have fun. If sometimes that means an extra travel treat (i.e., lollipop) to keep the team smiling - well, there are worse things.

REST AT NIGHT: Your days are full. Go to bed at a reasonable hour. Crabby parents are no fun!

RE-ENTRY: If possible, take time to unwind, do laundry, and settle in after the trip. The thought of traveling all day, and then hitting the ground running the very next morning, has a tendency to unravel my vacations.

Got more tips? Let me know, I'm always in the market for a refresher course.


Corinne @ Have Baby Will Travel said...

Sage advice and it sounds like you had a great summer.

Corinne @ Have Baby Will Travel said...

Sage advice and it sounds like you had a great summer.

Melanie K said...

If you're traveling overseas, visiting the grocery store can also be an adventure in itself.

When we went to Paris--1 year old in tow--we found different grapes, cheeses and other fruits and vegetables we hadn't seen in the states.