Tips for Traveling with Children

July 14, 2015

Tips for traveling with children

We traveled almost every month this year for various reasons, and one thing I have learned is that it is impossible to predict how a trip will go with little ones. There are so many factors that can affect a trip, BUT here are a few things that helped us out over multiple hours in the car with multiple children…

Activity buckets for travel with kidsTips for Traveling with Children:

1) Activity bins – I found some stacking bins to put in the middle of Gabriel and Veronica, and loaded it with new inexpensive activities, snacks, and distractions. I made sure the items were mess free, and for the most part, it kept them entertained during some of the longer stretches.

2) Books on Tape – Before our trips I would let the kids pick out a few books on tape (CDs) from the library to listen to in the car and follow along with a book. It is mesmerizing to them, and even Max is a silent moose through them. Another wonder we discovered are these Classical Kids CD series. I cannot believe how it holds their attention. They seem to go into a far off daydream world when we play them. So we press repreat…

3) Turn everything into some kind of adventure – I realized that at the younger ages, it doesn’t take much to get their eyes wide with excitement and wonder. You can turn everything into an adventure. During gas station stops we let them bring a bag of change to buy a whole treat with at the gas station. Lollipops are gold around here. We gave them a instax polaroid to snap a few pics of whatever caught their eye. This kept them in observation mode whenever we visited museums or restaurants. Gabe is really good at coming up with games so there were a few times we challenged them to find certain things depending on where we were. An ispy type of challenge.

4) Always have snacks – Loads of them. They have saved us in many many situations;)

5) Flexibility – We have learned that traveling with children is only possible with a flexible mindset. There were many times I would get super stressed when my hopeful itinerary was ruined. In reality, high speed schedules (or lack thereof), less sleep, constant stimulation, etc. can be tough on adults let alone children. We usually go into a trip now with a list of hopeful ideas and a semi-plan versus an hour by hour. We also try to allow extra time in between activities to make sure there is plenty of room for rest or meals. Our last attempt at this method went really well, and we even survived a day without naps!

6) Backpacks – We put Gabriel and Veronica in charge of their own backpacks with snacks and water bottles which they both were quite proud of since we trusted them to carry such valuable things;). Whenever they were thirsty (which I feel like is every 30 minutes no matter what season or where we are), they could pull out their own water. They also kept their trusty camera in there too. So Young has some really great insulated backpacks and lunchbox options for kids.

Traveling with totsvia In Honor of Design7) Noise Machines – We held out until our third child to get a noise machine, until my sisters swore it would change my life. And it has. Whether you are staying in a hotel or residence, the noise machine drowns out noise and has helped our toddler fall asleep and stay asleep in both situations. Even if everyone is in one large room, having a noise machine next to an area where the littlest one sleeps actually helps us ALL sleep better. Max has ended up in our bed several times nonetheless…;)

8) Restaurant Bag of Tricks – Max walks into a restaurant and it seems to set of the Mad Max alarm inside of his little personality. Mania and mischief take over and no exaggeration when I say, forks go flying. I know most parents can relate to some embarrassing experiences of wanting to leave the food on the table and maybe even their kids behind, so hopefully this tip will help prevent the next disaster! I will throw in my bag ziplocks of crayons, coloring books, snacks (because I’d rather stuff Max’s face than have him crawling under people’s tables…), little games for the older two, cars or trains, and if all else fails, the iphone! I am not below a little screen time in emergency situations;)

I could go on and on, but in case your attention span has left you, we will save it for round two. Any tips to add? I would love to hear all your tricks!

Leave a Comment

  • We only have one kid so far, an almost 2 year old. We have done multiple 16 hour car rides now, and have left at 8pm, 3am, 10am- trying to find a great travel time. We finally realized we just have to go for it, allow for longer stops of running around, and a day of recovery for the toddler when we get to our destination.

    For sleep, yes to a noise maker here too! We have a very particular child.. For as much as we travel, she needs her surroundings to feel like home or sleep won’t happen. So cheap travel blackout shades, noise maker, her teddy bear all lead to a great night. Many hotels even have full sized cribs, everyone’s happy!

    We love to travel with our daughter, love seeing others do the same as well.

    • Eleanor, you hit the nail on the head! Keeping familiar surroundings for our little ones is the most helpful way for smooth sleeping while traveling. Even though hotels have pillows, we bring the little ones pillows along if in driving distance because it tends to be a comfort for them:)

  • The stacking bins is such a good tip!

  • Great tips! LOVE white noise machines.

  • I need a noise machine just for myself for when I travel, so I guess I’ll have that ‘built in’ once the kids come.

    And can I just say how happy it makes me that you mentioned books on ‘tape’ vs. DVDs to watch? I feel like so many people depend on movies and shoes these days. But, books are so enriching even if you are just listening to them! When my brother and I were little, we were always on long car trips and we survived without a tv in our vehicle. I’m determined to not have one when the kids come, too!

    • ha ha Nicole! Yes I actually loooove the noise machine:) And it is true. My little ones can recognize classical music artists in stores thanks to the CDs I mentioned. I am so thankful to our friend who gave them to us! We save the movies for when everyone starts falling apart;)

  • Portia Antonio

    Thank you for sharing! I love the bin stacking idea. We love going on family adventures, exploring whatever area the military sends us to– We use books on tape too, but use the audible app by Amazon. They have a number of kids’ books! We also look for parks to let the kids play (and the baby nurse) before we get back on the road. Happy adventuring!

  • These are great tips! I love the activity bin. Kids totally need something to entertain them during long car rides! I also love the idea of turning everything into an adventure—who can resist that?! I will have to send these tips to my sisters with little ones, and definitely keep them in mind for when my little one arrives!

    • Thank you Brooke! It took me a while to get a swing on traveling with little ones, and still feel like I am learning so happy to share the tips! 😉

  • We are about to have baby number three and my husband and I already joked we are never leaving the house. Three under three, people think we are so tired, stressed or crazy. We always knew we wanted a big family. Being organized is key. The mary poppins bag may be heavy, but having those essential things are key. Sometimes we play games about color or numbers with the sugar packets!! 🙂 I like the activity bin. Just to have in the car with new silly things is a great idea! Hope the family of 6 is going well. That video your sister took at the hospital made me so excited for our kids to meet this new little one.

  • […] time, and sit in a stack in my closet. Well, I chuckle a little Continue Reading → Tips for Traveling with Children We traveled almost every month this year for various reasons, and one thing I have learned is […]

  • Am aflat aceasta pagina, dupa ce am cautat despre Tips for Traveling with Children pe Google.
    Se pare ca informatia dvs e foarte valoroasa, mai ales ca am mai gasit aici si despre ora, ora exacta, lucruri interesante si folositoare.
    Mult succes in continuare!

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