Travel can be an enlightening and eye-opening experience for children of all ages: there’s new foods, experiences and sights, not to mention quality family time. But traveling with children can also be an overwhelming proposition — unpredictable schedules, long packing lists and cranky kids are just a few of the challenges you may encounter along the way. But here we’ll help you make traveling with kids a breeze. After all, you and your children should enjoy every moment seeing the world and create a lifetime of memories along the way. Isn’t that the point of travel in the first place?
The specific strategies you can use to help children have a good time on the road depends on how old they are: A baby has very different needs than a toddler or tween. But however old your child is, be sure to do some pre-trip research on kid-friendly activities in your destination that you and your family can take advantage of. A little preparation will go a long way. For starters, you will need to get the family insured when going on a trip abroad.
Children in the newborn to age 2 range are the easiest to travel with in many respects, according to Rainer Jenss, the president and founder of the Family Travel Association, a trade group for family travel. “Kids this age are portable,” he said. “You can take them anywhere and keep them happy as long as you create a comfortable environment for them and keep them on their routine.”
Amanda Norcross, the features editor of the online travel magazine Family Vacation Critic, agrees that schedules are incredibly important for infants. “If your infant is on an eating or sleep schedule, try to stay as close to that as possible on vacation and plan your days accordingly,” she said.
Be sure to bring along your infant’s favorite toys, books and bottles while on your adventures, and don’t keep him or her strapped in a baby carrier or stroller all day — give your baby the opportunity to walk and get some exercise; if your infant isn’t walking yet, he or she can still stretch on a mat or roll around.