Traveling with younger kids and tweens can be enjoyable for families with a few essential tips and tricks. Whether going on an extended vacation or a short-day trip, the suggestions below can help make the trip a pleasant one for kids, tweens, and parents, too.
Essential Travel Tips for Families with Kids and Tweens
- Planning the trip – while it is overwhelming to begin planning for a trip with kids and tweens, making a list of all to-do items will help. Checking items off the list can help eliminate the stressors that come with planning. Try not to procrastinate larger tasks. Tackle the big tasks first and give yourself a “pat-on-the-back” as you mark them off the list.
- Plan for additional travel TIME – traveling with kids always takes additional time. From restroom breaks to clean-up and hunger pangs, allowing extra travel time is necessary with kids and tweens.
- Pack all necessities, but don’t over-pack – allow for plenty of disposable wipes for ease in clean-ups, nutritional snacks, small water bottles or no-spill cups, plastic bags for clothing accidents and trash, and a change of clothes for kids in a bag that’s accessible and convenient.
- Plan for quiet, entertaining, and creative activities young kids and tweens can do on their own. Wikki Stix comes in its own travel case and will provide hours of portable fun for kids while on-the-go. Wikki Stix also has a travel kit designed especially for younger kids to carry independently. Try fun travel games that encourage kids and tweens to use their imaginations and create.
- Keep younger kids and tweens safe while traveling – kids can make their own simple Wikki Stix wrist band by twisting two or more Wikki Stix together and wrapping around their wrist. Print the wristband tags here (download child tags pdf here), write important information, laminate the tags and cut out, hole punch the top of the tag, and then attach to the wristband with an additional Wikki Stix. If kids accidentally get separated or lost, the information is crucial for locating parents. Note: even older kids can forget basic information when anxious and separated from parents. Wristbands are easy for kids to make to add an extra level of safety.
- Plan for tired kids – whether going short distances or on an extended vacation, traveling is tiring for parents and kids. Investing in a lightweight umbrella stroller will help when younger kids get too tired to walk and parents are too tired to carry them. As much as possible, try to keep bedtimes (and nap times for younger kids) similar to kids’ regular home schedules. Everyone will be less stressed with enough sleep for the day’s activities.
- Role-play expectations and potential mishaps – talk about the trip with kids and what they can expect. Be sure kids know when souvenirs or treats can be bought to avoid meltdowns at every stop. Public tantrums and meltdowns happen even with the best of preparation. Kids do better when they have opportunities to role-play and discuss various scenarios beforehand.
- Relax – even if things are forgotten or public meltdowns happen, kids will remember travel times spent with those they love the most. Travel is all about the experience of visiting new and exciting places as a family. When parents are flexible and calm, any snags in travel will just become part of the treasured memories.
For additional ideas to keep kids entertained while traveling, please visit: