Planning a vacation with your child can be stressful. Between handling travel arrangements, accommodations, and navigating, dealing with your child might seem almost impossible.
Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure you both have a peaceful trip. Let’s dive in.
1. Make the trip itself fun
Children are inquisitive and constantly need to be stimulated, so it’s important to plan some fun things for your child to do white traveling. This doesn’t mean you have to plan anything crazy. In fact, kids can be entertained by the smallest things.
Planning a small detour to a local zoo or park can be enough to keep your child satisfied and happy. If it’s not, plan to keep items around that can entertain them. Packing an iPad or tablet with their favorite movies and games can provide them with hours of entertainment and keep them out of your hair while you focus on navigating the road.
Don’t have access to any electronics? Take advantage of the time together and plan some games to play with your kids. Games like iSpy or Name That Song can provide hours of fun and quality together time without having to shell out hundreds on electronics.
2. Plan physical activities
Kids are bundles of energy, which can make traveling especially hard for them. Most children won’t be happy sitting for long periods of time, so it’s important to plan physical activities along the way.
This can be as simple as letting them run around a local park for thirty minutes or as elaborate as planning a complete outing to a fun local spot. The most important thing is to make sure they’re getting enough exercise. Activities that encourage running, jumping, and other strenuous activities will get you the most exercise for your time, which is important when you’re working around the time constraints of travel.
If you’re staying at hotels, a fun and easy way to do this is to take advantage of the pool. Not only is it loads of fun for the kids, but swimming is one of the most tiring activities you can do. Giving them a pair of floaties and goggles will give them hours of fun while you can relax by the pool.
3. Make sure they’re comfortable
Whether you’re traveling by car, boat, or plane, it’s important to make sure your children are comfortable on the journey. Packing blankets and pillows to keep them cozy and comfy also has the added benefit of making them more likely to sleep while you travel.
It’s also a good idea to pack some of their favorite toys or accessories. Being in a new environment can be uncomfortable for anyone, let alone a child, so packing a favorite stuffed toy or blanket can help add a sense of comfort while they’re away from home.
4. Keep snacks on hand
Nobody’s happening when they’re hungry and this goes doubly for kids. Making sure you have something for them to snack on while you’re traveling will help keep hangriness at bay and keep them occupied while they eat.
This is especially useful if you’re in a time-crunch. Having food in the car can reduce the time you spend grocery shopping or stopping at restaurants, leading to a shorter total travel time.
Packing snacks or foods they love and are familiar with is a great way to stave off trip-anxiety as well. Nothing is as comforting as a meal that reminds you of home and this concept applies to kids as well.
5. Be with them
We get it. Traveling is super stressful. But if it’s stressful for you, imagine how stressful it will be for a child. Chances are they’ll reach out to you for comfort, so it’s important to be there for them.
This can be as simple as just holding their hand or talking to them, especially if they’re nervous or anxious. Often, just physical contact or attention can be enough to quell the nerves of even the most exuberant child.
Car games are another great way to show your child you’re there and present with them without requiring too much of your attention. You can stick with tried and true classics like iSpy or even buy a dedicated car game pack.
Traveling can be stressful for children, but it doesn’t have to be. The two most important things to remember while traveling is that children have a lot of energy and can get bored easily. As long as you can keep them active and mentally stimulated, you and your child will be in for a peaceful trip.
Want more tips on how to travel with children? Check out our ultimate guide to planning a trip with your kids here.