Short Answer – Does the thought of traveling with small children evoke images of trying wrestle an ornery herd of goats? Don’t stress, take a deep breath and let us help! We asked our mom crew for their best tips for traveling with kids and they were happy to share. Their number one tip? Allow plenty of time! Everything takes longer with kids in tow.

Travel with kids doesn’t have to be a hassle. Ready for a fun family vacation? With a little bit of planning and these ten smart tips for traveling with kids, you can keep your little ones happy and your sanity in check.

Top Tips For Traveling With Kids

#1 Take Plenty of Time 

The first in our series of tips for traveling with kids is to take your sweet time. You don’t want to try and adhere to a strict travel schedule. If you’re sightseeing, getting to an airport, or traveling by train/car, the best thing you can do is give yourself plenty of leeway. Toddlers especially like to explore, and they can get frustrated and overwhelmed with the pressure of a tight schedule. Be sure to allow extra time for gawking, temper tantrums and bathroom stops in your agenda, because all of these things will happen.

#2 Plan Ahead

Traveling with kids isn’t the time to be free and spontaneous like you were back in college. You want to be sure you have your hotel, transportation, tickets, and meal stops planned and reserved ahead of time to prevent melt downs on the road. Kids are not known for their patience. You don’t want to get stuck waiting for a table or in a long ticket line with a grumpy child.

#3 Family Hotel Deals

If your plans include staying in a hotel be sure to look for special deals like discounted rates or free meals for the kids. Many of the larger chain hotels offer these perks, so take advantage. Start researching vacation ideas for families, and you might be surprised at the great deals and freebies you can find.

#4 Bring Meds

Children have a way of getting sick at the worst possible moments, family vacation being one of them. Another one of our best tips for traveling with kids is to be sure to pack children’s cold medication, acetaminophen or ibuprofen, a thermometer, insect repellent, antiseptic, and band-aides. This way you’re ready for any sniffle, fever, bug bite, or cut that comes your way.

#5 Allergy Alerts

When planning travel with kids, if any of your children have serious allergies consider carrying a card that specifies what they are allergic to. Print the card in many different languages (particularly if you are traveling abroad) to avoid miscommunications with cooks and waiters.

#6 Be Ready for the Weather

Heading someplace cold? Be sure to pack hats, gloves and plenty of layers to keep kids toasty. Heading to the heat? Bring clothes made of natural fibers to avoid trapping in sweat which can cause heat rash or prickly heat. Also, don’t forget that kid’s eyes are more sensitive to glare than yours, so be sure to bring sunglasses. Consider using a neck strap to keep them on better. That’s another one of our tips for traveling with kids, attach any loose items to your child so they don’t get lost. 

#7 Child Locators

Toddlers love to move! But they aren’t always fond of leashes or other attachments that hinder their freedom. To help keep track of little ones in crowded places like airports, amusement parks, etc. consider investing in a child locator. You wear the tracking device, your child wears a small bracelet, or clip on transponder (attached to a shoe or belt). If you child gets too far out of range, or tries to remove the transponder, an alarm sounds. You can also set off the alarm if you child wanders off, and then follow the sound to lead you to them. It’s a handy gadget to have and one of our top tips for traveling with kids.

#8 Watch for Dehydration

Another thing to remember with children and travel is that kids are prone to dehydration, particularly when their regular routine gets thrown off. When out on a family trip, be sure to bring water and encourage your kids to drink. Also, check the color of their urine from time to time and if it’s dark or cloudy, insist they drink more. 

#9 Pack Wipes

These bad boys aren’t just for traveling with baby! Wipes are great multi-taskers that are useful for everything from cleaning grimy hands, to wiping down surfaces, and cleaning spills. Throw some in your travel bag…just in case. Its one of the top tips for traveling with kids we hear from moms.

#10 Get Em’ Involved!  

Get your kids excited about your destination by doing a little pre-work. You can have them look at maps, pictures of where you’re going, or pics of the airplane, boat, or train you’ll be riding in. You can even read them a story that takes place in the area you are visiting. Anything to get them amped up about the trip.

One of our favorite vacation ideas is to give your child their own (kid-proof) camera so he or she can take pictures of the things that catch their eye. This really keeps them engaged while you travel. 

Travel Tools

Want some more family travel tips? Here’s some cool tools to help you keep track of the kiddos when you’re out and about.

Do your family travel plans include air travel? Check out these Helpful Tips For Flying With Kids.

Traveling with kids doesn’t need to be a hassle. Plan ahead, take plenty of time, pack smart, and get your kids involved. Follow our tips for traveling with kids and your journey will be a breeze. You’re on your way to your best family vacation ever!

What are your top tips for traveling with kids? Share them in our Parenting Community!