No matter your age or your experience, traveling can be stressful. Add kids to the equation and the stress levels multiply: tickets, boarding times, passports, strollers, snacks, tablets, tantrums—you name it. There is so much to keep track of while traveling with children that it can be easy to forget to enjoy the incredible experience of traveling itself.
Whether you’re anticipating freezing in the cold winter and know you’ll want to get away, or ready for the summer months so you can comfortably explore a new city, you’re ready to book that next trip to look forward to as a family. These tips for traveling with kids could make your next family vacation seamless and memorable—for all the right reasons.
Before you even leave for your trip, you might want to set the foundation for a relaxing vacation. Here are some ideas to help minimize stress on the road.
Planning Ahead: Beyond Airfare and Hotels
When it comes to tips for traveling with children, a great idea might be to try to stay ahead of events. Inevitably, there will be unforeseen challenges along the way, but the more you plan, the fewer you might face.
Of course, it might be a good idea to schedule travel and accommodations far in advance to not only secure your reservations but also to save some money.
Beyond the essentials, you could pre-book a lot of activities, sightseeing excursions, or even meals. This might help ensure your family is experiencing a new place to the fullest and that the kids will be kept busy.
While having activities planned might be a lifesaver, it’s ok to have a little bit of downtime too. Exhausted children can be difficult to tame, so you might include some time for naps or relaxation to avoid a meltdown.
Selecting the Right Place to Stay for the Entire Family
Researching and booking the right hotel ahead of time might help you find one with fun features for the kids, like a pool or complimentary breakfast. You could also talk with the hotel staff once you get there to inquire about upgrades, cots for the kids, or extra pillows.
If you’re not interested in the hotel experience, you might consider staying in a vacation rental property, which could give your family more space and feel more like a home.
When you’re traveling with children, especially more than one, you might have a lot of stuff to manage. Why make it more complicated by packing more than you need? You could plan out the days ahead of time based on any activities or travel and anticipate what you and your kiddos might wear each day.
If it’s a long trip or you need to pack lots of layers, you could roll the clothes rather than fold them, which might free up some space for those extra outfits your little ones (and maybe you!) might need in case of spills. As for shoes, you could wear slip-ons if you’re going through airport security and save the sneakers for the suitcase.
Getting the Kids Excited
You might want to talk to your kids before the trip about where you’re going, what you’re doing, and how you’re getting there. If your child is a first-time traveler, they may feel nervous doing something so new if they don’t understand what’s going on.
Even months in advance, you could talk about this fun trip on the horizon and all the fun things you will see and do when you get there.
You’ve packed the suitcases, prepped the kids, and are on your way. Travel days can be taxing for everyone, but these suggestions might help you keep your cool.
Leaving Plenty of Time
On the big day, you might want to plan to leave early to get to the airport. Not only could this give you plenty of time to check bags and get through the security, it might also give your kids some time to explore all the interesting things at the airport and get some snacks.
If you’re traveling by train or car, there may be fewer pressures, but preparation might help you make the most of your trip.
Before you leave the house, you might want to check that you have all necessary documentation (for you and the kids) and have any essential medicines in your carry-on before you leave.
Bringing the Proper Gear
For the plane, you might take a backpack or bag that can hold everything you need. From baby wipes and hand sanitizer to chargers and snacks, all the little things could help you feel more prepared for any surprises. If your little one needs a stroller, you could consider swapping your day-to-day one out for something that might be easier to travel with.
Depending on the flight, if you or the kids plan on sleeping, you may want to bring small pillows or blankets to help them be comfortable. While new presents are fun and exciting (more on that later), you might also want to keep your child’s comfort toys or blankets nearby. They might feel more at ease if they have something familiar.
Remembering Car Seats
If you plan to rent a car at your destination, you might want to pack car seats for the trip. This may be an annoyance to travel with, especially while flying, but it might cost far less than buying a whole new set of car seats.
If you’re not renting a car, many ride services and rental car companies now have car seat options . Alternatively, if you’re staying near or with friends or family, you could ship travel car seats to your destination and ask your ride to bring them along when they pick you up from the airport.
Kids love surprises, so you could buy some new toys or coloring books to keep the kids occupied during travel time.
Beyond activities, one great tip for traveling with kids is to bring lots of snacks. If you want to maintain a healthy food regimen while traveling with little kids, great!
Fresh and dried fruits are easy to take on the road. But if all rules go out the window and its candy and snacks galore, that’s fun too. And while some parents rarely let their kids watch TV, changing that up for travel time might be one great exception. TV shows and fun games on the tablet might be a nice activity to keep kids busy on a long flight.
Enjoying Your Vacation
You’ve put in the time to plan a vacation your entire family will remember. Now you can get ready to enjoy it! But you might want to accept that things will go wrong. No amount of planning or outfit coordinating will allow you to avoid every single mishap or meltdown, and that’s okay. You could adjust the plan as needed so you and your family can still have fun on your trip.
For all those moments when you need emergency snacks, ibuprofen, or a quick meal at a restaurant, you might want to have a debit card that doesn’t tack on extra fees for using ATMs or traveling abroad.
With SoFi Money® you can save, spend, and earn all in one cash management account. And there are no account fees, plus use any ATM worldwide within the Allpoint® Network and you won’t get charged a fee. That way you can have access to your money no matter where your trip takes you.
Hopefully, these ideas for traveling with children will make your upcoming travel plans as a family easier and make the experience more enjoyable for everyone. Our big takeaways?
Planning ahead, packing smart, and having all the tools at the ready, from snacks to presents, might make your trip one for the books. And using smart financial tools, like SoFi Money, might help you save extra cash that could add up to more fun family vacations. Cheers to that.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.