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August 20, 2023

Tips For Road Trips with Kids

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Two girls sitting in the back of a car filled with Christmas gifts

Shutterstock / Alena Ozerova

For parents who love to travel, taking the kids along is often a dream come true. Of course, regardless of the joy that will undoubtedly unfold, the whole idea of traveling with children can also seem daunting, especially when you think about the added stress of packing, dealing with flights, and finding activities to keep the little ones occupied on a long trek.

We're here to take away the stress and give you some great tips on taking trips with kids!  

Headphones

There’s nothing worse than trying to get kids to listen to grown-up conversations when you’re traveling. We hear you! Start by investing in a good pair of headphones that are lightweight, small, and made for children. These often come with ear accessories on them or some other sort of character to appeal to younger kids.

To avoid bickering, we recommend purchasing a different headset for each child. Most can be synced with car screens, tablets or the back-of-the-seat plane monitor. Be sure to download movies or shows onto your device ahead of time as well since your service may be spotty! Don’t underestimate the power an engaging movie or TV show on the little ones!! 

Snacks

Yes, snacks are a must during travel, and are especially handy on long road trips or when your flight is delayed. The most important thing about snacks is that they’re individually packaged. This will make it easier to distribute and will help keep bickering to a minimum. 

We recommend getting snacks that you know your children like. Whatever snack you choose for them, you may want to avoid those that can be messy or stain clothes like chocolate or cheese curls. Pretzels are always a safe bet!! 

Backpacks

If you’re traveling with a group, or have multiple children in your caravan, we recommend each of the kids  carry their own bag. Kids are already used to carrying a bag to school so they already know the importance of keeping track of it. Often, kids will see their parents using their own carry-on bags and may want to feel a little more grown up, so this is a win-win!

By every traveler keeping a small bag, it’s easier to keep track of toys, books, games, hoodies and other personal items. These handy bags can also hold things like gaming accessories, coloring books, crayons, and possibly their favorite stuffed animal or blanket. 

Hand Sanitizers

Some airports provide sanitizing wipes for passengers, but you might have to request them. Consider having some with you and just keeping them in your purse or car. These are especially helpful if you’re traveling with children, as they can help prevent the spread of germs throughout the flight and in public areas, as well as allow you to easily clean up after snack time.

Ensure Your Kids Get Enough Sleep

On top of being weary of holiday travel, jet lag is another concern parents may want to pay attention to before traveling with young children. Acclimating a child to the time zone can be difficult without enough rest between flights. However, if a child has a heavy schedule where they stay up late and go to bed early, try to make an effort not to change that schedule too much when traveling.

Tray Organizer

Having a tray organizer for kids is a great idea that can keep your child’s toys and small items from becoming a mess on the tray table, or throughout the car. There are many options for tray or lap organizers, so take you time to look at what is out there. Consider if you are flying or driving when making your decision, and also think about the activities your child is most likely to pursue. If they like coloring, you  may want to get more of a lap desk option, but if they will be playing with barbies or superhero dolls, a smaller organizer may be sufficient. 

Packing

A great way to ensure you have everything you need for your adventure is to create a master list of items and check them off as things are packed. Also, place your child’s name on their clothing so that it’s easy to identify should something go missing during the trip. We also strongly recommend packing cubes when packing for little ones. Since their clothes are much smaller, you can fit several days worth of outfits in a packing cube and throw that in your suitcase, so you don't have to keep up with yet another bag! 

Check the Weather

Before leaving, check the weather of your destination. If it’s a place you don’t know well or that isn’t known for warm sunshine, consider bringing a small umbrella, jacket or travel poncho. Also, consider area transportation and how you’ll move about on your family getaway!

Now, get packing and happy travels this holiday season!

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