Traveling is, of course, one of the simplest and most rewarding pleasures in life.

That is, if you’re not a kid.

Maybe you’re visiting Napa Valley. Or the Grand Canyon. Or exploring Paris. Now imagine seeing it through the eyes of a seven year old. Not so romantic or breathtaking now, is it?

And to make matters worse? The process of travelling with your kids. If you think flight delays and traffic gridlock is bad, imagine being your kid. It’s virtually insufferable. It’s bad enough that you have to be on constant alert when visiting an unfamiliar locale. Now you’ve got your own kids to add to the mix. It can wear you down. Make an otherwise pleasant getaway the stuff of temper tantrums, complaints and the inevitable cries of “are we there yet?”

And sometimes, you wouldn’t want to trade it for the world.

Tips for travelling with kids

Travelling with children can be its own adventure. But sometimes, the frustration can take its toll. If you’ve ever wanted to know how to save yourself some of the aggravation (and they have their own, as well!), here’s 10 essential tips for travelling with kids.

1. Encourage Them To Help In The Planning

Kids naturally like to feel like they’re helping, and there’s no better way to encourage their participation than helping you plan your itinerary. Make a list of both kid and adult-friendly places and have them check off the top 10 sites. By including their opinion, you’re also encouraging them to be part of the decision making process, which goes a long way in changing their opinion from “boring” to “brilliant.”

2. Give Your Kids Responsibilities

Have your kids pack their own bags. Let them be responsible for holding onto snacks, maps, travel routes (we do not suggest tickets since everyone knows how easy it is to lose them!) and other tiny but vital parts of travelling. This helps kids feel intimately connected to the journey as an active participant, not merely a bored observer.

3. Talk To Your Kids Prior To Planning A Trip

This is absolutely vital, particularly if it’s their first time travelling away from home. Let your kids know just what they’re in store for—how long the trip will be, what they can expect during the journey and what they can expect once you get there. They may be curious or hesitant or frightened or maybe even a little excited. But they should never be misled, particularly if the journey will be a lengthy one (such as an overseas flight.)

4. Travel Time Can Also Be Play Time

Think of some fun games and activities to play on your journey. Make up stories about the surroundings. Encourage them to ask questions. Or draw. Do whatever it takes to keep your kids occupied during travel and, more often than not, you’ll find they can wear themselves out in the process.

5. Don’t Forget The Teddy Bears!

Your kids will definitely need some creature comforts to help them feel secure while travelling. Make travel time seem more like a home away from home by encouraging them to bring their favorite stuffed animals, security blankets and other items to make travel seem less intimidating. They’ll even find they love sharing their new adventures with their best friends!

6. See The World Through Your Kid’s Eyes

Encouraging your kids to take pictures while travelling is not only a great way to let them share your memories, but also teaches you a lot about your kids. What do they find fascinating? Memorable? Noteworthy? A picture speaks a thousand words—and what kids express through pictures can say more about them then you might realize

7. Give Your Kids A Journal To Write In

And don’t forget your own, as well! Documenting your trip in words or even drawings is just as important as taking pictures. You’ll find that the events of the day can’t always be recorded by a photo, and a travel journal helps make those memories just as enduring.

8. Encourage Questions

Let your kids ask why this one destination is meaningful to you. Tell them about its history. The unique and cool things that can only be found there. Let it come alive for them as much as it comes alive for you. Express your enthusiasm and you’ll find that your kids will express it in return.

9. Don’t Overpack!

A common mistake many parents make is trying to bring everything with them while travelling. But this only encourages your kids to think of a vacation as a home away from home—which means they’ll never have the chance to savor new sites and new experiences. Instead, figure out how little is necessary for the both of you to bring, and remind them that travel is about trying something entirely new.

10. Relax… It’s A Vacation!

You’re here to spend time with your family to have fun, not stress and fret over every meaningless detail. Day at the beach rained out? Maybe there’s a local historical site which can be even more relaxing. Accidentally fall sick? Take the time to rest up and recharge your batteries. Travelling with your kids isn’t a bore. It’s an adventure, and it should be the start of many new and exciting memories to come.

Need more tips on travelling with kids? At Handprints Child Care, we’re always happy to help parents out with suggestions.

Email us at [email protected] or call us at (214) 484-1018 to see how we can help you, too!