Tips For Travel With Children
Looking for tips for travel with children? Whether headed out by plane, train or automobile, some of these ideas may save your sanity! Our kiddos have traveled all over the United States, including some excruciatingly long road trips, and by plane from the east coast to Colorado many times. There are some ideas we've picked up along the way that have helped us tremendously...and some experiences we can laugh about now, some of which we can share with you.
We'll have some pages on particular trips we took. The first we are posting is about our trip to Mount Rushmore. There is a
Mount Rushmore Coloring Page here.
All of our experience traveling with kids is with children under the age of 6. This means that we don't have a lot of experience with handheld computer games and the like. Most of our suggestions and tips for travel with children will relate to babies and preschool aged munchkins. Our first article, below, covers the checklist to pack, when you are traveling with the tots.
Top 5 Things to Pack When Traveling With A Tot
We have enjoyed a lot of traveling with our small kiddos. We’ve been to Arizona, Florida, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alabama, Georgia, Virginia up through every state to Maine, all over Colorado, and we even drove across country with our two and a half year old. We’ve learned some lessons over the years to say the least! The number one tip for travel with children is that flexibility and patience will get you really far, and as with everything in parenting, a sense of humor is absolutely necessary, So, with that in mind, here is your tangible list of what to make sure is packed to go on your adventure…
1. SNACKSMost of you will just nod your head knowingly when you read this, but seriously, snacks have been my lifeline on many trips. We keep a cooler in the car, along with non-perishable snacks in our diaper bag. Our snack menu carries some different items, now that we have a little guy with food sensitivities and allergies (including soy, dairy, gluten, eggs, corn and pnuts). Typically in our bag we have honey sticks, rice crackers, apples and figs. Then we’ll have some protein in our cooler, either turkey, salmon or chicken and maybe some sunbutter (sunflower seeds instead of peanuts or almonds). We almost always have an emergency fruit twist or fruit leather…this is extremely important to have accessible when you will be stuck with need for a distraction. Continuous attention and snacking has prevented meltdowns on planes a few times. I no longer expect to get time to read a book or listen to a movie on a plane. My job is now to be a baby whisperer, anticipating any small need my children may have, before they have a chance to pitch a fit, and make me crazy, along with everyone around me. I always try to plan for some quiet time to myself after this, because it’s a bit exhausting to be ‘on’ for an extended period of time…but, frankly, without the right preparation, the munchkin meltdown would wear me down more.
2. WATERMy children, thankfully, have not been very prone to meltdowns at inopportune times. Part of that, though, is that I am VERY conscious of avoiding stores and errands when I know they are thirsty, hungry or tired. None of us behave our best when we are compromised like this, so I work to keep all of our frustration to a minimum. Having said this, I have to share that my daughter had her only really bad public, and worst-ever for her, tantrum after leaving a Home Depot at 3:00 in the afternoon. She *was* tired, but even more, she was THIRSTY. Once I buckled in her screaming, writhing little 3 yr old body into her car seat (after she had scratched my chest, leaving a scar that is present TODAY), I realized that she hadn’t had any of her water for hours. I handed her the bottle, she drank half of it, and returned to her normal, sweet little self. Since then, I have rarely headed ANYWHERE without a bottle each for the children, and one for me.
3. CARRIERSWhen traveling with children under 2, strollers are great, but not always the easiest tool for transporting little bodies. We have found that carriers are an excellent for little people to get a better view, and be comfortable enough to sleep through many adventures. Obviously on a hike, a framed pack of some sort can be helpful, but we have used them to attend parades, go to festivals, or even shopping can be much easier on mom and dad. Think about how low the visual field is for a munchkin in a stroller. If you are attending a crowded event, a carrier will allow them to see more, which will make them less frustrated, as well as keep them away from dogs, burning cigarettes, and keep you from running over other’s heels with an unwieldy stroller. Our front wrap-type carrier, similar to a Moby, is something that allows us to wear our Peanut on the front or back, facing us, or facing front. Getting down the aisle of a cute store is much easier without the stroller, and hands reaching out to swipe something off a low shelf.
4. MANY, MANY DISTRACTIONSWhether traveling in the car, plane or bike buggy, we have found that fuss is indirectly proportionate to the amount of distracting toys we bring with us. Our daughter was content with a stack of books, and our little guy can last for a while with several trains…but, we always have a backup bag of some toys they haven’t seen in a while, if their cooperation is going to be a necessity. We also have several distraction ‘techniques’ as well…songs, verbal games, hand games, etc.
5. WIPES...and a few more diapers than you think you'll need...
All kinds, lots of them, everywhere. Where there are small children, there will be messes…lots of them…everywhere. We like to use cloth napkins at home, and carry them with us everywhere…in fact, we don’t even purchase paper napkins or paper towels, unless we have a large party at our home. Now, I’m going to throw in the diaper talk here too…we actually have a hilarious story of how we ran out of diapers, when we were stuck on a plan for 5 (YES that says FIVE) hours longer than anticipated, on a flight from Phoenix to Virginia, rerouted to Pittsburgh and my 18 month old daughter peed my husband’s pants. Although this makes an EXCELLENT story today, living through it wasn’t one of our shining moments. Don’t let this happen to you. Plan to have extra of whatever you really think you may need, then add a few more than that.
Here are a few family trips we've taken in the last few years:
Mount Rushmore, Keystone, South DakotaOklahoma City, Oklahoma
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Hot Springs State Park, Thermopolis, Wyoming
Grand Canyon, Arizona
...and ALL over Colorado...
NoCoTots Preferred Businesses
Tips for Hiking With Children
Northern Colorado Family Hikes
NoCo Indoor Playspaces
Fort Collins Kids Eat Free
From Tips For Travel With Children to NoCoTots Home Page
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