Everything You Need To Know About Traveling With Kids

Traveling with kids can be a fun, exciting adventure or a stressful, daunting task. Multiple factors go into traveling as a family, from packing the right essentials to keeping your little ones entertained on long flights or car rides.

We understand how you feel as a parent traveling with kids. So, we’ll cover general family travel tips and specific advice to cover every possible scenario. Whether you’re an experienced traveler or taking your first trip with kids, this guide covers you!

traveling with kids

How to travel with kids

Traveling with kids can be made easier by planning and knowing their needs. When it comes to accommodations and destinations, choose ones that cater to children to make the trip more enjoyable for everyone. Involving your kids in planning can help build excitement and make them more invested in the trip. Additionally, be flexible with your itinerary and allow plenty of rest breaks to keep everyone relaxed. Pack smart and be prepared for the unexpected, such as flight delays or cancellations. By following these tips, you can make traveling with kids a breeze.

1. Don’t Overpack

The common mistake every parent makes when traveling with kids is overpacking. The important thing to keep in mind is not to overpack. While it may be tempting to bring along everything your child could need, packing too much can lead to unnecessary stress and inconvenience during your trip.

Instead, focus on bringing only the essential items and plan to do laundry if needed. Consider packing versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched for different outfits. Make a list of must-have items for each family member to avoid forgetting anything important. Your goal should be to travel light. Remember, many items can be purchased or rented once you reach the destination if needed.

If anything is important and will cost you a lot, you may want to bring it for something inexpensive; we recommend buying it locally if you can. The list of things to pack will differ depending on whether you travel by road or air.

Things to pack traveling with an infant by car or by air

  1. Diapers to last for the entire trip, plus a few extras in case of unexpected delays or accidents.
  2. Baby wipes to clean the mess.
  3. A portable changing pad makes changing your baby’s diaper easy.
  4. Diaper cream if your baby is prone to diaper rash.
  5. Plastic bags for soiled diapers and clothes
  6. Bibs protect the baby’s clothes from food spills.
  7. Extra outfits in case of spills, accidents, or weather changes.
  8. Hat to keep the baby’s head warm
  9. Lightweight blankets to use as a cover, a swaddle, or a place to lay down.
  10. A car seat for your baby to travel in even if you are traveling by flight. The FAA recommends that you secure your child in an approved CRS in their seat for the entire flight.
  11. A stroller can be useful for walking around rest stops or sightseeing destinations. Check with the hotel if they can rent you one for an extra cost.
  12. Baby carrier can be more convenient than a stroller for short walks or hikes.
  13. Travel crib only if you stay in accommodations where a crib may not be provided.
  14. Snacks and baby food for your baby to eat during rest stops.
  15. Bottles and formula or breast milk: If your baby is bottle-fed. Bring a breast pump and extra storage bags to store your milk if breastfeeding. Pack enough to last for the duration of your trip.
  16. Pacifiers and toys to keep your baby calm and entertained during the journey.
  17. Baby-friendly sunscreen to protects your baby’s delicate skin if you spend a lot of time outdoors.
  18. First aid kit
  19. A baby monitor to keep an ear on your baby.
  20. Teething rings
  21. Gas relief medicine
  22. Favorite toys

2. Outline the Trip for Your Kids

When traveling with kids, outlining the trip for them can be an effective way to get them excited and involved in the planning process. Let them know where you’re going, how you’ll get there, where you’ll be staying, and what activities you’ll be doing. By sharing the itinerary with your kids, they can have some control over their vacation experience and feel like active participants in the adventure.

Consider creating a fun travel journal to keep track of all the exciting things you do together. Encourage your kids to ask questions and offer input on what they want to do during the trip. Outlining the trip for your kids helps them feel a sense of involvement and gives them a clearer idea of what to expect, reducing anxiety or uncertainty that may arise during travel.

3. Prepare your kids for the trip

As a parent, preparing your kids for the upcoming trip is essential. Involve them in planning by letting them choose activities or destinations that interest them. It can help build excitement and anticipation toward the journey. Pack a bag of activities such as coloring books, card games, and puzzles to keep your child engaged during travel time.

Discuss expectations with your kids on how to behave on flights or in hotels, and ensure they have all the necessary documents like passports or visas. Preparing your kids well in advance can ensure a smoother and more enjoyable family vacation.

4. Pay Extra for Good Gear

Good quality gear can make all the difference when traveling with kids. While it may be tempting to cut corners on cost, having durable and reliable equipment such as strollers, car seats, and travel bags will ultimately pay off in the long run. Not only does good quality gear provide better comfort and safety for your children, but it also makes navigating through busy airports or crowded streets much easier.

Choosing lightweight and compact gear can further simplify transportation and help alleviate stress during your trip. And if you cannot bring your gear, renting high-quality options at your destination is always an option to consider.

