Tips for Traveling with Kids
Traveling with kids– even just reading the phrase can make experienced parents shudder. Here are a few tips to help on your next trip. When it comes to traveling with children, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Crayons will end up melted in the car seat, snacks will be crushed, and feelings will be hurt. Even if you make a list and check it twice, the odds are that you will forget something — and it will probably end up being one of the most important things. Luckily, even if there might not be a magical secret to making traveling with children stress-free, there are a number of things you can do to improve your overall trip and make it easier and more fun for the whole family.
Choose Your Start Time Wisely
There are two fields of thought about when the best time to travel with your children is. One group of parents believe that traveling at night is the best way to go. After all, your children should be sleeping, and you’ll be able to log many a mile before they make a peep. You won’t have to worry about meals or potty breaks or screaming matches. However, another group of parents suggests traveling early in the morning instead. Everyone should be well rested and ready to go. Plus, you’ll have the whole day ahead and you can take breaks as necessary.
Still, both fields of thought have their downsides. While traveling at night might seem like a great idea, what are you going to do if the kids don’t go back to sleep? You could end up with a car full of screaming kids at 2 am. Early morning travel might seem like the way to go. But what if everyone has the nervous butterflies the night before and doesn’t sleep well? Then you’re stuck with grumpy children all day. What start time works best for your family depends on your family.
Take Plenty of Food
The last thing you need is for your children to be hungry while you’re traveling. You might think that there will be plenty of gas stations on the route for snacks on the way, but the second you enter “no man’s land” without a gas station in sight, your children will suddenly become hungry and demand food right then and there. So, plan ahead and bring way more food than you think you should. Make sure the food is well-balanced too. You don’t want to give your children a sugar rush when they have three more hours of sitting in the car.
You might even want to plan for a meal in the car, especially if your children are terribly picky and probably wouldn’t eat much at a restaurant anyway. Peanut butter and jelly, hummus, wraps, sandwiches, and protein boxes (like these from Number 2 Pencil) make great healthy options for meals-on-the-go. Remember, protein is essential for keeping children full while they’re on a road trip, so be sure to include lots of protein in your meals and snacks.
If you’re going to be in the car all day, the odds are that the temperature is going to change quite a bit, especially if you are traveling to the north or south. While it might be colder in the morning, it might very well be blisteringly hot by the time you stop for lunch. This can make choosing appropriate clothing difficult. You can’t dress your children in cool clothes because the morning might be chilly, but you can’t dress them in warm clothes either. Instead, opt to dress them in plenty of layers so that you can shed and put them back on as necessary. This also allows each child to control their temperature so they aren’t fighting over the car’s AC controls. Does your trip require a flight? tips on flying check this page.
Traveling with children can be stressful. While these tips might not make your journey 100 percent stress-free, they hopefully provided you with enough information to make your trip at least a little bit less stressful.
Photo Credit: Pexels