Traveling with Kids: How to Make it Easy

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Family vacations are a great way to spend quality time with your kids and build memories, whether you stay in a mountain cabin, beach house, hotel, or tent. While these vacations can be fun and exciting experiences, traveling with kids can also be a challenge. Whether you’re flying to your destination or taking a road trip, the following tips can help make it easier to travel with kids.

Choose a Family-Friendly Destination

Going to a place that’s designed for families means you’ll have plenty of activities to choose from, as well as amenities that add convenience to your trip. Some family-friendly destinations, such as Orlando or Anaheim, have tons of tourist attractions to keep kids of all ages entertained. Other places such as Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon, offer beautiful surroundings for older kids who can handle hiking and other outdoor activities. 

Some family-friendly destinations, such as Gatlinburg, TN, the gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, have the best of both worlds. With a host of outdoor adventures in scenic surroundings, the area offers a closeness to nature that kids can learn and grow from. Meanwhile the town is packed with countless family-friendly attractions, and the hundreds of Gatlinburg cabins offer full amenities as well as games and entertainments to keep the kids happy while parents relax in the hot tub, or prep a snack in the kitchen.

Book Ahead of Time

When you decide on a destination, pre-book as much as you can. This includes flights and accommodations, but keep in mind that you might also be able to book attractions and activities ahead of time. Booking as much as possible before you go means you don’t have to worry about having to change plans at the last minute during your trip.

Explain the Trip to Your Kids

Depending on their ages, talk to your kids about your upcoming trip. Let older kids know what kinds of activities they’ll be able to enjoy or what sights they can look forward to seeing. Focus on the fun of exploring a new place when you talk to younger kids about your trip.

Set Aside Plenty of Time to Pack

Packing often takes longer than expected. Setting aside more time for it helps prevent you from having to rush right before your trip. Making a list of items to bring can help speed up the packing process.

Pack First Aid and Basic Medicines

Make sure you have a first aid kit and some basic medicines for kids that you might need on your trip in case they feel under the weather. Having these items handy means you won’t have to go out of your way to get them while traveling. This is even more important if you’re going to be camping or staying in a more remote location.

Pack as Lightly as Possible

Having to lug heavy suitcases or a bunch of bags around while traveling with kids can be difficult. Try to pack as lightly as you can while still bringing what you need for your trip. Over-packing can add stress to your trip, especially if you have a hard time finding what you need in suitcases or travel bags during your trip. Pack items you’ll need right away in a small carry-on or travel bag, so you can easily get to them.

Get High-Quality Travel Gear

Invest in high-quality travel gear for your kids when you need to bring travel car seats and strollers or slings for younger kids. High-quality travel gear is usually designed with convenience and comfort in mind.

Bring Snacks and Entertainment

Whether you’re flying or driving, have snacks available for your kids to lower the risk of tantrums when they’re hungry. Bring entertainment as well, such as a portable DVD player for the car or activity books for the plane.

Bring Old and New Books and Toys

Giving kids brand new toys and books for your trip can be a great surprise and keep them occupied. Bringing a couple of their favorite toys and books can help them feel more comfortable with being away from home.

Leave for the Airport Early

If you’re flying, head to the airport early, so you’ll have time to go through security and check in for your flight. Arriving early lowers your risk of missing your flight and being stuck having to reschedule. Keep in mind that traveling with kids means you should plan to leave even earlier for the airport than you normally would.

Choose Flights with Longer Layovers

If flying with kids involves more than one flight, choose one with a longer layover. Short layovers can be highly difficult to handle when you’re trying to get kids from gate to gate, especially in a large airport.

Follow Your Usual Routine as Much as Possible

When you have younger kids, try to stick to your usual routine during your trip, such as nap times and meal times. Following your usual routine can help younger kids feel less anxious about traveling away from home.

Set Aside Time for Relaxation

While planning activities helps keep your kids occupied during your trip, you should also make sure to have quiet times. These times give you and your kids time to relax and unwind after a day of activities or sightseeing.

Embrace Flexibility

No matter how carefully you plan your trip, unexpected things can happen. Be flexible while traveling with your kids, and you’ll be able to handle these kinds of changes more easily and have an enjoyable family vacation.

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