5. Plan in advance

Planning is crucial when it comes to traveling with kids. Starting early and involving your children in preparation can help get them excited about the trip. Research family-friendly destinations and activities that appeal to everyone’s interests.

Make a packing list for each family member, including snacks and entertainment for the kids to keep them occupied during travel time. Considering unexpected events is also essential, so purchasing travel insurance is always wise. By planning, you can ensure a smooth and stress-free experience for everyone involved, making it a memorable family vacation.

6. Prebook Everything You Can

Planning is crucial when traveling with kids, and pre-booking everything you can is a great way to save time and stress during your family vacation. By reserving accommodations, activities, and transportation ahead of time, you can ensure availability and avoid long lines or disappointment.

Research family-friendly accommodations that offer amenities such as cribs or high chairs, and book popular attractions or tours in advance to make the most of your trip. Additionally, consider purchasing travel insurance for added protection in case of unexpected cancellations or delays. Proper planning and prebooking allow you to enjoy a hassle-free vacation with your family.

7. Limit driving times and fly the long distances

When traveling with kids, long car rides can quickly become a source of stress and discomfort for parents and children. To avoid this, consider limiting the amount of driving time during your trip and opt for flying when covering long distances. Not only will this make your journey faster and more comfortable, but it can also be a fun experience for kids who enjoy planes.

Pack plenty of snacks, entertainment, and comfort items to keep everyone happy throughout the journey. Additionally, ensure that any accommodations you book are family-friendly to provide a comfortable stay.

8. Get to the airport early for fun and relaxation

When traveling with kids, getting to the airport early is essential. It can alleviate a lot of stress and make the journey more enjoyable for everyone. Arriving early allows families to check in, go through security, and explore the airport without rushing. Moreover, it provides plenty of time for unexpected delays or issues that may arise.

Making the most of this extra time can be fun and relaxing for kids and parents alike. Whether playing games, enjoying a meal together, or simply taking a stroll around the airport, there are plenty of ways to keep everyone entertained.

So next time you plan a family trip, be sure to factor in some extra time at the airport to start your adventure on the right foot.

9. Ways to Tackle Long-Haul Flights With Children

Long-haul flights with children can be daunting for any parent, but with a little preparation and planning, they need not be. Encourage your child to sleep on the plane by bringing their favorite blanket or pillow. Pack plenty of snacks and activities, such as a portable DVD player or tablet loaded with movies and games, to keep them entertained during the flight.

When booking your seats, choose ones near the bathroom for easy access during frequent trips to the restroom. Booking direct flights whenever possible can help minimize travel time and potential disruptions while preparing your child for the journey. Discussing what to expect and practicing good behavior beforehand will reduce their stress or anxiety. Remember to stay calm throughout the flight; children can pick up on stress and tension.

10. Hotel vs. House?

When choosing between a hotel and a house rental for your family vacation, there are several factors to consider. If you value convenience and amenities like room service, cleaning services, and concierge assistance, then a hotel may be your better option. On the other hand, a house rental offers more space and privacy, allowing you to cook your meals and save money on dining out.

Additionally, staying in a central location can make it easier to explore the area with kids. Ultimately, the decision depends on your budget, preferences, and travel plans.

11. Don’t Hotel Hop

When traveling with kids, it’s tempting to try and cram in as much as possible by hopping from one hotel to another. However, this can quickly become stressful for both parents and children. Not only does it increase the likelihood of lost items or forgotten belongings, but it also disrupts any sense of routine that your child may have developed. Instead, consider staying in one place for an extended time, providing your child stability and security. If you plan on staying in one location for an extended period, consider renting an apartment or vacation home to make your stay more comfortable.

12. Pool vs. sea

Choosing between a pool and the sea can be tough when planning a family vacation. While pools provide a controlled and safe environment for younger children or less experienced swimmers, the sea offers more excitement and adventure. However, it’s important to research the area beforehand, as some beaches may have rough waves or strong currents. Ultimately, choosing between a pool and the sea will depend on your family’s preferences and your children’s ages and swimming abilities. Consider which option best suits your family’s needs and desires for water activities before booking accommodations.

​13. The Best First Aid Kit

When traveling with kids, it’s important to have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand. The first aid kit’s contents will depend on your destination and the type of activities you plan to do. Including bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medications. In case of an emergency, it’s also important to pack a copy of your child’s medical records in the first aid kit. Ensure everyone knows how to use the first aid kit and its location. A properly equipped first aid kit can give parents peace of mind and quickly solve unexpected injuries or illnesses during their travels.

14. Keep Track of Your Child

When traveling with kids, keeping track of them is essential. In crowded areas, such as airports or amusement parks, it can be easy for a child to wander off and become lost. One way to prevent this is using a GPS tracker or ID bracelet for young children. Additionally, teaching your child to memorize your phone number and address, establishing a meeting point or code word in case you get separated, and frequently reminding your child about safety rules and the importance of staying with an adult can also help ensure their safety traveling. Remembering these tips can give parents peace of mind and make for a stress-free family vacation.

