Travel with Kids

Family vacation is a great fun and it can be learning experience for kids and parents alike. But traveling with young children can be challenging and does need extra preparation. Here are some tips that really work!

airplane-kids.jpg♦ Make a list before you pack so you don’t leave necessary things behind.
Involve preschoolers and older kids in preparation.
Guide your kids on what to bring in their hand-carry bag
Give them freedom to choose their favorite toys, games and objects.

Pack these “Must-haves” in your kid’s carry-on bag:

Water bottle
Tissues or a small hand towel
Hand sanitizer
an extra T-shirt

Take these along if you’re traveling for a long journey (car or plane)

child-airtravel.jpg Small pillow
Favorite toys, games and CDs
Finger food
Coloring books, crayons and pencils
Car games like: I spy, Simon Says
Resealable food plastic bags  - for keeping remaining snack or finger food
A garbage bag
Necessary medication for kids and adults.

Remember it’s necessary to check vaccination such as typhoid if you are traveling to another country where you doubt about unclean water supply.

Some more good advice/tips:

Spring for a plane ticket for your child. "Many families don't want to pay for a seat for their toddler, and I understand the economics," she says. "But having enough space is important -- not only for you, but for the people around you. Also, a baby is much better protected strapped into a car seat and a plane seat, rather than in the parent's lap."

Pack Mindfully - Assemble first aid supplies -- hand wipes, thermometer, aspirin or Tylenol, bandages, antibiotic cream, rubbing alcohol for bug bites, lip balm, an anti- diarrhea med, and an antacid. If motion sickness is a concern, ask your doctor about medication. There are both over-the-counter and prescription options available.

Take vitamins. Keeping up your immunity is important.  Bring lots of vitamin C, and take two grams (2,000 mg) daily a couple of days before leaving. Large doses of vitamin C have been found to decrease the duration and severity of colds. Bring the kids' multiple vitamins. Kiddy vitamins contain nutrients that help balance a child's mood.

Don't leave medicines in an open suitcase on the floor. If you have babies or toddlers, make sure all medications are secured.

Pack calming treats. "Sleep, diet, hydration are the big three when traveling. Avoid sugar, caffeine, and alcohol -- all of which trigger adrenaline rushes. Bottled water is the best choice; keep some in your bag.

kid-parent_airport.jpgwheat crackers
string cheese
hard boiled eggs

Here, our top tips for flying with kids:

More from travel tips from Parents Connect

Go Digital - This is when the magic of the iPod comes to life. Before any flight, load up your device with as many songs, movies, TV shows and games as it can handle. You may not believe in digital babysitting, but talk to us after a six-hour flight without any of these babies.

Don't Check the Car Seat - If you're flying with a lap child (under age 2) who doesn't have his own seat, it's worth it to lug your car seat all the way to the gate and check it there. If the plane isn't full, most airlines will let you bring the seat onboard.

Surprise the Kids - No matter how old they are, kids like getting new stuff. Before any plane trip, head to the dollar store and stock up on a bunch of cheap, never-before-seen treats for your kids. Whip them out at random times throughout the flight (preferably right before a meltdown). That should keep them occupied for, oh, say, four minutes.

Get Your Papers in Order - As of 2009, all travelers leaving the country (even to visit Canada) require a passport, so make sure you've got one for each of your kids if you plan to cross the border. Also, if you're traveling solo with the kids, you may need a notarized letter of permission from your partner. Check with your airline to see which documents are required. (And don't wait till the night before when it'll be too late to get them!)

Ease the Ear Pain - Changes in pressure during takeoff and landing are brutal on little ears. Nursing, bottle feeding or giving a sippy cup at these times will keep kids (and your aisle-mates) happy. For older kids, gum does the same trick.


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