Tips for Traveling with Young Children

None of us wants to be the exhausted and embarrassed mother with an out-of-control toddler. Luckily, there is a way to travel with small children that doesn’t involve losing your sanity. It often takes a lot of preparation and a little bit of work, but you can successfully travel with your toddler. Depending on the length of your trip, there are a number of different things you can do to develop a fun culture of travel within your family.

Short-term

If you’re just headed across the state to grandma’s house, make sure that you pack plenty of juice boxes, string cheese, animal crackers, and pre-cut fruit. We all know how cranky we can get when we’re hungry, and the same is true ten times over for toddlers.

Mid-range

If you’re flying across the country for a much-anticipated trip to Disneyland, you’ll want to pack the short-term items plus a few distractors. Crayons, small toys that don’t make much noise, bright paper, puppets, and other fun items can be brought out and presented one at a time through the trip. Enhance the excitement and distraction by wrapping them before you leave and your child will be even more impressed with the contents.

Long-haul

If you’ve decided to brave international customs and fly over the ocean, you’ll want to bring both short-term and mid-range items along with a focus on safety. Many families have a basic emergency medical kit with supplies for bumps, bruises, and scrapes along the way. It is also good planning to bring basic childproofing items, such as electrical socket covers, for the hotel or living quarters.

When traveling is stressful, most passengers around you, especially fellow parents, will be easy-going. If your child does act out despite your best planning attempts, don’t forget to apologize. Simple and sincere words can go a long way. And a little bribery never hurts either!


This is the second of a series of posts offering pointers on traveling with children during summer vacation. We’ve already covered tips for traveling with a newborn and traveling with teenagers is next on the list. So, keep your eyes peeled!
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Jennifer Brown is a mama and an MD who enjoys finding fun in the chaos that comes with being a working mommy. Balancing the effort it takes to raise two adorable boys and juggle a thriving medical career, Jennifer also loves baking cookies, taking photos, reading fiction, and drinking coffee.

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