5 Awesome Tips for Travelling with Kids & Travel Essentials Checklist [Guest Post]

July 11, 2017 No comments
5 Awesome Tips for Travelling with Kids & Travel Essentials Checklist [Guest Post]

Travel can be daunting when you have kids. Parents worry about the long hours in the plane or the car, packing everything you need, kids sleeping in new environments and the list goes on!

Both my husband and I have families who live abroad, plus we love to take shorter family vacations a few times a year, so we travel quite regularly. After nine years of parenting and being on the road or the plane with my three kids too many times to count, here are my five best tips to make your trip with kids more enjoyable.

1. Keep the Perspective

Girl looking out Airplane window

What's the objective of your trip? Is it to enjoy time together and make memories, to have educational experiences, or perhaps visit with extended family? Identify your main goals and act accordingly. It's usually impossible to do everything so setting priorities can be helpful.

2. Make Time & Space for the Kids to be Active

Children swimming in swimming pool

Giving the kids downtime to run around and relax is essential in my book. To me it's worth paying a bit extra or staying a bit farther outside of town if it means our accommodation provides a playground or a pool nearby.

3. Be Understanding of Your Kids

Father hugging daughter

When kids travel they are experiencing a new environment, new people, new routine, and maybe even time zone changes. Be gentle and understanding of their feelings and exhaustion. I like to make sure my kids have access to foods they are comfortable with, ensure they have any special toys that make them feel secure. It's a good idea to give them as much one-on-one time as possible especially during the first few days in a new place. This helps them settle in.

Filling each child's love tank in all the regular ways is important, too, but can be easy to forget when you are occupied with all the other details of the trip. When the kids are having a hard day, I usually find that focusing on understanding them and connecting with them resets the mood. Words of encouragement, lots of hugs, reading storybooks at bedtime and having downtime together go a long way.

4. Give Everyone the Opportunity to Contribute to the Daily Schedule

Child eating ice-cream

When we travel (and also on weekends) we like to do one thing per day for each family member. Usually after breakfast we simply ask the kids what they want to do that day and then try to work it into the day's schedule. A typical example for our family while travelling looks like:

10am: Visiting a museum (Mum's suggestion)

1pm: Going out for ice-cream (Oldest child's suggestion)

2pm: Going on a family walk (Dad's suggestion)

3pm: Going swimming (Third child's suggestion)

5pm: Watching a favourite show (Second child's suggestion)

It usually works out if we keep an open mind and honestly it takes the pressure of creating the "perfect day" because everyone has a say.

5. Use a Travel Checklist So You Don't Forget What You Need

Woman writing travel list

When you travel, you'll figure out what supplies you need to make a trip enjoyable. The most important thing to remember that stuff is just stuff. It may get forgotten or lost and that's fine; it can be bought or replaced. Here is my personal travel checklist for a general family trip:

Essentials

Passports and visas
Travel insurance
Credit cards
Plane tickets/travel itinerary
Keys

Clothing

T-shirts
Long sleeve shirts
Shorts
Pants
Jacket, coat, raincoat
Pyjamas
Socks
Comfortable Shoes
Dressy outfit and shoes
Swimsuit
Hat, scarf, gloves
Glasses, sunglasses
Jewellery, watch

Entertainment

Special sleep toys
Audiobooks/DVDs + headphones
Cards or small games
Paper and drawing utensils
Small toys
Bedtime books
Pillow/blanket
Snacks

Toiletries

Toothbrush
Toothpaste, floss
Deodorant
Medications (pain relief, motion sickness)
Brush
Hair ties, hairdryer, styling product
Razor
First aid kit, sewing kit
Shampoo, soap, lotion
Sunscreen

Electronics

Phone
Camera/video camera
Laptop
Batteries
Chargers
Plug converters

Extras

Towels
Umbrella
Laundry bag

For the Children

Car seat
Pram/carrier
Nappies
Wipes
Cup/bottle

If you want to print out a copy of this checklist, click here.

Chelsea Lee Smith By Chelsea Lee Smith

Chelsea Lee Smith is an author, public speaker, volunteer, and imperfect mother to three precious children. She blogs at MomentsADay.com, sharing ideas to help families connect, build character, and make a difference in their communities. Chelsea and her family are currently on a year-long trip around Australia.

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