Plan ahead, but leave time open from Tips for Traveling with Kids

Tips for Traveling with Kids

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Flickr/Ianus Keller

Plan ahead, but leave time open

“When you’re traveling with kids, plan 50 percent of activities ahead of time, and leave 50 percent of the time open,” said Bhojwani-Dhawan. It’s important to find a good balance, as kids tend to slow down the process of traveling, but some planning will keep them entertained.

Flickr/Jim Champion

Do your research

Where can you find a car seat? How about diapers? Is the water safe to drink? When traveling abroad there are a few questions you’ll need to answer and when there are kids with you, there are a few more things to consider.

Flickr/Roar Pettersen

Pick your seat early

As soon as you book your flight, you should choose the seating arrangement that works best for your family. It can be tough to get seats together, so Bhojwani-Dhawan said she and her husband each take one child. The one-on-one attention helps keep kids occupied in flight and spreads the responsibility evenly.

Flickr/Richard

Take trains

Much of Europe is connected by train, so when it’s an option, it’s a great choice for kids. Most train stations are easier to get to than airports, you won’t have to wait at airport security and the kids will be able to walk around and enjoy more interesting views, she said.

Flickr/Shawn Anderson

Kids should travel in PJs

Keeping kids comfortable is always a good idea and when you prepare them for bed there’s a better chance they’ll fall asleep. Kids will sleep through flights as they get older and then you should book overnight flights, she said.

Flickr/David Galvan

Fellow Passengers

Flying can be tough on kids, which can make it hard for people around them. Bhojwani-Dhawan said she’s come across a wide range of initial reactions, from those that grimace at the sight of kids to those that are delighted to see them. “It’s important to be considerate, but don’t get carried away, when it comes down to it you have as much of a right to be there as they do.”

Flickr/Brad Flickinger

Be prepared

Bringing favorite toys and snacks is imperative to a successful flight and trip (so be sure to stock up at the grocery store when you land). Don’t pack everything they own—that will only cause more stress, but bring toys that serve more than one purpose and come up with different ways to keep them interested.

Flickr/Mats Lindh

Get moving

Walking as much as you can will get kids moving and release some pent-up energy, but remember to bring a stroller for when they get tired.

Flickr/Holiday Inn Express Hotels and Suites Photostream

Choose apartments or suites, not hotels

Find an apartment or a suite, as opposed to a standard hotel room, she suggests. Places that come with a kitchen can save you money on hotel breakfasts and ensure that your picky eaters have access to familiar food. The extra space is useful too, she said, with separate rooms parents won’t have to whisper once the kids fall asleep.

Flickr/Evan Bench

Travel while they’re young

“Infants can go anywhere,” she said, getting kids used to travel is a great way to alleviate fear and smooth out a routine. She brought her son on his first flight at just 4 months old and now, at five years old he gets himself settled on the plane, buckles his own seat belt and knows what to expect.

Momaboard.com

Try new things

Traveling allows you to experience aspects of different cultures, include your kids in new experiences. Bhojwani-Dhawan said she tries to give her kids local food once a day instead of McDonald’s and her kids are shown (left) sitting with a snake charmer.

Tips for Traveling with Kids