15 Must-Know Tips for Traveling with Kids

we are that familiaWe travel a lot.

We live the expat life.

My kids’ passports have more pages stamped on them now than mine ever did, even as an adult.

The fact that my kids have traveled more than I ever did hit me when I realized how often my kids play “the airplane game.”  They grab our suitcases. Pack their bags. Fight about who’s the pilot. Our couch turns into an airplane and they travel the world.  My son’s favorite place to travel in his pretend play was Djibouti, located in the Horn of Africa. He loved going there because he said it like this: “Jou Booty.” Need I say more?

This is the second article of our Traveling with Kids series! If you missed the first one you can find it here. I also wrote an article on 10 Must Know Tips for Traveling with Kids INTERNATIONALLY.

When looking for traveling tips and tricks for your family, make sure you take into account your kids’ personalities, behaviors, and ages. For example, I have never used Benadryl on my kids to knock them out on the plane ride, but I know lots of parents who have, and some who said it actually made them hyper instead of calming them down.  My tips are pretty generic (and don’t involve medicating them, hee, hee).

Here are my 15 must-know tips for traveling with your kids (specifically flying tips) because traveling with kids can be stressful — believe me, I know.

  • 15 Must-Know Tips For Traveling With Kids 1 of 16
  • Don’t lose another sippy cup. 2 of 16

    I don't know if the Sippy Cup Traveling Monster pays you a visit when traveling but we always lose our sippy cups when we are traveling. I think it lives in between airplane and car seats. 

  • Pack your patience and sense of humor. 3 of 16

    Yes, my son is rolling his car over my husband's face.  It can get stressful traveling with little ones, so it's important that we learn to laugh at situations — especially if there are delays and changes in our original traveling plans. 

  • Let them pack their own… 4 of 16
  • Have Surprise Bags! 5 of 16

    There was a point when I was flying with a moody 20-month-old and a 4-year-old, fun times!  This is when we pulled out our surprise gifts every 30 minutes - 1 hour.  I went to the dollar store, picked up random little toys, and placed one in each bag for them.  When they started getting restless I would pull out a surprise bag for them.  They LOVED it and it kept them entertained.  Ivory Bloom has these cute little printables you can use as shown above in the picture or you can just tape them and place a ribbon on them for a simple and quick surprise gift bag. 

  • Pack Their Favorite Snacks 6 of 16

    Pack trail mix and sprinkle in some chocolate chips. Good traveling food: oranges, carrots, grapes, granola bars, fruit snacks, milk or juice boxes (which I don't think they will make it past checkpoint so don't pack too many of those).  

  • Carry extra clothing in case of… 7 of 16

    Otherwise you will end up with a cute little kid in their undies because they spilled juice the flight attendant gave, all over themself — or even worse, they didn't quite make it to the bathroom. 

  • Wipes, need I say more. 8 of 16

    I always pack a clean dry rag when we go on trips and I've yet to come home with an unused rag. 

  • Kids love simple fun! 9 of 16

    This game is perfect to take along on a trip because it's simple and if it gets lost it's okay because it didn't cost you anything to make it. Tic Tac Toe Game from recycled egg carton via Inspired by Familia. Other simple fun items to pack: flashlights, masking tape, string, stickers, recycled lids...

  • Books, audio books, coloring books 10 of 16

    Make an audio book to take along on your trip. Or purchase books with cd's and pack your portable cd player and headphones. Or take some old magazines you don't mind cutting up and let them cut out pictures. You can even make a picture scavenger hunt out of it.

  • Explore! 11 of 16

    Take advantage of the shuttles or trains at the airports. Once I was on the sky train in Florida like 8 times on a trip. Plus, after all the sugar intake I have eaten because I deserve it after an 8 hour trip it wouldn't hurt to add some walking to my day during layovers. If there aren't any, just walk around and explore the airport from one end to another. 

  • Airport Scavenger Hunt 12 of 16

    Print this fun scavenger hunt out before you head out or if you don't have time, make up your own and jot down some things.  Scavenger hunt can be found at Inspired by Familia

  • Pack essentials in your carry on. 13 of 16

    I don't know how many times I have NOT done this. Make sure to pack an extra pair of clothes WITH you — not in your suitcase. Also, make sure if any of your kids are on medication that you have that with you. 

  • Individual baggie for their clothes. 14 of 16

    I recently did this on one of our trips and it was wonderful since we were trying to pack light and had all of our stuff in a couple of suitcases.  It's also great because they don't have to take everything out of their suitcases to find those little socks at the bottom. ~image and info can be found at Grey Luster Girl 

  • Schedule flights to match their naps. 15 of 16

    Make sure that who ever is booking your flights is aware of your flying time preferences. I have had many an argument with my husband after he handed me our super cheap tickets with AWFUL flying times. Believe me, I love saving money, but ending up with a 4 hour layover in Nebraska on my way to Georgia from Texas after having to wake up at 5 a.m. is not worth it.

  • Look up your airport. 16 of 16

    Also, before your trip go online and look up the airports you will be at and find out if there is a playground or other entertainment available for the kids.  Here on Kidventurous you can find a list of 10 kid friendly airports but if your airport is not listed look them up online and give them a call. image via kidventurous

A few extra tips to help keep you sane:

Arrive early. I am the queen of cutting it close for flights, but once I had children, I realized that rushing through the airport with crying kids wasn’t going to work.  Now I would much rather have an hour before hand to give us time to calmly walk to our gate.

Also, if you’re traveling with another adult, give each other breaks.  Give each other a specific time so you don’t miss your flight, for example, “Why don’t you take 15 minutes and flip through a magazine or something before we board the plane? Or I will take the kids on their 20th train ride so you can rest your eyes.”

What are some of your tips and tricks for traveling with kids?


Join me each week on “We Are That Familia.” I am ecstatic to be sharing with you here on Babble.com on all things “Family” from parenting, recipes, crafts, inspirational (and not so inspirational) stories, and life as we know it. You can catch up on our merrymaking over at my place: Inspired by Familia , on Facebook, and on Pinterest.

Article Posted 5 years Ago

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