As the world continues to open back up and the weather continues to be warm, more and more families are venturing out on vacation.
In our own home, we have been traveling to area state parks and getting out into nature as much as possible.
Traveling to new places is a wonderful way to explore the world, make memories, and recharge! But if you’re traveling with children it can feel like you’re traveling with a ticking time bomb.
The key to making sure the whole family enjoys a vacation is to recognize small children often have limitations that often clash with long travel.
Children are full of energy and don’t pair well with tiny spaces where they are meant to be still for any long period of time.
But hope isn’t all lost, there are things you can do to help traveling with children go more smoothly.
Related: How to Plan an Organized Vacation, with free printable
9 Tips for Traveling with Children
1. Pack a backpack for each child
Children love when they get to feel like a grown-up. And while mom and dad are busy packing bags for vacation, they will feel special if they have a bag of goodies that are all their own.
Use this backpack as storage for toys, books, crayons, and snacks. Include all sorts of goodies to help keep them occupied during travel.
2. Purchase snacks that will excite them
Think of those snacks your kiddos love but they don’t get very often. When it comes to traveling, do what works! And snacks work!
Grab your children’s favorite snacks and put them in their bookbag.
Make it special and add a few new or “special” snacks (ie: things they don’t get very often) to their pack.
3. Pack a craft kit for travel
Keeping kids entertained is the battle of travel. If a child can find some way to fill the travel time, they are much happier travel companions.
One of my children’s favorite activities is anything craft related. Pack a small kit of crayons, markers, colored pencils, a new coloring book, stickers, and paper and let them create artwork while you travel.
4. Check with your library
In our town, our libraries offer “vacation kits”. What this means is we let them know at least one week before vacation, what sorts of books our kiddos are interested in. They will then compile a bag full of books for our kids to look at and read while we travel.
Related: 100 Children’s Book Themes
If your library does not provide this service, no worries. Take some time to check out a few books to bring along for the journey.
You can also bring books from your own collection or purchase a new book for the road.
5. Pack Toys
This probably seems like a no-brainer but make sure you pack toys for your little ones.
Not only are they going to be important for keeping them entertained during travel, but they will also be important for when you are actually on vacation.
I personally like to pack a variety of toys from larger cars and baby dolls to smaller playsets like a small box of legos or a few pieces of dollhouse furniture and dolls.
Additional Tip: Take a picture of everything you pack for your children’s entertainment. This way you will know you have everything when you leave.
6. New, exciting toys
I will be the first to admit I am not a fan of toy clutter, but when it comes to traveling sometimes exceptions can be made.
Consider buying a new, exciting toy for your little ones to keep them entertained for the journey.
7. Dry-erase books
Kids love dry-erase boards! And thankfully they are easy to clean and easy to store.
Pack a zipper bag with a few markers, a cloth, and a board and your kids will be set!
If you are worried about the possibility of a mess, consider this awesome Crayola crayon dry erase board. Ellery has this and LOVES it!
8. A Snuggly Blanket or Stuffed Friend
The best outcome for travel usually involves our kiddos sleeping at some point. Encourage this by bringing along their favorite blanket or stuffed animal.
Having these things will also help with sleeping at night in a new place.
9. Plan for Stops to Stretch Your Legs
In the best of times, children would sleep and travel would happen without stops. BUT this is not usually the case.
Because children have tiny bladders and busy legs, it is best to plan for a stop every so often.
Accepting and planning for stops will help to keep the mood light and fun throughout the trip.
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