Living Lavishlee

Parent-Tested Tips on Traveling with Young Children

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If you’ve been here a while, you know my family and I love traveling. Exploring other places and experiencing new things with our two girls bring my husband and me immense joy. We also do a lot of traveling with our extended families, including nephews and nieces. And the one question I always encounter when sharing our adventures is how to travel with young children.

I get it. Traveling with kids can present its fair share of challenges. Is it hard? Yes (at times). Is it worth it? Yes, every time. Over the years, I learned a few tips and tricks to make traveling with young children as stress-free as possible. Let me share my tried-and-tested methods:

Choose the Right Destination

If your kids are toddlers, you can go to theme parks. Disney magic is for all, but it is heaven for young children with wide-eyed wonder and boundless energy. Water parks with kiddie pools and beach destinations are also top-notch choices.

There are places for couples and adults, and then there are family-friendly destinations. Choose a destination that caters to your kids for a fun and memorable trip. It’s a strategic move to keep everyone entertained and maintain your sanity. When traveling for leisure, involve the kids in decision-making by asking where they want to go. Usually, their suggestions are kid-friendly, allowing you to pick a more age-appropriate option.

Your destination choice also ties up with how you’ll get there. If you’re flying with young kids, choose a direct flight and a “realistic” time to avoid any meltdown because layovers, even short ones, can be tiring for the little ones. If you plan on a road trip, make sure to have stopovers where they can let loose.

Pick Their Travel Toys Wisely

Large toys mean extra baggage, and small ones, if there are too many, create the same problem. Look for a toy that is easy to transport and clean and, most importantly, can entertain your kids for an extended period.

Go beyond stuffed animals. I know it’s like a travel rite of passage, but other toys are equally valuable. Our choice is sensory toys. My daughters love them because they engage all their senses—sight, touch, sound, and sometimes even smell. I love them because they keep my daughters entertained.

Numerous sensory toys cater to various age groups. My kids have their favorites, which include Melissa and Doug’s take-along shape sorter, these cute and colorful suction cup spinners, this adorable buckle toy learning activity, and this Montessori cube busy board travel toy.

Buying the sensory toy a few days before your big adventure is a neat trick. That way, it’s still “new” and exciting to play with but also “old” that they’re comfortable with it. Remember, the toy you bring is as much for comfort as it is for entertainment.

Let Them Be Independent

This is hard for some parents because of safety concerns, but let your kids do stuff. It gives them a sense of responsibility and eases the journey for you. A simple act like letting them carry a bag makes a huge difference. Children as young as three years can pull their kiddie-size luggage. You can choose a versatile one or a lightweight one; both have built-in seats.

If traveling with multiple kids, give them assignments like the “snack master,” distributing snacks while waiting. During the plane or car ride, let them choose their entertainment from the available options. Even small tasks like putting away headphones or clearing their table help them stay focused and engaged. Just make sure to offer gentle guidance when needed.

Pack Smart

Efficient packing lowers my stress level. There’s nothing like an organized suitcase, especially when traveling with kids of varying ages. Packing is a big task, so start with a checklist for each kid, tailoring it to their needs. And then prioritize.

These are young kids, so some may still need diapers and milk, which you cannot compromise. If you have to bring a nappy bag, ensure you have everything in it. Consider possible delays, so pack a change of clothes and spares. And make sure to bring healthy snacks—not the sugary kind.

For luggage, try to bring one for each child so their clothes and things are organized. Clothes-wise, choose versatile, staple items like t-shirts and leggings. But always bring a sweater for comfort and temperature changes. Use packing cubes and fill them with the kid’s OOTD to save time.

And don’t forget to pack a small first aid kit.

Book Family-friendly Accommodation

Wherever you choose to stay is a game-changer, so do your research. Look for accommodations with amenities geared toward children, like a crib, play area, or childproofed rooms. If you sleep with the kids, look for spacious rooms so everyone’s comfortable. Explore the meal options, too. Does the hotel have kiddie meals, or are there family-friendly restaurants nearby? Check the place’s proximity to essential services like a hospital, a pharmacy, and a grocery store.

Before booking, note that you’ll have small children with you. If you have preferences, communicate with the hotel first to see if your needs can be accommodated. Read online reviews from families who’ve stayed in the place. Their insights are valuable information on the overall suitability of the place for your little ones.

Keep Your Composure

Traveling with young kids, especially if you’re alone, is exhausting. There’s no sugarcoating that. It will test your patience to its absolute limit, not because children are rowdy or whatnot, but because so many unexpected things can happen. So, breathe.

Always remember that traveling can be overwhelming for young people. So, be patient with them. Communicate and anticipate their needs. During take-off and landing, breastfeeding or bottle feeding, which involves sucking and swallowing, can relieve ear discomfort. Rapid altitude changes create pressure differences that can stretch the eardrum, causing pain, especially for young children with smaller Eustachian tubes. Sucking and swallowing during feeding open these tubes, allowing air to flow and equalize pressure, similar to popping your ears underwater.

Also, extend your composure to others. There’s really nothing you can do to assuage a fellow passenger who dislikes flying with children. Just don’t engage; focus on your kids instead.

Book Now and Enjoy

One moment, they’re toddlers; the next, they’re adults. Time moves so fast that not traveling with your kids because it’s “inconvenient” is a wasted opportunity. Don’t miss out on seeing the world through their eyes. You will learn a thing or two from them. So, book that flight or plan that road trip. Years from now, you’ll all laugh at those inconveniences but remember fondly the times you spent together.

For more of our adventures and tips of Living LavishLee, you can find us here.