Traveling with infants and young children can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be!
With the right preparation and mindset, you can make traveling with your little ones an enjoyable and stress-free experience. Whether you’re taking a road trip or flying across the country, these travel tips and tricks for infants and young children will help make your journey smoother and more comfortable for everyone involved. From packing essentials to keeping your child entertained, read on for helpful advice on how to navigate travel with young children.
9 Tips for Successful Travel With Kids From Sleep to Packing
1. Create a similar sleep environment where you are staying. If you use black out curtains at home, use them while traveling, bring your sound machine, familiar bedding, and there favorite stuffy.
2. Stick to your same bedtime and nap routine. Now is not the time to change up their routines. Little one’s (and adults!) need rituals to help prepare their body for sleep. When you end up skipping a step or two in your bedtime routine to cut down on time, often your little one will take longer to fall asleep.
3. Plan on making up for lost sleep if a nap was skipped or a late bedtime happened. This would look like planning an “at home” nap rather than an “on the go nap” or an early bedtime if a nap was skipped that day. If loss sleep is not made up, your child will wake more frequently at night and not be the happiest one to be around.
4. Do not start new sleep habits that you do not wish to continue when you get home. This most often is in the form of co-sleeping. If your child sleeps independently at home and then you co-sleep with them during travel, odds are they are going to expect to co-sleep when you get home.
5. Call ahead to your place you are staying and ask about what sort of amenities they provide for infants and toddlers. Many places already have a pack-n-play or inflateable toddler bed available for guests. Also, inquire about black out curtains. This may sound extreme but I will travel with portable black-out curtains if I know ahead of time that the windows do not have them. Sleepout makes portable black out curtains for just this and they are great! (Check out Sleepout’s black curtain options and use code NEWLEAF for a discount!)
6. Time your travel departures to coincide with naptimes, if possible. If you are traveling by car, try to time your departure for when your child is due to have a nap. This will help your little one to still take a nap, while allowing you some peace and quiet amongst all the bustle that usually comes with travel.
7. Avoid taking a red eye flight if possible. In theory, this sounds like a good idea but in reality your child will have a restless nights sleep and everyone will be more exhausted than if you were to take a daytime flight. Additionally, my favorite seat on the plane is the aisle seat, especially when traveling with children. While the idea of the window seat seems like a good idea to be able to only have one person next to you and also the ability to look out the window but the amount of times you will be getting up to walk down the aisle or to go to the lavatory will have you wishing you were on the aisle. Not only that but you will likely need to access the overhead storage bin frequently throughout the flight, so having easy access is always a plus.
8. Pack a travel “fun bag” for your kids that includes familiar snacks, a few small new toys (Dollar Store is great for this) and a familiar comfort item ie: stuffy, favorite blanket, etc… The trick with the “fun bag” is not to give your child everything at once but to space them out throughout the travel portion of the trip to keep your child excited about the “new” toys and snack choices.
9. When traveling by car, plan to have a few pit stops that may include a park or somewhere for the kids to get out and stretch their legs. I recommend mapping out your route ahead of time and finding a park or two along the way. Traveling with kids is never a “drive straight through” type of drive. So, make it a little more fun for you kids and plan a few pit stops along with way.
There is no doubt that traveling with kids is a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. With a little planning, preparation, and patience, you can make travel with your little ones enjoyable and stress-free. Remember to pack wisely, plan ahead, and keep your child entertained and comfortable during the journey. These travel tips and tricks for infants to young kids should help you navigate your next adventure with ease. Happy travels!