Everyday Home Blog: Vacation Travel with Kids


The holiday season is now upon us, and many will be traveling to see family and friends this year. Before hitting the road or taking off, it’s important to plan ahead so that the trip is less stressful for your family.

Holidays are a time to see family and friends, and for many that also means traveling long distances. Traveling can be a stressful event at any time, but especially if children are involved.

To help reduce stress, good planning can determine the difference between a remembered joy and a bad travel experience.

Try these ideas when traveling by vehicle to help make the business less hectic:

– Pack the car the day before. Early in the morning, transport your children from their bed to the car. They usually take a nap at the first gas station stop and get you some significant mileage before breakfast.

– Ask each child to prepare a bag and allow them to put whatever they want in it, but they should be responsible for transporting and tracking the contents.

– Make flexible seating assignments to keep peace in the car. Separate the sides with a suitcase, box or bag between the children. Make sure you stop often for stretching, running, and playing games.

– For children who are still in the car seats, place a diaper bag or duffel bag full of toys and books next to the seat where they can easily reach it.

– Keep the music eclectic. It’s best to keep the music neutral and compromise to find music that everyone enjoys listening to.

– Give each child their own map so that they can see the path they are taking and they can highlight the route.

If getting to your vacation destination requires a flight, keep these points in mind:

– Pack food and toys. Try to pack your kids’ favorite toys and snacks to make up for the lack of options.

– Put identification on your children. Sometimes in a crowded and chaotic airport, it is possible to lose sight of a child. Write your name or store a business card in each child’s travel bag or jacket. Instruct your child to seek help from a uniformed police officer or airline employee and present the card, just in case of separation.

– Make sure you are aware of the flight restrictions and what the airline allows to be

brought on board.

When traveling as a family, it’s important to be prepared and willing to keep the kids entertained for a while. Bringing items to play with will help keep them occupied and distracted.

A travel backpack or “on-the-go bag” can be stocked with many items your child loves to play with and are small and easy to pack. Here are some suggestions:

– Pencils and / or colored pencils. A zippered plastic bag makes a great carrying case. Be sure to bring white paper and coloring books.

– Stuffed animals are a necessity, but don’t pack your kid’s favorite. Suggest toys that maybe aren’t as special in case they are left behind.

– Download audio picture books to a tablet or phone. Have headphones for the kids so they can keep track of their favorite book.

Holidays should be enjoyed and removing the extra stress will ensure your family has a great holiday season.

This article originally appeared on The Shawnee News-Star: Everyday Home Blog: Vacation Travel with Kids

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