Summer is the perfect time to plan your family vacation — your older kids are out of school, you have vacation days saved up, and you are ready for a break from everyday life. While traveling with older kids may not be simple, it is definitely easier than traveling with toddlers.

Going on vacation with toddlers may seem like more work than it is worth, you may rather stay home and enjoy some time to yourself while your kiddos are in day care. But family vacations are important and special. They can bond a family and help create beautiful memories. Just because your toddlers may be a nightmare to travel with, doesn’t mean you need to avoid vacations until they get older, it simply means you need to create a plan to make traveling easier and keep your family prepared.

At Yellow Brick Road Early Childhood Development Center, we know how difficult children can be. They are on a schedule of their own and don’t understand that their actions affect others around them. Our day care center can help teach your children more about their actions, help them throughout their development, and give you tips to helping them as well!

Today, we are going to give you tips on how to successfully travel with your younger kiddos and how to make sure you are always prepared! If you are busy planning your summer vacation, be sure to read this blog for tips to traveling with tots!

Bring More

When you travel with toddlers, you will want to bring more than you think you need. Young kids are messy and will likely have spills on more than one piece of clothing. Packing few extra outfits for your kiddo will ensure that they never have to wear a messy outfit all day long. Bring outfits that can be mixed and matched so you can simply change the piece that was spilled on rather than the entire outfit.

If you are going on a road trip, you can pack as much as will fit in your vehicle. Don’t go crazy, but pack items that you may need or that your child may want. Being able to fit more in your car is one benefit of a road trip! But remember, you have to unpack it all.

Pack Your Bags Wisely

If you are flying, you will want to pack your carry on item wisely. This means that you will want to have things easily accessible that your children might need during the flight. You may have to repack your bag after going through security in order to get everything you need at the top of your bag, but this can help make your travels much easier. Keep snacks within reach and diapers, if your kiddos are still in them. You don’t want to have to dig through your bags to find a snack or a diaper when the time comes where they need one or the other. It is also a good idea to keep toys and other forms of entertainment in your bag.

Bring Entertainment

Whether you are flying to your destination or on a road trip, you will want to be sure you have toys and other items that will keep your child entertained as long as possible. Bring items that you know your child loves to play with and toys that can keep their interest for hours. You should also pack new toys, book, and other items that you can surprise them with. This can help keep them excited and busy on the plane or in the car! Just make sure you don’t get items that will cause them to get car sickness. One thing that can help in both plane ride and car rides is movies. Whether your vehicle has a built-in DVD player or you invest in portable DVD players, a movie can help keep your child quiet and busy for hours.

Plan Early

When you are traveling with kids, you will want to plan early. Do research on child-friendly places in the area. Your children will want to do kids activities during your vacation, so find local parks, zoos, beaches, and whatever else you can think of. If you are flying, call the airline months early and see if they can give you a row with more room or if they have any perks. Some airlines have a row that can include a bassinet if you need it. Calling ahead and asking for this row can help make your flight much easier. If you have an older toddler that will be riding on your lap, show up at the gate early and ask if the flight is all booked. If it is not, find out if they can move some people around so that you will have a seat next to you for your little one to use. This can make the flight more comfortable.

Burn Energy

Helping your children burn energy before leaving on the plane or in the car is a great way to help them relax during the journey. Have them help you load the car, using multiple trips to have them bring items out to the car to be packed. Allow them to run around and play with neighbors or siblings before getting into the car to go. Pack them a suitcase that they can pull through the airport and let them play on the moving walkway as you wait to board. Walk around with them in the airport and don’t let them just sit there and wait. The more energy they burn off before leaving, the better.

Avoid a Meltdown

There is a point before your child has a meltdown that you may realize they are about to lose it. If you notice your child fidgeting in their seat or starting to act restless, do what you can to help them calm down and avoid a meltdown. If your child is fidgeting a the back of the car, try to find a cool rest area to pull over in and let them roam around for a while. Bring a ball or some other toy you can play within rest areas that will help them run around a little and release more energy. Even playing a family game of tag can help! If you are on the plane and notice your kiddo fidgeting, feel free to take a walk up and down the aisle (as long as there is no turbulence). Just a simple walk to the bathroom even will help them from having a full-blown tantrum.

Talk About Planes

If you are flying, talk with your kiddos about planes. It can be scary riding on a plane for the first time, but you can help turn that fear into excitement. As you start planning the trip, talk to them about flying and point out planes in the sky. Buy your kiddo a toy plane that they can play with before the vacation and on the flight. Talk about your favorite part of flying (even if you really hate it) and answer any question they have. During the flight, you will want to tell them what is happening, what takeoff, turbulence, and landing feels like, and anything else. Try to keep them calm and distract them during the rough parts of the flight.

Additional Tips

Here are some last minute, quick tips:

  • Bring their security blanket, stuffed animal, or another comforting item.
  • Book a night flight so your kids can sleep on the plane without throwing off their schedule.
  • Have wet wipes handy.
  • Don’t feel bad if your toddler cries, just do what you can to take care of it.
  • Have fun!

Traveling with young children may not be as fun and exciting as you had hoped, but you can make it better by following these tips! Just remember not to stress out and enjoy your time, your kids will have more fun and be more relaxed if you are relaxed!

Hopefully, these tips from Yellow Brick Road Early Childhood Development Center can help turn your vacation into something fun and memorable! Once you get back from your vacay you can send your kiddos back to our daycare so that you can enjoy some time to yourself. Schedule a free tour of our center today!