Winter weather, crowded airports, traffic jams and delayed flights make travelling during the holiday season aggravating. When you add squirming kids to the mix, long car rides and catching flights are no easy feats. Whether you’re flying with the kids to a warm and sunny vacation destination or driving across time zones to visit relatives, it’s crucial to stay calm and be flexible. Here are some tips to make travelling with kids over the holidays safe, easy, and enjoyable for you and them.
- Ask for their input
If you involve your children in planning the trip, they’ll get excited and be invested in it – they may even look forward to packing! Give them small tasks to do to prepare. Older kids can look up activities at your destination online, and younger ones can pick out which books they want to bring along with them.
- Keep them informed
After involving them in the preparations, make sure your kids are aware of the final plan. This way they there are no surprises and they know exactly what to expect. If you have younger children, who may not have travelled before, prepare them for potentially scary situations, like going through airport security. This will help avoid confusion and meltdowns.
- Bring entertainment
Let your kids pack plenty of books, puzzles and games to keep them busy and distracted waiting in line or during long flights and car rides. Include some old favourites to help them settle into a new environment, and perhaps some new surprises. Tablets are also great travel companions. There are tons of apps and games for kids of all different ages, and they’re much easier to pack than a bunch of toys.
- Adjust the rules
You’re already out of your regular routine, so don’t be afraid to alter your at-home rules a little. If the kids are having a blast playing with their out-of-town cousins, let them stay up past their bedtime. It’s not the end of the world, and it will avoid creating a fight and ruining your visit. Just discuss with your kids ahead of time that you’re making some exceptions while you’re away – whether it’s to bedtime, screen time, or the sugar they are allowed – but things will go back to normal when you return home.
- Pack snacks
There’s nothing worse than travelling when you or your kids are hungry and cranky. Pack snacks and water to avoid rumbling tummies and keep energy levels up. Crackers, trail mix, and cut-up fruits and veggies are great options. These are much healthier than roadside fast food options and also cheaper than overpriced airline snacks.
- Dress appropriately
You want to make sure you’re comfortable, so prepare for the climate and layer up! It might be cool on the plane but warm once you land. You’ll also want to pack a change of clothes in a carry-on or bag that’s easily accessible in your car. This will come in handy in case of delays, lost luggage, or unexpected spills!
- Don’t overdo it
It’s the holidays and you’re on vacation, so it’s tempting to pack in as much fun as possible. But when you’re on holiday with kids, you’ll want to plan fewer activities and more downtime to rest. Having the whole family well-rested will keep the tantrums at bay. On the other hand, if you’re in the car all day, make sure to take breaks from driving and give the kids a chance to stretch their legs and release some energy. After all, you don’t want to return from your holiday feeling like you need a holiday!
- Bring the medicine along
Whether it’s from jet-lag, a change in climate, or eating different food, kids always seem to get sick on vacation. Be prepared, so it doesn’t ruin your trip. It’s always a smart idea to pack a little first-aid kit. Include Band-Aids, Gravol, and Tylenol –for children and adults. Travelling with kids can be hard on you too!