The Ultimate Guide to Traveling with Young Children
The following article was contributed by Leslie Campos of Wellparents.com
There is no reason for parents of babies and small children to avoid travel or vacation time. While planning a trip with a small child certainly has its challenges, the right prep and attitude go a very long way. Whether you’re just planning a weekend at Grandma’s or an all-out family vacation abroad, here is everything you need to know to keep your travels stress-free, budget-friendly, and relaxing for the whole family.
The Diaper Bag Basics
By now, you probably understand the importance of a good diaper bag. Your diaper travel bag doesn’t have to be too different from what you carry around on regular outings, but it is a good idea to bring extra of everything. Kindred Bravely reminds to also leave room for non-baby related essentials for yourself, like a fresh T-shirt, hand sanitizer or hair ties. You can save a lot of money on these (and on basics like diapers) by searching online for promos and coupons.
Food and Snacks
It’s great to pack healthy homemade snacks but remember that it’s okay to rely on store-bought items. Foodlets recommends packing foods that don’t need a cooler bag for shorter trips (such as PB sandwiches, tortilla cheese roll-ups, or crackers). For long-haul flights and trips, go ahead and bring that cooler bag for fresh fruit and veggies, deli meats, or homemade baked goods.
A handful of baby accessories can make your whole trip a lot easier. Some of our best travel products include the travel booster seat (for easy feeding and playing on the go), the inflatable bed rail (to keep fidgety kids safe in any bed), and the inflatable toddler travel bed.
Don’t forget your car seat if you are flying; the FAA lists this as the safest way to travel on a plane for young children. Just make sure it is approved for use in airplanes. If you are worried about the extra cost of booking a seat for your baby, ask the airline for a discounted fare.
By far the easiest way to keep kids entertained during a long trip is to lighten any restrictions on screen time. If you need to invest in new electronics to allow this (say, a child-friendly tablet), make sure to search online for tech deals.
If you don’t want irritate those around you, you may want to invest in kid-friendly headphones for those cartoons and games. There are plenty of models on the market, designed to keep volume levels safe and low and to fit comfortably around a child’s head. The Strategist’s guide to the best ones includes several budget-friendly options, starting as low as $10.
You can vastly improve your comfort during a flight by putting some thought into your seats and arrangement. The Points Guy has some great advice for picking the best seats for a family of four during a flight. In a plane with rows of three, sit one parent between two kids with the other parent across the aisle. Middle rows of four are ideal as they allow the family to spread out. Finally, opt for somewhere either at the back of the plane (for proximity to the bathrooms) or the front (for easier boarding and more legroom).
Keeping babies safe when traveling is relatively straightforward, but once they can walk on their own, things can get stressful fast. Make sure to address safety concerns ahead of time. Ways to do this include holding a pre-trip safety briefing (detailing things like what to do if you get lost), set clear rules and expectations, and preparing them for specific dangerous scenarios like coming face-to-face with an animal.
Exposing young children to things like airports, planes, trains, and long car rides can be a bit overwhelming at first. However, the good news is that the more you do this while they’re young, the quicker they will learn how to behave while traveling. Believe us: You’ll be thankful for this when they are a bit older.
You can follow Leslie Campos at Wellparents.com