Traveling with Children
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“Are We There Yet?” Stress-Free Travel with Children

Summer is here which means traveling by planes, trains, and automobiles for many families.

Here are some tips to help make vacation travel easier and more enjoyable for you and your children. Pack some of these recommended items in a travel tote before you depart, and you are unlikely to hear cries of “Are we there yet?” every half hour.

1. Allow Plenty of Time

We all know that travel is stressful. Alleviate some of that stress by planning ahead and allowing plenty of time to get there. If you’re traveling by plane, get to the airport at least two hours early to get through security during the summer  without worrying about missing your flight. If you arrive at your gate early, relax and pull out a game or art supplies from your travel tote to keep kids happily occupied.

If you’re traveling by car, plan on frequent rest stops (every hour or two) to to let kids go to the bathroom, run around, and blow off steam. Figure out how many 15-minute stops you will need to make along your journey and calculate your departure time to allow plenty of time for rest stops.

2.  Pack Plenty of Snacks and Water

Pack healthy snacks with lots of protein. Snacks high in protein, like nuts, peanut butter, or hard boiled eggs, will stave off the crash that comes after consuming high-carb sugary snacks and can lead to meltdowns. I think all parents would agree that there are few things more stressful than a child having a temper-tantrum on a plane!

And don’t forget to keep your child well-hydrated during flights which are notoriously dry. Dehydration can lead to headaches and crankiness.

Grimms Wooden Magnetic Puzzle

 

3. Play Games

Share the driving games you remember from your own childhood with your children. There is the classic “20 Questions” in which players try to guess what someone is thinking of by asking no more than 20 yes-or-no questions.

And there’s the “Alphabet Game” in which players try to spot each letter of the alphabet in sequence while driving down the highway—on signs, license plates, and billboards. The first person to get to Z wins.

On longer drives or when traveling by play, you can pull out your family’s travel tote filled with things like magnetic puzzles, books, and art supplies to keep children more quietly active.

4. Arts and Crafts

Pack art supplies. A pad of paper, crayons, and colored pencils not only get a child’s creative juices flowing, but can also be used for playing games like Tic-Tac-Toe or Hangman.

Crafts like knitting or crochet will occupy a child’s head, heart and hands on the road and produce a beautiful handmade item by the end of the trip!

Traveling with Kids

5. Listen to Recordings of Stories

There are lots of wonderful audio books of stories for children of all ages. The storyteller Jim Weiss offers a wide variety of stories for preschoolers (fairy tales and animal stories) to stories of Greek Mythology and King Arthur Stories for older children.

The whole family can listen while traveling by car, or a child can listen to an audio device with headphones when traveling by plane, while children are being introduced to classic literature.

6. Relax

Allow your child to be quiet with her own thoughts when she is calm. Time spent looking out the window and daydreaming are healthy activities and eliminate stress. Allow you child to sleep, when he is sleepy. A well-rested child will be much more cheerful upon arrival.

7. Toys and Supplies to Keep Kids Occupied

Here are some of my top recommendations for keeping kids busy on the road, by rail, or in the air:

Bon Voyage!

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What are some of your tips and tricks for traveling with kids? Share your ideas by leaving a comment below!

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7 Comments

  • Reply grace bartlett July 9, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    I love that you list Allow Plenty of Time for #1! It’s my biggest tip when asked for advice traveling with kids! ESPECIALLY with roadtrips. I always suggest being totally prepared to stop A LOT.

  • Reply Elizabeth Quincy July 9, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    My son, starting at age two and a half, loves to play ” count the road signs” on long car trips. This game can be adapted to ” count the mail-boxes”, “count the overpasses”, “count the red cars”, etc. depending on the scenery. It often leads to interesting observations and conversation about other things we spot out the window.

  • Reply Amy Jackson July 10, 2017 at 12:02 am

    When traveling with our grandkids we love stopping at local playgrounds and libraries. It gives us some time to stretch and play and read in a new environment. The libraries have toys, games and puzzles as well as reading materials and sometimes we have been lucky enough to catch a story hour. Once we wen to a wonderful library in Denver in an old movie theater with our first two grandkids and we could hardly get them out of it.

  • Reply Beth Lichtenstein July 13, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    How do I register for travel giveaway?

  • Reply Tanya July 13, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    Thank you for great tips. We are just about to go on our next overseas vacation and I will definitely follow your advice.

    My 3y.o. always asks me to listen to Lorraine Nelson Wolf’s Come Follow Me album in the car. It is very relaxing and we combine it with funny hand puppet sanding.

  • Reply Charity July 22, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    What a great blog post…love the ideas! We play “count the exits” until our next stop. Everyone guesses how many ‘exits’ there are between where we are at that time and where our next stop is (or a designated town). It’s fun to see who gets the closest or farthest or even in the middle!

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