It doesn’t have to be a nightmare traveling with kids and you don’t have to be a pain to everyone else. With a little bit of planning, you can make travel a bit easier and lower your stress level.

Don’t forget to check out the second part of my blog coming on July 8th.

Kids Travel Tips: Younger Children

If possible, travel during naptime. Now, it’s not always going to be possible, but if you have flexibility, time your travel.

Look for family-friendly hotels. Trip Advisor, and other review websites, is great for learning a little more about a hotel. If you see a lot of college kids commenting on how they love the place, you probably aren’t going to want to stay there! Or if a lot of elderly people comment on how great it is that there aren’t any kids running around, it’s probably not the place for you! When you reserve your room ask for a crib or pull out couch as well as babysitting services if you will need any of those.

If traveling overseas, check in with your pediatrician and any advice they may have. Check the country you are going about immunizations and any safety concerns. Make sure you have copies of medical prescriptions and any doctor’s notes. Some countries are very strict about drugs and you want to make sure you can verify there’s a medical need. Have all of this information where you can easily access it as you’ll be asked questions going through customs.

Some specific tips when traveling:

By Plane: Get all seats next together when you travel as not all people are willing to move or change seats. Double-check your seating arrangements when you arrive at the airport. Don’t get upset if someone doesn’t want to change seats with you. One parent asked me to change seats on a 9-hour flight. I had the aisle and their seat was further back. The girl was about 12, old enough to sit next to two strangers. We enjoyed talking to one another and both of us benefited from meeting a new person.

Some items you’ll want in your carry on or child’s backpack: diapers, plastic bags, wipes, ointment; snacks; medicines; blankie, toys, books. Dress in layers, or have on hand, with the variation in cabin pressure.

Spend time with your children. Even if you are tired, be aware of what your children are doing and make sure they aren’t disturbing other passengers (nothing like a child kicking your seat while you are trying to sleep). I had two parents with two kids behind me on a commuter flight and I was very impressed with how they, and their children, behaved.

When you get to the hotel: check the curb for sturdiness and order extra towels to roll up and use as bumpers in the crib. Baby proof the room by covering outlets with tape. Try and get a room without a glass table.

Kids Travel Tips: Older Children

Have a creativity bag with puzzles, art supplies, and other activities. Don’t let them spend all of their time on their electronic devices. Encourage a break and have reading and other options for them to explore. If you do allow them time on electronics, consider limiting it.

Assist your child with packing, but let them pack their bag with what they want to take along—stuffed animals, in their backpack. Double-check to make sure it doesn’t weigh too much. See if your destination, the hotel has activities for children so they can meet other kids of similar ages.

What tips will you use for traveling with kids? What are your best travel tips for children? What are your best recommendations for family-friendly hotels, destinations, etc?

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