With the Covid-19 vaccine being distributed at a generous pace, many places are beginning to loosen their travel and operation restrictions. After being cooped up for over a year, many people are ready to break free from home and take a family trip. Summer vacation is right around the corner, and children are eager for some adventure. To help make your trip as smooth as possible, here are 20 tips for traveling with children.
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- Plan your paces. Children can become stressed out when rushed here and there. Put yourself in a position where you do not have to rush. Leave plenty of time. By giving yourself plenty of time, you leave room for error.
- Understand that mishaps happen. Maybe you miss a bus or a plane. Maybe it takes too long at the airport. You must check-in, get through security, maybe buy snacks and drinks and board the plane.
- Pack efficiently. Try not to overpack. You and your children do not need every luxury from home. Bring key items.
- Pre-book your destinations. Be sure to have your hotel reserved so that you can go to your lodging and your children can rest. Anything you can have booked ahead of time is for the best, including restaurants and entertainment. You want to reduce the amount of time your children have to get antsy.
- Break down the travel plans for the kids. Nuance tends to make children uncomfortable. Giving them a general breakdown of the trip should offer a big of security as opposed to the unknown. Explain what happens at the airport and on the plane. Explain what behaviors are expected of them.
- Pack snacks. Children often become hungry in the most inconvenient of times. Maybe you are stuck in traffic or waiting on your dinner reservation time. Either way, children need snacks to tide them over until the destination is reached. Snacks also help if the children do not have a taste for the type of food in your new location. Snacks are great for both children and adults.
- Use good gear. Check out what you will need for your trip. Compare prices and utility. For example, you may want to pay a bit extra for a 2-pound travel car seat over a 5-pound travel car seat.
- Ask for discounts. This is a tip for traveling with or without children. Often establishments have specials or promotions going on, especially for children. Try finding discounts on transportation, guides, tours, attractions, and restaurants. You can check the establishment’s website for deals or contact them directly. You will never know unless you ask.
- Understand things may go wrong. Anything could go wrong. Your child may have to use the bathroom, so you miss your flight. You or your child could get an upset stomach which could delay you. Maybe someone leaves a phone in a taxi. Regardless, things happen. Stay calm; your children will pick up on any angst.
- Keep an eye on your child. The world is a big place. When traveling, a split second of inattention and your child could disappear. Be safe. Children are prone to wander, especially if something catches their eye. Share responsibility amongst the family to have an eye on each other.
- Give your children your contact information. If you happen to become separated from your child, it is good to have your contact information on their person. This information should include your name, phone number, email, home address, and hotel information. You can include a note in your child’s pocket. You can have older children memorize the information and include it on their phones.
- Pack a safety kit. Anything can happen, and it is a good idea to be prepared for injury and illness. Have a safety kit with basic items like bandages and medicine. Different medicine to consider is headache, allergy, stomach, and motion sickness medicine. Be sure to pack any prescribed medications for the family. If possible, keep prescription medication in the original packages. If it is not possible to keep prescriptions in the original packaging, be sure to take a copy of your prescription from your doctor. Check your destination’s regulations to be sure you can bring your prescriptions there without the need for permission or paperwork.
- Be prepared to explain special needs at your destination. If your child has special needs, whether it’s mental, physical, or special diet needs, be prepared to explain your situation in the local language. Maybe have a card explaining your situation so that it is easily conveyed without much confusion. There are online services that translate texts as well.
- Have your proper paperwork. Be sure to have all your passports and other proper identification. Some countries require a birth certificate to cross the border with a child, so be sure to check. Proper paperwork is important, especially if you are traveling without your child’s other parent. You may need not only a birth certificate but also a note from the child’s other parent.
- Take entertainment. People, especially children, get bored. An idol child can be a recipe for disaster. Take books, toys, or electronic devices, so that your child has something to hold their attention.
- Consider renting a house vs. a hotel. Experts recommend renting a house when traveling with children. A home gives you a kitchen to cook, reducing the cost of meals and space for the family to spread out.
- Consider your flight times. A 10-hour flight may be taxing on a little one. Consider breaking it up into multiple flights.
- Keep time zones in mind. When traveling, time zones may change, which can radically alter your child’s sleep pattern.
- Get plenty of rest. Traveling is exhausting, even more so for children. Be sure that you and your children get plenty of rest.
- Stay current on Covid-19 mask mandates and restrictions. Many places in the United States are lifting mask restrictions. Still, you need to know what the Covid-19 restrictions are for your destination with everything in transition.
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Traveling can be a wonderful experience or a terrible one. Whether it is for business or pleasure, traveling is a process that needs to be planned appropriately, especially when you are traveling with children. Now, that the world is finally opening back up, more and more people will be leaving the home and taking vacations. These tips will help you properly prepare to travel with children.