Traveling, and the planning that comes along with it, can be very stressful. When you add traveling with kids into the equation, stress levels can multiply—but they don’t have to. Check out our five tips on how you can travel with your children without driving yourself crazy.
1. Plan Ahead
This may seem like a no-brainer, but planning ahead when traveling with children is imperative. Spontaneity is cool when traveling with friends, but children will need a little more structure. Making a schedule that is not too rigid and having backup activities just in case an event falls through should keep your little one happily occupied. Also plan on having lots of downtime on the plane and in the airport. Quiet games, coloring books, and child-safe phone apps are all good ways to keep them entertained while passing time.
2. Check Passports and Visas
Make sure passports aren’t set to expire within three months and check the entry requirements if you are planning on traveling to another country. Some places ask to see birth certificates and if you are the only parent traveling, many places want you to provide consent from the other parent for the children to travel. If you are traveling with adopted children, you may need to show their adoption papers. The last thing you want is to have to cancel your already paid for vacation because of lack of documentation, so research the guidelines before you book your flights.
3. Pack Light
Your 50-piece makeup kit from Sephora would probably take up valuable suitcase space. Leave it at home and use the space to pack your children’s favorite toys or anything that could save them from having a meltdown mid-flight. Remember: Traveling with your children is about having the best experience and not about how many outfit changes you can make while in Paris (unless your child is mini-fashionista a la North West).
4. Consider Using Public Transportation
Believe it or not, children love the experience of traveling on public transportation. Instead of renting an expensive car, consider taking the bus, train, trolley, or any other method the locals use. Not only will it save you money, but everyone will have an authentic experience.
5. Schedule Some “You” Time
Introducing your children to new cultures is a wonderful yet draining experience. Be sure to schedule in some activities that would make you happy. Your children’s happiness is dependent upon your own.