10 Tips for Summer Time Traveling With Your Kids
For many people with summer comes a time to travel. Whether plane, train or automobile, here are ten tips to make the voyage more enjoyable for you and your brood of littles.
1. Be realistic. You must know that NO trip with kids will go perfectly smoothly. A tire may go flat, a flight may lose your luggage, or your child may get a tummy bug.
Because you’ll be far from your normal routine and have the added stresses of the unexpected, now is not the time to potty train, pacifier wean or nap drop.
2. Ask for the bulkhead. If you check in early enough, you can ask to be moved to a bulkhead seat. These are seats behind one of the airplane walls. Airlines reserve them for passengers with physical disabilities.
When you check in, ask to be moved to the bulkhead seats if they are still available. This offers much more room for your kids to play. Also, on an international flight they have bassinets that attach to the bulkhead wall. Your baby now has a place to sleep and play. You’re welcome.
3. Give kids clear expectations. Just like when you take a simple trip to the store with your kids, walk your kids through what your experience will be like and what’s expected of them. Let them know when they can expect to get a snack. Tell them what you need them to do at airport security or how long they are going to sit in the car without getting out. I have found that my kids are much more manageable not only on a trip to Target but also on vacations if they know what is expected of them beforehand.
4. Schedule around naps. Schedule your trip around your kids sleep schedule if possible. Arrange it so the long portions of your drive or flight are when your kiddos will be sleeping. If you try to get your child to sit still when they’re rested and full of energy, YOU’LL need a nap.
5. Keep it simple. The more things you bring, the more things you have to juggle. Only bring their favorite toys or items that can be played with in a variety of ways.
6. Bring your own car seat. Although you’re keeping it simple with what you pack, you should definitely bring your own car seat; or better yet, Ride Safer Travel Vest. This saves you from renting a restraint system or worse, being without.
7. Bribe them. We are all familiar with the common chorus of kids in the back seat… “Are we there yet?” To cut down on repeat performances, give them each a bag of quarters and they have to pay us every time they ask that question. The kids are excited about buying souvenirs with their treasure and we are excited about not having to answer the same question 500 times.
8. Choose snacks wisely. You don’t want your kids to be high on sugar while strapped into their car seat. Pick snacks they love but aren’t straight up candy. Also pack things that take them some time to eat.
9. Schedule regular play stops. Your kids will have more pleasant memories of your trip if they are allowed to explore the territory you are crossing. Schedule 30 minute play slots for your kids to get their energy out and make some fun memories as a family. Remember, it’s not always about the destination. Rather, it’s about the journey.
10. Give yourself a break. Show yourself some grace while traveling. It’s okay if your kid has a stain on his shirt, eats more junk food than normally allowed or is rocked to sleep for that much-needed nap. The world will go back to normal when you get home, I promise. The main thing is to enjoy time as a family and make memories.