Make your next trip stress-free with these helpful tips:
Create a trip bag. Traveling with kids means juggling things — from toys to juice boxes to your own items. It’s wise to keep the essentials — like boarding passes, IDs and reservations in a single place — their own bag, or even a pocket in your own carry-on. Rather than keeping all your travel documents and necessary medications in different bags, just designate one of them as your trip bag and keep everything in it. This way, you know where everything is, and it’s one less thing you have to remember.
Create a surprise bag. Keep a small bag filled with games, dolls, toys, and anything that can distract your kids when they get restless. This will keep them happy and make the trip more pleasant. Give them a new item when you see things start to go south, but don’t give them the whole bag at once.
Next, pack light and try to ship things ahead. Managing a lot of luggage while you’re traveling with kids is going to be tough. You can avoid by having fewer bags. Not only should you pack light, but if you’re doing a holiday trip, don’t pack your gifts. Send them ahead a few days before you leave, or just order them online and have them all delivered to your destination.
Check your bags. If you’re not a naturally light packer and packing light doesn’t work for you, here’s our advice: If you’re dealing with small children, you don’t need to deal with lots of luggage too, so check it all. Otherwise, let your older children manage their own carry-on. If your kids are five and up, they can carry their own little backpacks, or those adorable themed rollers, with their own personal things. Plus, if you involve them in the planning process, they’ll be less worried and more agreeable during the trip.
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Do use a car seat when necessary. Even when traveling with kids by plane. Depending on the airline, you may be required to buy a ticket for your infant if he or she is going to be traveling in a car seat. While you can hold your child on your lap, that’s rather risky. When you fly, the crew wants you to keep your seat belt on, even if the fasten seat belt light is off. That’s because you could hit a pocket of turbulence and be thrown out of your seat. Now imagine holding a 1-year-old on your lap; they’re not wearing a seat belt, so how safe can they actually be? It may save a little money if you held your infant on your lap, but it’s not very safe at all. Keep them in their car seat and buckled in next to you.
Plan ahead for younger children when traveling with kids. Of course, most new parents will pack more items into their diaper bag than they did their own suitcase, but try to actually plan for the journey, not every possible contingency. Make sure you pack a few diapers, a change of clothes, and enough medicine and baby food to get where you’re going. Then buy more food and diapers at your destination, or let a G2G Destination Manager stock your vacation home for you. Remember you can only bring 3.4 ounce containers of liquids and gels onto a flight, although according to the TSA, you can bring some small jars of baby food onto a flight, “within reason.” The same is true for formula, breast milk, and juice.
When traveling with kids, you just need a little extra planning. We hope these tips are helpful.