Posted on Nov 13th 2020
Holiday travel is never anyone's favorite thing to do, and adding kids to the mix only makes it more difficult. Bad weather, traffic jams, long lines at the airport and cranky children are enough to ruin anyone's holiday cheer. With a few simple preparation steps, however, you can be prepared for the worst and hope for a smooth travel experience.
Clothing, cold weather gear, holiday gifts and children's supplies can take up quite a lot of space in your suitcase. Purchasing holiday gifts in advance and shipping them ahead a few weeks before your travel date is a great space-saving idea. If you're flying, you'll need to be extra diligent about not over-packing to avoid overweight luggage fees. Kid supplies are one thing you can't overpack on, however. Be prepared with extra diapers, a change of clothes, favorite toys and a first aid kit. You never know what kinds of spills or messes can occur on the road, so preparing ahead will smooth over any bumps.
Get an Early Start
If you're flying with kids, domestically or internationally, it is always best to arrive a few hours ahead of the scheduled flight time. Kids may be slow and sleepy for early morning flights and rushing through the airport may cause stress-tears and temper tantrums. If you're hitting the road, an early start will keep you on schedule in case of any unexpected stops. Planning a segmented drive is also a good way to keep kids from losing it in a multi-hour car ride. For every two hours, plan a 30 minute stop for kids to get out of the car and stretch their legs and for everyone to use the bathroom.
To avoid hunger-induced meltdowns, it is always good to have healthy snacks on hand. Sugary snacks will cause cranky attitudes later on, so stick to things like nuts, fruits, healthy cereals and homemade sandwiches.
Bring a Busy Bag
As we mentioned above a hungry kid is a cranky kid. Similarly, a bored kid is also a cranky kid. Keep your children entertained with a "busy bag" full of activities, toys and books. Travel puzzles, sticker packs, coloring books and kid-friendly reading books about your chosen destination are all good travel companions. These engaging activities will keep your kids occupied and also cut down on screen time. A good way to keep screen time down for the entirety of your holiday trip is to set daily limits. That way you'll ensure that everyone is spending time together and the holidays are enjoyed as a family.
Whether flying or driving, preparation is key to happy travels. For long flights, make sure you have plenty on hand to keep your kids busy. Try searching for direct flights to avoid long layovers. If you are driving, be sure to have your car cleaned, oil changed, and tires and brakes checked over. Be sure to have emergency essentials, like a flashlight, bottles of water, and a small shovel, on hand. Traffic is heavy during travel season, so the early you get on the road the better.
Traveling with small children definitely requires a bit more planning than solo travel. As long as you are prepared you can expect a smooth ride and plenty of family fun time. Instead of stressing over the long travel day ahead of you, get your children excited by having them join in on pre-trip preparations. The Romp n' Roll team wishes you safe travels ahead and a happy holiday season!