Traveling with kids can be complicated, especially if they are small. They have specific needs and it can be hard to keep everything you need to take care of in your head. Since good preparation is the key to a safe and enjoyable trip with your kids, we give you 50 tips on traveling with children.
Safety in motels/hotels
Tip 1 – Never forget a motel is not the same thing as a hotel, and slightly different steps need to be taken in order to ensure safety.
Tip 2 – If you are staying in a motel, pick an interior room. It is simply much safer.
Tip 3 – Plan your pit stops and choose them carefully. Don’t let chance decide where your kids will stay.
Tip 4 – Be sure to explain to your children what to expect and how they should behave. Don’t wait for them to make a mistake, as it can be costly.
Tip 5 – Check everything: windows, locks, the phone line, appliances… Never let the fact that these places are not designed for kids slip your mind and act accordingly.
Tip 6 – Be sure to drive around the motel when you arrive. This way you will get an idea of where the dangers are.
Tip 7 – Keep an eye on them at all times. Most motels are not the place to let the kids roam around freely.
Tip 8 – Check out if there is a swimming pool. If they disappear, it is more than likely that you will find them there.
Tip 9 – Choose a room at a lower floor. Again, motels are tailored to suit the needs of adults. It is much safer this way, especially for small children.
Tip 10 – Reserve the room upfront. This can save you a lot of hassle, especially when motels are concerned.
Tip 11 – Sharp edges could be an issue. Pick a hotel online, so you can see the rooms and the furniture before you make a reservation and bring adequate childproof products for the furniture and the TV.
Tip 12 – Be sure to inform your kids on proper fire procedures. It will take up a minute of your time and it can make a huge difference in case of an emergency.
Tip 13 – Check out the taps and show the kids how to use them if they are different from the ones at your house.
Tip 14 – Always have a first aid kit. You never know when you are going to need it.
Tip 15 – Try to find a hotel or a motel with mosquito nets. It is much safer and it will help you to relax.
Tip 16 – Take off and landing are the most critical moments. Be sure to explain to your child how it looks like and what he or she will feel. It may be a good idea to give them something to chew on.
Tip 17 – Clean the seats and any surface area. Any given seat has accommodated many people and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Tip 18 – Bring the food your child likes. This is much better than have them trying something new on the plane.
Tip 19 – Keep in mind that the kids, especially small ones, simply do not like flying. Who does? Bring their favorite toys in order to make the trip more bearable for them.
Tip 20 – Be sure to bring more diapers than you need. It is much better than to need more diapers than you brought.
Tip 21 – It may be a good idea to bring car seats with harnesses. In addition to being generally safer, the child will feel more comfortable in a seat tailored for them.
Tip 22 – Generally, it is advisable to bring everything you can to make the environment feel friendlier and more familiar to your child.
Tip 23 – Do not lie to your children as to the duration of the flight. Have them accept they will be in a plane for a certain amount of time. This way you will avoid them becoming restless when they find out the truth, which it pretty much always the case.
Tip 24 – Always reserve one seat per child, preferably close to the bathroom. It is safer as much more comfortable for the little ones, unless the flight will last for half an hour.
Tip 25 – Make sure to pack everything for your children in one bag. As those who have tried a different approach know, you will save yourself much time and trouble this way.
Tip 26 – Leave enough time to prepare. You will probably be bringing tons of stuff for the kids and it is all too easy to forget something when you’re in a hurry. That one thing you fail to bring can easily prove to make or break the flying experience for them.
Tip 27 – Position your child away from the isle, preferably between two adults. You will avoid them getting hurt while reaching and waving their arms, as kids, especially young ones, tend to do.
Tip 28 – Even if the seatbelt sign is off, never take your eyes off your child if he or she is not in their seat. You never know when turbulence might occur.
Tip 29 – Make sure you explain the entire flight including boarding. Children will be much more relaxed if they know exactly what to expect.
Safety on Train/Car/Bus Rides
Tip 30 – Always buckle up and have your children do the same. It is fairly obvious, but if you cheat on wearing a seatbelt, it will encourage them to do so when they can.
Tip 31 – Establish basic rules for traveling in accordance with your means of transportation and always tell them exactly what they can expect.
Tip 32 – Make the trip interesting for them by learning some facts about the places you will be going through. This way they will enjoy looking through the window. Or play some road trip games to pass the time.
Tip 33 – if you are traveling by a car, plan the breaks in accordance with your kids’ age, temperament and habits. Don’t force them to sit for too long.
Tip 34 – Encourage them to check out the route and to find something interesting. This will turn the trip into an enjoyable experience for them.
Tip 35 – Bear in mind that you will not be able to relax if your children are restless. Don’t sacrifice their comfort to save some money or shorten the journey, as you will invite a world of trouble this way.
Tip 36 – Keep moving. Try to minimize waiting, as that is what upsets the children the most.
Tip 37 – Check out the discounts. Many companies offer many of them for families.
Tip 38 – Kids tend to hate traveling by bus most of all. Avoid it if you can.
Tip 39 – If you are traveling by train, consider booking a sleeper car. Most kids will love it and the journey itself will be much easier.
Tip 40 – Never fail to bring a carry-on on a train ride with children. Like in the case of plain travel, this will make your life much easier.
Tip 41 – Bring the narrow stroller on the train. Wheelchair spot remains empty very often, so you can make you child more comfortable this way.
General Safety Tips
Tip 42 – Have everyone carry family information cards with full names, addresses and contact numbers, as you would leave with a babysitter.
Tip 43 – It is a good idea to place a family picture on the bag of each of your children, as well as to have a profile picture of them at hand.
Tip 44 – Put hotel cards in your kids’ strollers, pockets, bags and such.
Tip 45 – Have them memorize your contact numbers and teach them to use the 911 line.
Tip 46 – Make a detailed plan on the course of action in case you get separated. This will help the children remain calm and you will know exactly what to expect in terms of their movement.
Tip 47 – This may sound silly, but you should teach your kids to scream in case someone they don’t know grabs them. Explain to them that they shouldn’t hesitate and make sure that you have them adopt screaming as a reflex in such a case.
Tip 48 – Don’t let your kids wear anything visible with their name on it. Having a stranger address them by name can give them a false sense of security.
Tip 49 – Give the kids a preprogrammed cell phone first thing after landing if you are going abroad.
Tip 50 – Consider wearing a bright colored T-shirt in a crowd. In addition to making things easier if you get separated, the fact that they can spot you easily will help your children relax. You’re not Liberace, don’t go over the top with your clothes!
Bonus tip: Have fun!