Tips When Traveling With Kids

Traveling can be exciting. You’re off to new places, to see new things.

Traveling can also be exhausting.

The difference between the two comes from preparation. The more prepared you are for the process, the better you’ll come out on the other side.

And while you can justify it yourself as an adult when things go wrong, it’s much more difficult when you travel with kids. Adults can take a deep breath, snuggle into a seat and power up a movie during a two-hour weather delay. A child – especially a small child – may not take the news quite as diplomatically. Whining begins. Even a tantrum may be just around the corner.

Here in the U.S., one in four step onto a plane for business. Almost 77 percent of the population takes a plane for personal reasons. And while not every adult that flies will have a child with in tow, you’ll most likely have quite a few children on every flight you take.

What better way to encourage learning than to take your child with you to see the world?

We’re the first to admit that flying isn’t easy when you have kids along. You might not be able to prepare for everything that happens along the way, but the better you plan for the process, the easier it will be.

Tips When Traveling With Kids

How To Pack The Right Things

How you pack depends on how old your kids are. What you’ll need for a baby differs from the needs of a toddler or a tween.

Start by establishing what bags you’ll bring and how much room you’ll have for each person in your family. Different airlines have different rules for what you can bring on the plane and what you can stow underneath. Be sure to follow guidelines while you pack, so you don’t have any surprises as you check in for your flight.

For a baby or small child, be sure to bring familiar items for navigating the airport and the flight. Overpack snacks and underpack toys. Kids will become more cranky if they don’t have familiar things to eat. You can always make a game out of a simple pencil and paper. Even cups and napkins can be great fun.

Be sure to bring extra clothes, diapers, and wipes for any emergency. If you’re buckled in for safety reasons, you may have unanticipated accidents that simply can’t be avoided. Also, bring along extra one-gallon Ziploc bags to stow away wet or stinky clothes until you reach your final destination.

Do you travel on a regular basis? Even small kids can start becoming more aware travelers if you give them a chance to pack and make decisions too. Ensure you get everything you need into the bags you’ll be taking. Then give small kids a backpack or a small carry-on for them to fill with things of comfort to them while they are away.

Of course, you should look through their bags to ensure everything meets TSA requirements. Start by reading our handy travel tips page. We’ll guide you through everything you need to decide what should go into your bags and what should stay at home.

How To Get Through Security

While we’ve all navigated the security lines a time or two ourselves, it’s a completely different experience when traveling with kids. If kids dart away while you’re removing your shoes, quick movements can create friction and frustration within the TSA lines.

Start with your baggage. Pack so everything you’ll need to pull out at the security checkpoint is easy to get to and simple to remove. Leave jewelry inside your luggage. Wear slip-on shoes. Be sure baggies filled with TSA approved toiletries are just a zip away.

Also ensure your boarding pass and ID is at hand all the time.

These same tips apply to your kids. They too will have to slip off their shoes. Be sure they are just as easy to slip on and slip off so you can easily move through the line. If you have a stroller, be sure to load it up, so everything is easy to remove. Don’t leave several toys in the seat, place them in your luggage or carry-on instead. Remove jackets and extra clothing before you buckle your child in. That way upon arrival at security, it’s an easy process to lift and go.

If at all possible, everything will go through the scanner. That means diaper bags, strollers, and car seats. Clean out the stroller and car seat ahead of time to make it easier to lift, fold, and fit onto the conveyer belt.

If a toddler can walk through, encourage this as well. TSA agents are prepared for the unexpected actions of small children, but the easier the process is, the faster you’ll get through.

Be aware of what you send through security and gather it up on the opposite side. If you’re traveling with two adults, it’s often simpler to put one in charge of the kids while the other is in charge of personal items. This division of responsibilities ensures that all moves safely from one side to the other.

What If There Is So Much Baby Gear …

Yep, we get it. Living with a baby is hard work, and it takes a lot to get through a day. Remember, more isn’t necessarily better. And what you use at home isn’t always required while you’re away.

If you’re visiting friends or family, can they have some of the supplies on hand? Can they borrow high chairs or strollers from friends or neighbors? Can they have additional items, so you don’t have to bring them?

Resorts often have extra baby items for traveling families as well. Just ask.

You can even find baby rental companies in many locations, especially if it’s a popular tourist destination. Look up baby equipment rentals for your final destination and you’ll likely find exactly what you need at affordable prices.

That lightens up your load and gives you space to take only what you truly need.

Remember that Amazon and others will deliver quickly and just about anywhere if something comes up. Or, if you’re staying for an extended period, consider shipping some of your needs to your destination. Deliver diapers, wipes, and even formula, helping you stay lighter with your luggage.

You can also buy when you arrive. If you’re spending a few days on the beach, head to a second-hand or discount store to invest in a few new toys. You can usually find things at bargain prices, then donate to another family who’s just arrived.

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