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10 Easy Tips For Traveling With Children

By Editorial Staff

When a simple five-minute car ride to the store can turn into WWIII in the back seat, the thought of traveling with children can turn the most stoic parent very pale.

Not only do you have to be concerned about losing a child, keeping them entertained, and avoiding meltdowns at all costs, but you also have to worry about annoying the heck out of your fellow travelers. Hopefully, the following tips will buy you at least an extra 30 minutes of peace and quiet. Good luck.

10. Switch Things Up

Pack enough toys, books, and travel games so that you can switch out every hour. After 42 hours in the car recently with a 6, 5, and 3 year old, I can pretty much tell you that the attention span goes something like this: 45 minutes with new toy, 15 minutes out the window watching cars then they need something new. Pronto.

9. Falling on Floor

Think like a kid and plan ahead for toys that would typically fall on the floor. You do not want to be crawling in the back of the car or van every 10 minutes to pick stuff up. Magnets, keyrings and threaded toys are less likely to get out of reach and more likely to stay organized.

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8. Potty Breaks

Three points to make here. One, kids need more potty breaks than you. Two, pack that potty chair for emergencies. It is safer and faster than heading down an embankment on the freeway. Three, if you are planning on logging some extra miles after junior falls asleep, consider placing a “piddle pad” in his car seat. Accidents happen when traveling with children and you can’t exactly throw things in the wash.

7. Healthy Snacks

Assorted Fruits on Plate traveling with children
Junk food may be part of the road trip fun when you are an adult, but all that sugar and empty calories can make a toddler downright cranky! Pack healthy snacks like homemade banana bread, veggies and ranch (no refrigeration needed), and lots of water.

6. Thank Yous

This is especially true with all the negative publicity around flying with children. A great idea is to make up a little care package for your “neighbors” on a cross-country flight thanking them for their patience IN ADVANCE. Be sure to include earplugs, candy, and a little thank you note from your child. It is harder to get mad at someone when you “know” their name and back story.

5. Surprises

When you pack for traveling with children, keep a few little trinkets hidden. You can make a game of having small presents, magazines and books to unwrap every hour or two. It helps pass the time and who doesn’t like a present?

4. Rewards

The concept of rewarding kids for good behavior is nothing new. Take it on the road with you and pass out “Bonus Bucks” or “Car Dollars” (or whatever cute name you can come up with). You can issue them every 50 miles or at the end of each day. Your choice.

3. Planned Side-Trips

traveling with children
Adults can sit for hours on end in the car, knowing that the reward is at the end. Children, however, are not nearly as patient. Why not plan a side trip or two along the way. From the Grand Canyon to a local park, the location doesn’t matter as much as the opportunity to get out and stretch your legs.

2. Think Dark

The whole concept behind traveling with children at night is that the little ones will sleep. Just in case it doesn’t work out that way, pack a few toys that work in the dark; DVDs, glow sticks, and mini flashlights all work well.

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1. Know Your Kids

The biggest tip to survive long-distance travel with kids is to know your kids. Knowing whether they travel best at night, cannot be contained in a car seat longer than 2 hours, or get headaches from too much television can go a long way towards making your trip successful.


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