15. Give Kids Your Contact Information

When traveling with kids, it’s crucial to have a plan in place in case of an emergency. One essential aspect of this plan is to provide your children with your contact information. Ensure they always have a phone number or email address to reach you or another responsible adult. It’s also important to teach your children how to use a phone or payphone in case they need to call for help.

Consider giving your children identification bracelets with your contact information on them. This will help others identify who they are and how to reach you if lost. Above all, frequently remind your children about the importance of staying together and not wandering in unfamiliar places. By taking these simple steps, you can ensure that your family stays safe and connected while traveling.

16. Special Needs in Local Languages

Traveling with children who have special needs can be challenging, but with proper planning, it can be a rewarding experience. It is essential to research the local language and learn key phrases related to your child’s needs, such as “allergy” or “medical emergency.” Consider bringing a medical history and a list of medications your child is taking in case of emergencies. Packing familiar items like toys and blankets can help your child feel more comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings. Be sure to allow plenty of rest during your travels to avoid overstimulation. With these steps, you can ensure your family has an enjoyable trip meeting everyone’s needs.

17. Have Your Kids Carry Their Bags

Encouraging your kids to carry their bags while traveling can be a great way to teach them responsibility and lighten the load for parents. Choosing suitcases or backpacks that are age-appropriate and easy for your child to carry is essential, as carrying a heavy bag can strain their back and shoulders. Packing a small bag or backpack for each child with activities and snacks is also a good idea. Make sure your child’s bag has identification tags with their name, contact information, and any important medical information. Encourage your child to pack only what they need and avoid overpacking. Having your kids carry their bags teaches them essential life skills and helps them feel more involved in the travel experience.

18. Accept That Things Will Go Wrong

No matter how much you plan, unexpected incidents are bound to happen during family travel. From missed flights to lost baggage, things can go wrong. The key to successful travel with kids is to have a flexible attitude and be prepared to adapt your plans if necessary. Instead of getting frustrated or angry when things don’t go according to plan, try to approach the situation with a sense of humor and make the most of it. Remember that traveling with kids can be challenging but also an opportunity for growth and learning for the whole family. Accepting that things may go wrong, you can approach family travel with a more relaxed and enjoyable mindset.

19. Is low-cost worth it?

When planning a family vacation, it’s important to consider the costs associated with travel. While low-cost options may seem appealing, they may not always be worth the savings when traveling with kids. Budget airlines often have strict policies regarding baggage and amenities, which can be challenging for families. Similarly, budget accommodations may not provide the same comfort or convenience as higher-end hotels. When traveling with children, it’s essential to prioritize their needs and well-being over cost savings. So before booking any travel arrangements, carefully consider the value and potential drawbacks of low-cost options for your family.


What is the best age to travel with kids?

The best age to travel with kids varies depending on personal preferences and circumstances. Some parents prefer to wait until their children are older and can remember the experience, while others prefer to travel when their children are younger and more adaptable.

Regardless of age, it is important to consider factors such as safety, health, and entertainment options when traveling with kids. Ultimately, the best age to travel with your children is the age that works best for your family’s needs and desires.

What are the TSA travel rules for kids?

TSA travel rules for kids are similar to those for adults. Children under 18 do not need to provide identification when traveling with an adult. Baby food, formula, and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities through security checkpoints.

Children under 12 can also keep their shoes on during screening. Before traveling with children, it is always a good idea to check the TSA website or contact them directly for any updated information or changes to these rules.

What do you need when traveling with kids?

When traveling with kids, it is important to be prepared. Pack plenty of snacks, toys, and entertainment to keep them occupied during the trip. Don’t forget to bring essential items like diapers, wipes, and extra clothing.

Consider bringing a stroller or carrier and car seats if necessary for younger children. Planning for emergencies or unexpected situations during your travels is also important. Being prepared will help make the trip smoother and more enjoyable for everyone involved.

What is the hardest age to travel with a child?

The hardest age to travel with a child can vary depending on the child’s personality and needs. Infants and toddlers may require more attention and care, making it challenging to travel with them. School-aged children may struggle with adjusting to new routines and environments. Teenagers may be less interested in family activities and desire more independence while traveling.

It’s important to consider your child’s temperament and needs when planning a trip and to make accommodations accordingly.

What are the best ways to travel with kids?

When traveling with kids, planning and packing plenty of snacks, toys, and activities is important to keep them entertained during travel. Booking accommodations with kid-friendly amenities like pools or play areas can make the trip more enjoyable.

Breaking up long journeys with frequent stops and opportunities for physical activity can help prevent restlessness and boredom. Additionally, involving kids in planning can help them feel excited and engaged in the trip. With careful planning and consideration, traveling with kids can be a fun and memorable experience for the whole family.

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