Traveling with Kids: How to Make the Most of Traveling with Children

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When you are embarking on a fun vacation for kids, there are some important steps you need to take. When traveling with kids, it’s always best to prepare both mentally and medically. You want to ensure that your kids have as much fun as you, especially at the beaches, amusement parks, and other destinations you’ll be visiting.

Hiking outside of Goblin Valley

The first step to prepare your kids for traveling is to tell them of your travel plans. Teach them about the beautiful landmarks you will visit and all other attraction sites they will see. When they know more about where they will be going and what they will be visiting they’ll be more excited to walk the miles, wait in the lines, or endure the drive to see the sights.

Goblin Valley State Park with Kids

Traveling with Kids: Infants and Toddlers

Surprisingly, kids younger than 2 years of age can be the easiest to travel with. You just put them in a baby carrier, and they’re happy to come along for the ride. Older toddlers, on the other hand, can be a bit more difficult to travel with. Toddlers require a bit more preparation in order to make vacations safe and fun. Going to beaches, for instance, takes a lot of forethought. Parents must have all the essential safety gear and be mentally prepared to keep full attention on young children and toddlers.

Hiking with a toddler using an Ergo baby carrier

One of the best possible ways to prepare your kids for new travel challenges is to bring along their favorite toys and books to provide a sense safety and familiarity as they travel to new places. My own children each have a stuffed animal that they bring with them when we travel.

If your kids still nap, try to keep them on their nap schedules as much as possible. I know it isn’t always possible for your child to nap at their usual time, but when possible, consistent naps can help avoid dreaded vacation meltdowns. Making sure your napping age kiddos get their naps makes for a happier vacation for mom and dad too!

Traveling with Kids: Preschool Age

Different attractions such as the beaches can be the ideal place for preschoolers to explore. Any parent of preschoolers can tell you that kids in the 2-4 year range can go crazy (and drive you crazy) cooped up in a hotel room. It is a great idea when you are traveling to visit some of the popular parks in the area.

If your destination is a heavily traveled one, a GPS wrist tracker to keep track of kids if they get out of your sight is an invaluable safety precaution. Safety tattoos are another great safety option, particularly for traveling for toddlers and younger preschool aged children who may not be able to wear a tracker. 


Traveling with Kids: School Age

Family vacations can be a blast for kids between ages 5 and 12. Depending on your travel destination, it might be fun to involve them in experience activities like surfing lessons, snorkeling, horseback ridingrock climbing, visits to historical sites, or a night at the theater.  Preparing your kids to fully participate in their vacation can add an educational element to their trip in addition to creating lifelong memories.

Horse back riding instruction Zion Ponderosa

Traveling with Kids: Teenagers

Traveling with teens can be richly rewarding, for both you and your teens. At most vacation destinations there are numerous guides and instructors you can hire to teach your kids about new activities such as surfing and snorkeling.

One of the best ways to prepare teenagers for your family vacation is to let them make some of their own plans. You should allow your teenage kids to choose some of the tourist attractions they want to visit. Let them plan some of their own activities and work to incorporate those activities into your vacation plans.

Games at Santa Monica Pier

Teenagers may want to explore specific neighborhoods, stores, or restaurants. If you’re traveling with another family or you have multiple teenagers, they may want to break off from the family group to do some of their own activities.

While you need to ensure that even your teens are safe while traveling, a little bit of freedom will go a long way in ensuring they have a memorable and worthwhile vacation experience. If you’re out of the country, having a prepaid phone for your teen, or making sure you have international calls and text on your phone is a good way to make sure you can check in with your teens as they exercise some autonomy.

Don’t forget the medical!

Making sure your family is medically is one of the most overlooked travel preparation. If your kids have any medical needs it is important to make sure you’re prepared with the appropriate medication.

My kids have allergies, but rarely need allergy medication at home because I’ve done a lot to make sure our home is an allergy-free environment. When we travel, however, I almost always end up running to the store to pick up some Benadryl. Additionally, exposure to different strains of viruses is a very real concern. Taking some homemade elderberry syrup with you is a great way to make sure your family’s immune system are always working at top notch as you travel.

Before you leave, make sure that your insurance provider covers medical care when you are out of your country. A first aid kit with bandages, pain relievers, and such is a wise item to keep on your packing list.

Preparing yourself for traveling with kids is a great way to ensure both you and your children get the most out of your family travels. Being prepared will allow you to relax (as much as is possible with children in tow) and help the whole family make great memories to last a lifetime!


About Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom

Amy is mom to three, wife to one, and a sister and aunt to many. Her family is a former military family now settled in Lehi, Utah. Oh So Savvy Mom began as a way for Amy to share parenting and product advice with others. Just as she has evolved, Oh So Savvy Mom has evolved into a resource for Healthy Living for Families, Food, Parenting, and Family Travel.