6 Family Travel Tips - Traveling with Small Children
Make family travel happier and less stressful.
Posted Apr 13, 2013
These tips that will help your whole family enjoy your vacation.
1. If you're flying to Europe or further a field, book a flight that departs just prior to your child's normal bedtime.
Trying to entertain a small child for hours in a cramped space isn't likely to be fun for them or you. Long flights are a lot easier if your child is asleep for most of the flight.
Follow your normal bedtime routine in-flight such as brushing your child's teeth and changing them into their pajamas.
2. If the plane isn't full, ask if you can have a row to yourselves.
As soon as you board the plane, ask a flight attendant if your family can utilize any spare rows of seats. This will give you a little extra room to spread out so your child can find a comfortable sleeping position.
If you're traveling as a couple with one or more children, a good rule of thumb is that one parent needs to be able to carry all the bags so that the other parent can focus on carrying/wrangling the children.
4. Book a short stay apartment rather than a hotel room.
Short stay apartments typically cost less than comparable hotel rooms and will allow you to have kitchen access and extra room. Having kitchen access makes it easier for you to prepare breakfasts, snacks and bottles. Having several bedrooms or at least a separate living area makes it easier for one parent to sleep if your child's sleeping schedule has become disrupted due to jet lag.
5. Travel slower.
You need to allow more time for everything when you're traveling with a child.
If you're traveling for more than a week build in some down time for your child when you do normal non-travel type activities.
For example, you may need to take some days/half days off from sightseeing. Find a local park where your child can run around and allow for some lazy mornings spent in your hotel room watching your child's favorite TV programs on your laptop.
6. Create routines, even when you're traveling.
Every parent will recognize the importance of having routines at home.
Routines will also help your child feel calmer while you're traveling. For example, read a story before bed just like you do at home.
Try to have a consistent daily schedule of sleep times, meal times, activity times, quiet time, and play/exercise time when you're traveling.
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You can read my prior articles for Psychology Today here.
photo credits: Flashpacker Family Travel Blog. Used with permission.