Top Creative Tips for Traveling with Children
School's out, and families across the country are getting ready to take their summer vacations. One Step Ahead realizes traveling with children can be stressful and can present some unique challenges. We aim to help simplify life for parents traveling with children by providing some valuable tips and unique product picks - that won't break the bank!
Our Facebook fans helped us develop some unique "real life" parent tips for traveling with kids:
- Travel fairy. Purchase small, inexpensive toys to use as rewards during the trip. For each hour of good behavior while on the trip, hand out a wrapped reward to each child. They will be motivated to behave and will enjoy a new treat to keep them occupied during the next stretch.
- Catch your Zzzz's. Time road trips or flights around sleep schedules if possible. Try to travel when the kids are sleeping to pass a large chunk of time. If possible, travel overnight.
- Snack attack. Bring a cooler of snacks for kids (and parents!). This will help keep kids hunger-free for longer periods of time and will prevent frequent food stops. This will also cut down on airplane snack costs while in-flight.
- Family time. While road-tripping, play family travel games such as License Plate Bingo, I Spy, Landmark Scavenger Hunt & throw in family sing-along time to boot!
- Bookworms. In addition to favorite story books, bring along brochures of your destination for kids browse and pick out things they want to do when they arrive and/or catalogs for kids to circle picks for birthday/holiday lists. Even load up the iPod with audiobooks for whole family entertainment.
- Activity binders! Print free online coloring pages of kids' favorite characters, dot-to-dots, mazes (even some fun school skill worksheets!) & assemble in a special binder for each child. Give to each child at the start of the trip for hours of entertainment!
- Everyone needs a break. When traveling by car, try and pre-plan meal stops around rest-stop/park locations. Either bring or buy meals there & let the kids stretch their legs and burn off some energy running around before hitting the road again!
- Engage children. Have children help with the packing! Give them each parent-approved bags to fill with special toys and activities that they want to play with en route and while at your destination!
- Mail the luggage. When flying, cut down on airport baggage by mailing some items to your destination ahead of time. It's easier to maneuver with kids through the airport when you're not carrying so many bags.
- When flying, bring at least one small, carry-on bag with your family's "essentials" (think change of clothes, diapers, toothbrush, favorite stuffed animal etc). You never know when your flight could be delayed or your baggage could get lost for a night or two!
- Whether you're road-tripping to Grandma's house or flying to a destination vacation, bring along some items to help children easily transition to their temporary home-away-from home.
- Stay safe. No matter where your destination, be prepared & address appropriate safety behaviors with the family in advance of the trip. Explain what to expect at the airport, theme park, hotel or visiting house & agree on best safety practices.
Even though traveling with kids can tack some extra organization on to the front-end of the trip, it's well worth it! Fans agree, the more families travel together, the easier it becomes. Once families have all of the quirks worked out, traveling with children can be very rewarding, can help children learn about new cultures and can create lasting memories for years to come. Bon Voyage!