Traveling with children can often be a good thing

It is one of the best ways imaginable to expose them to new knowledge. The experiences and discoveries they encounter will stay with them for a lifetime. Travel with kids is also great for making lasting family memories.

However, if you are not properly prepared, you are begging for a potential nightmare that could haunt you for the rest of your life.

Children are wonderful people, but they definitely have their own special needs.

As long as the delightful little creatures are happy, everyone can have a good time.

Of course, kids are only content to look out the window and enjoy the scenery for extremely brief periods of time. Activities to help reduce boredom are absolutely essential. If you don’t plan ways to dissipate restless energy, it might be YOU screaming, “Are we there yet!”

Depending on your own child, you may have to be creative, but the old standards are still popular with most kids. This would include items like crayons, paper, activity books, and card games. Scissors, mechanical pencils, and markers may be appropriate for older children.

If you are traveling by plane, be aware of the current regulations for carry-on items. You don’t want to have banned items confiscated at the airport and be trapped at 10,000 feet with a bored child. Also, you want to have a variety of things, but don’t go overboard. Everything should fit into a small bag the child can carry themselves.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a great site for children’s air travel.

Bringing along a favorite toy or two can be calming for some. It can be well worth the investment to buy new small toys before the trip and along the way before returning. Yes, you sometimes have to bribe them to behave, but that’s just the nature of the beast (metaphorically speaking).

There are also a few handy utility items you may want to add to your checklist:

  • Band-Aids – Cuts and scrapes occur everywhere in the world.
  • Antiseptic hand gel – Travel can get dirty sometimes.
  • Small tissue packs – Snot happens.
  • Sunscreen – Scorched children are no fun at all.
  • Phone numbers – Anyone you may need to call, especially the family doctor.
  • Ziplock bags – For collecting shells, storing food, wet clothes.
  • Small plug-in nightlight – For finding the bathroom in the middle of the night.
  • Tylenol – Plenty of child & adult varieties.

In addition to the usual hats, visors, sunglasses, and folding umbrellas, you should keep a photo of all your children in your wallet. If you were to get separated from them in a crowd, you can show people who you are looking for.  Likewise, some kids carry pictures of their parents. Being low to the ground, they may need help spotting you.

Although you may want to expand their horizons, don’t expect them to be overly excited about a lot of history and culture. Kids are all about having fun and you probably should be too. Plan your itinerary carefully with them in mind. You might want to bring along another responsible adult who can take them to the zoo while you visit the Barry Manilow museum.

Ideas for Traveling with children: tips for fun travel with kids.

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