I’ve wrote a lot about my experiences traveling with my little ones. I’ve made lists of my favorite products, I’ve talked about flying with kids, and I’ve even listed some of my favorite travel destinations. All of this is super important, of course, but the most critical part of traveling with kids is preparation. This is especially important if your kids are traveling for the first time. These are some of my tips for preparing to travel with kids:
Tip 1: Talk it Out.
Leaving home can be stressful for little ones. If it’s your kid’s first time traveling, make sure to explain it to them beforehand. Some questions you might want to answer before packing up are:
- Where are we going? It’s never too early to start showing your kids a map to give them some awareness of where you’re going.
- How will we get there? Explain to your kids how you’ll travel. Will you be in the car a long time? Will you be up in the air? It might also help to give them some insight into how long the trip will be.
- What will we do there? Giving your kids some insight into what you’re doing on your trip can help ease anxiety.
- Where will we sleep? Some little ones who are especially anxious about routine or safety might want to know more about where you’ll stay at night.
- What will we bring from home? If your kids have an attachment object like a blanket or stuffed animal. Make sure you give them a heads up if they will/will not be able to travel with it.
Tip 2: It’s never too early to learn about packing!
I know it’s hard to think about now, but one day your kids will be older! When that day comes, you’ll want them to pack for themselves. Trust me, you do not want to be packing for multiple people for the rest of your life! When you’re preparing to travel with kids, you can do a couple of things to involve them in the packing process:
- Get them a special bag that they’ll be responsible for. You’ll definitely end up being responsible for it for parts of the trip, but this will help them learn the concept of keeping up with their things. Some bags I like are:
- Sit down and make a checklist before you pack. Again, this is a great time for them to learn about packing for themselves.
- What do you need before going to bed? What do you want to wear when we go there?
- Let them sit with you while you pack!
Tip 3: Make safety plans.
We never want to think about bad things happening when we’re on vacation. However, it is better to have a plan in place just in case the worst happens. Specifically for kids who are walking on their own, you’ll want to make some safety plans as a family. Some things you can discuss are:
- What to do if you get separated
- Knowing your parents’ names (and phone numbers if they’re old enough!)
- How to find a trustworthy person
We also like to buy ID bands for our kids so that they always have our contact information with them. You can find some on Amazon.
Don’t be intimidated about planning a trip with your kids! At the end of the day, it’s just parenting in a different location! Traveling is an amazing opportunity for education and bonding that your family won’t ever forget. Enjoy your travels!
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