Family vacations can be a great source of quality time with your loved ones, whether a road trip or a getaway across the continent. It’s the perfect time to step away from work and school to enjoy special moments with your children. The only issue is that travelling with younger children can involve a lot more preparation.
As parents, you want to ensure that your little ones enjoy themselves while still being safe. Here are five travel tips to consider when planning your next family vacation.
1. Leave earlier than needed.
When travelling with adults, you have the option to develop and follow an itinerary. With toddlers, however, you may have to be more flexible with time. This is why it’s always wise to allocate extra time for your plans.
If you’re travelling on a plane, it’s a good idea to let your little one walk around and expend energy before boarding the flight. This way, they can hopefully nap once you board the plane. Showing up at the airport early also gives you plenty of time to find your way to your flight without added stress.
On the other hand, road trips will likely require stops for bathroom or play breaks. If your child is awake, you can let them out every few hours to take a walk and explore the area. You may also need to stop unexpectedly to tackle messes, spills, or meltdowns.
2. Always pack extras.
We’re all familiar with essential travel items like snacks, sanitary items, and clothing. However, when travelling, it’s even more crucial that you keep a substantial supply. Here are some items that you’ll want to consider bringing an extra supply of:
- Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes
- Hand wipes
- Simple snacks
- Water and other drinks
- First aid/safety items (band-aids, alcohol wipes, emergency medication)
3. Bring entertainment and a comfort item.
One of the most challenging aspects of travelling with young ones is the travel time required to reach your vacation spot. This is where bringing entertainment comes in handy. Consider bringing along small toys, colouring books, or an iPad. You can also preload videos, TV shows, or movies on your device for long-term entertainment.
A comfort item can also make a big difference in easing into the trip. It can be a great way to help your toddler manage the unfamiliarity of travelling. This item can be a stuffed animal, a blanket, a toy, or any other item that your child holds near and dear.
4. Stay near parks, pools, and playgrounds.
Once you arrive at your destination, it can be challenging to keep your little one entertained. Especially if you’re spending a lot of downtime at your hotel or Airbnb, try to stay at a place with accessible outdoor areas. Parks, playgrounds, and beaches are all great areas to keep an eye out for.
If you’re staying at a hotel, finding a place with a pool or play area can make all the difference. This is a great way to keep your child busy and active when you’d be otherwise stuck inside your hotel room.
5. Maintain their routine.
Going on vacation means being in a new place, which could indicate a different schedule for your toddler. When possible, try to maintain a routine similar to their regular one. For instance, travelling early in the morning hopefully means your child can get some rest on the plane or in your car.
Further, you can ensure that your child gets their nap at the same time as they usually do. Maintaining a similar sleeping, playing, and eating schedule can help your little one feel more comfortable while away from home.
Although travelling with toddlers can seem daunting, try not to let this worry prevent you from enjoying your family vacation. Make sure you research your travel destination and plan accordingly (to the best of your ability). You’ll all have a great time!
Written by: Alicia Chow
Check our other blog: 3 Common Toddler Sleep Problems (and How to Fix Them!)