Traveling with young children can be a challenge, especially on long trips in a car, airplane or train – it’s really hard for them to sit in one confined position for a long period of time. I’m going to make it easier on you with these 7 travel tips with toddlers and kids. The trick to making traveling fun and exciting for children is to keep them entertained and their tummies full.
With boredom, comes restlessness, and with hunger comes crankiness. A combination of this can mean an unpleasant trip, not only for the children, but for everyone traveling together. If you take some time to prepare before embarking upon a long traveling venture, you might have a much happier experience.
Best Travel Tips with Toddlers:
7 Ways To Keep Children Entertained When Traveling
Keeping children entertained when traveling is easy with some pre-planning. Children love to be busy seeing things and doing things, so making frequent stops if traveling by car can also be a great way to break up a long trip. Be creative and think from your child’s perspective. After all, no one knows what your child loves more than you.
Pack Travel Bags
Pack a travel bag specific to each of your children. Some important items to remember are your child’s favorite stuffed animal, blanket and toys. Nothing comforts a child more than his or her favorite blanket and stuffed animal. Just these items alone can make a big difference when traveling. We never ever travel from home without making sure my son’s puppy is in the carry-on bag.
Don’t Forget the Snacks
Include more snacks than you’ll think you’ll need and water in spill-proof containers for those in-between moments when your child may be suddenly hungry or thirsty. If you’re traveling through the airport, pack empty water bottles and fill up once you get back security. This may help in keeping your child satisfied until the next available meal time.
Once our plane was diverted to a military base while we waited out a storm. We were grounded for five hours! I had packed enough snacks to feed an army. Guess whose kids stayed relatively calm? Mine! So while you may think it’s crazy to overpack, you just never know.
Bring Along Activity Books
Purchase some portable trays, so each child has his or her own personal activity center. Children can use these trays as tables when traveling. Bring along new coloring books and other fun writing activity books that your child can draw, write and color in. Remember to also bring the colors, pens or pencils along.
The importance here is that these activity books are new. The reason for this is that your child will be more excited and entertained with something new, than drawing books that have already been marked up.
Purchase Games Designed for Traveling
To avoid the crying or nagging of dropped toys or other items, purchase games and activity centers that are designed specifically for traveling. These items will usually have pens attached by a string to an activity book and have magnetic pieces for games or puzzles.
By keeping everything within your child’s reach, and taking precautions for the unexpected, your child may have so much fun that he or she will not even realize how long you’ve been traveling. Having a variety of different engaging toys and games are even great for children to enjoy together.
Hit the Dollar Store
Load up on cheap, inexpensive diversions at your local dollar store. You can find everything from cheap toy cars to a new tiara. Keep them hidden and pull out a new goody about every half hour. It will keep them guessing and help you keep their attention on something other than how long it will take to get to your destination.
Pick up a few Disposable Cameras
Investing in a few disposable cameras can create hours of fun for children without the worry of it breaking or becoming damaged by an accidental drink spill, especially if you purchase the waterproof type. Give each child a camera and ask him or her to take pictures of items that he or she has never seen before. This makes it fun and can keep children occupied for hours.
Once you arrive at your final destination, have your child’s pictures developed so he or she can immediately see what kind of pictures were taken. Younger children especially really enjoy taking pictures, so stocking up on a few disposable cameras can be a worthwhile investment.
Bring Along Electronic Items
Both older and younger children enjoy electronic items, such as DVD players, music players and handheld gaming systems. Depending on the age of your child, a movie can easily deliver two hours of non-stop entertainment. I know DVD players have helped us through many a long airplane ride. And when we drove across country last summer, it kept the boys occupied for periods of time without asking, “Are we there yet?”
If you decide to pack along electronics, always remember to pack extra car chargers or batteries. Don’t plan on finding a free outlet at the airport — they’re often already taken.