How To Make Your Family Travel Run Smoothly With Toddlers

January 2, 2018

Traveling with your children can be a great family experience or a complete disaster. The key is making a plan and paying attention to both children’s and your needs. If you had traveled a lot before you had children, be prepared.

This traveling will be a completely different experience. Forget about the impulse decisions and the freedom of avoiding plans. This traveling will be unforgettable in any case. But, with a good plan, it will be unforgettable in the best possible way.

Do A Test Run Before Starting With The First Family Trip

It is the first and the most important advice. If you go on a trip with your children for the first time, you need one day test run. It can be the one-day excursion to the nearest resort or to the Zoo, for example.

You should prepare everything as if it is the real thing. After that day, you will figure out how fast you can move around and how all of you get along and interact together. Also, it will be clear which packing choices you have to make and you will have an idea about your daily routine while you are on the road.

Calculate Family Travel Budget

Contrary to the usual opinion, traveling with children does not have to be too expensive. You just need to have a reasonable plan for items such as entertainment, including water sports, which are usually expensive, and some little things like souvenirs or ice-creams. Do not forget unexpected activities either!

The best way is to have an indicative budget for each day and to avoid unnecessary costs. In this way, you will feel comfortable and stressless, and your children will be able to enjoy each day in nice activities. Do not allow yourself to remain without money for the last two or three days and to finish the pleasant trip with your dissatisfaction and child boredom.

Find The Best Way To Pack Things

I believe that you already know how much clothing you need when you travel on your own. But, traveling with children is a completely different story. Keep in mind that a good organization is a key.

From the start make a list of necessary things. After that, buy more packing cubes and pack clothes in separate bags. You need to have a bag for shoes, hygiene items, children’s toys, etc. It is the only way to know where the things are without a lot of search and annoyance.

And, please, do not forget to pack extra outfits! Children can find creative and incredible ways to destroy and dirty their clothes. Do not let washing laundry spoil your holiday.

Pack First-Aid Medicines

Find a place in the suitcase for meds and first aid kit. Nobody likes to get sick on vacation. But, when traveling with children, you have to think about it.

Your family doctor will not be around and you have to handle every health issue by yourself. So, make sure that you have essential meds like Paracetamol or Aspirin and a first-aid kit for the case of unexpected injury.

Bring Snacks With You

Snacks! When you are on the road, you can forget toys or books. If you want your children to be calm and satisfied, bring snacks. Yes, I know, snacks are not healthy. But, believe me, if you do not bring snacks, your vacation will be spoiled before you reach your destination. So, it makes sense to make an exception on that day.

Ultimately, it does not have to be something unhealthy. Take dry snacks, fruits, or biscuits. But, if you ask me, you will need sweets, trail mix, chips, and kettle corns just in case. And the case will come up, believe me. Plus, do not forget water and juices.

If You Travel By Plane

If you travel by plane, it would be wise booking a night flight whenever possible. Children will be sleepy and tired enough and, in an ideal case, they will oversleep all the way. Key tip: Carry a big scarf or a blanket for every child. Use it to block plane light or to cover them. That is that small thing that makes a difference.

Count all pieces of luggage. You always have to know how many handbags, suitcases, and backpacks you have. Also, identify the bags that each family member should take care of. Even small children have to carry something. They have to learn to be responsible and to contribute.

That is the plan. In reality, be prepared to carry all luggage by yourself while your partner collects children at the airport. If you have more than two children and all of them can walk and run, you should count them before entering the plane too.

If You Travel By Car

  1. First of all, check your car before the trip. You do not want to find yourself in the middle of nowhere with nervous toddlers and broken car.
  2. Regardless of the legal regulations in the destination you go, use car seats for your children and make them safe.
  3. Buy extra rear-view mirrors turned back on the back seat. In that way, you can keep an eye on your children without having to turn around during driving.
  4. You need accessories for entertainment too. You should provide portable CD/DVD players, and there is no worry about children’s entertainment. Listen to classical music. It will help to calm young kids down. If you prefer Rock ‘n’ roll, find your favorite song and sing loudly together.
  5. Question them with riddles, tell silly jokes, and all the knock-knock jokes you know. Let kids make up their own jokes. Even toddlers can tell jokes, which will be hilarious although they probably will not make sense at all. Make the driving fun and inspired.
  6. Buy cheap plastic digital cameras and let your children take photos of clouds, trees, animals, or everything else during the trip. When you come back home, you can make a photo album with their masterpieces.

Wherever you go and whatever happens, keep the positive attitude. No matter how long you plan this journey, be prepared that things will go wrong at one point. To be annoyed and angry is useless in any case. At some point, everything will be worked out by itself.

Treat this journey like a big adventure with ones you love the most in the whole world. It will not be easy, but whether it will be fun or a nightmare depends only on you!

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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