General Children Traveling Tips

Spring is coming and so is spring break. Summer is also coming, which means summer vacation. As you make  your travel plans, I will be updating you with travel tips. This is only part 1 of the series, general traveling tips for children. In the coming weeks, I will have specific tips for road trips, flying domestically and flying internationally. Safe traveling!

No-mess snacks.

Kids are kids and they will find a way to make a mess with whatever you give them. It brings them a sense of accomplishment. So think of snacks that will minimize their success for a mess. Think bite-size. Also think non-powdery seasoned snacks. And the non-sticky stuff. When it comes to drinks, think less spills. My friend, Kelly, introduced me to reusable spill proof water bottle tops. This also cuts out the less healthy stuff, too. Try 100 calories cookies and cracker packages. Reusable water bottles. Fruit strips. Dehydrated or dried fruits. Beef jerky or other meats. Individually packaged fruit snacks. Raisins or Craisins. Store bought prepackaged apple slices. Caramel pretzels you can make quick and easy.

Each child gets a backpack.

He can fill the bag with whatever they would like to take on the trip to keep him busy. This is to be filled with stuff other than clothes and toiletries. His favorite toys, blankie, pillow, a special snack just for him, iPod, games, stuffed animal, coloring books or a camera.

Surprise them with something new.

Before the trip, purchase something that will keep the kids occupied during the travel. Don’t tell them about it until you are well on your way. Or you might even want to save it for when they get restless. A new movie to watch on the portable DVD player. A new toy. A new CD. A new book. When we traveled to Taiwan with Kaye, I got her a travel size My Little Pony set. It not only helped on the 24-hour plane ride, it also helped when we were in Taiwan as she missed playing with American toys.

Something familiar too.

As I just mentioned, children may miss home when they are traveling. So it is helpful to bring something from home, especially if they have a favorite doll or toy. It can bring them comfort and safety. Probably help them to sleep at night too. Both my girls have a blanket they can’t sleep without. And Kaye, for the longest time had a Baby Bop doll that she couldn’t loved dearly. That doll came with us on many trips (see picture below).

Think compact, travel size.

Pack light. It doesn’t matter how long you will be gone. If your travel is more than a week, you can always purchase most necessities while you are there. Yes, there are some things you can’t get elsewhere, mostly for if you are traveling internationally. See if you can do without or get a in a reusable version (filter water bottles, snack bags). This seems to be the hardest thing to do when you are traveling with kids. You have your stuff and they have theirs. See where things can be condensed. And visit the travel section in your local superstore. They have improved on a lot of traveling items, even for kids. I can probably dedicate a whole post about how to pack sensibly and light.

Get a good multipurpose bag for you.

You’re the mom and chances are you’ll be carrying a lot of the miscellaneous stuff for everyone. Whether you use a diaper bag, backpack or purse, get a good one with lots of pockets inside and out. Make sure you keep one plastic grocery bag in there for emergencies (collecting trash, tie up a stinky diaper, waterproofing something and even to catch throw up when someone gets sick).

Don’t forget medications.

Make sure you pack the emergency essentials with over-counter medication, such as non-asprin pain medication. Throw in a few Band-Aids and ointments. If your baby is teething, don’t forget gum numbing medications. If you tend to get heartburn or a headache, pack for those. However, you don’t need to take your whole medicine cabinet. Over-counter medications also come in travel size. It might be a good idea to keep a small first aid kit in your car, too.

Prescription medication is a little different. I used to work as a pharmacy technician. So here’s my tip: Make sure you have enough of that to last the whole trip. If you need to, you can get a travel/vacation override from your insurance company to get enough of certain prescriptions early to last your entire trip. Talk to your pharmacist and doctor about it.

» Tell me… What is your travel advice for traveling with children?

18 Responses to “General Children Traveling Tips”

    • Lisa

      AGREED! Road trips were made for unlimited DVDs and games. It’s the only time my kids get to watch movies in the car. And since it’s “new” it holds their interest.

  • Jenny

    I have young ones, so in my misc. mommy bag I always have an extra pair of clothes for me. (I travel comfortably so yoga pants or a light shirt aren’t hard to roll up and stuff in her diaper bag) I’ve used the extra sweats on the way to our destination and the shirt on the way back home. We were flying, so we didn’t have our suitcases. If it was a shorter trip, I would have tried to do a carry on bag (if possible).

    • Tiffany

      i have extra clothes in my diaper bag too. you never know when an “accident” will happen.

  • Nicole Robinson

    This will be a great series! We’ll be flying with two for the first time in July, and I’m sure it will be crazy.
    I’d suggest the little plastic bag dispensers you can find at Target or Babies R Us. They take up very little room, and hold a roll of bags you can use for emergencies. Also when flying, put everyone in simple shoes without laces. Complicated shoes can really slow you down at the security gate, especially if you have a loose toddler who likes to run when your hands are busy with something else.

  • Lisa

    MORE PLEASE! We’re leaving for Disney World in just under two weeks and looking at everything we will need 1. for the 12 hour drive and 2. for days in the park is blowing my mind (and I’m an organized mommy).

    I’m taking the backpack idea – one step further – kids can take any toys they can fit in it with them for the car ride. We have special car toys (and prepurchases locally Disney presents for when we get there) this will cut the add’l toys they want to bring to just the faves (esp. since they only have toddler size backpacks).

    Also I can’t recommend toddler nalagene bottles enough for these types of trips. Refillable, no-spill and they withstand all kinds of torture. And my no-spill camelback bottle.

    • Tiffany

      oh yay! i’m glad that these tips will be helpful to you. next week i will be posting about road trips in specific.

  • Aiming4Simple

    We do the backpack for each child idea too! Thanks for these ideas, Tiffany. There have been some fairly unfortunate moments in our family travels. Some our mishaps have included lost shoes and more recently, forgetting the suitcase with all the kids’ clothes! So I wrote up a list of 8 lessons we’ve learned.

    I also have enjoyed the travel tips from Beth at her Kids Go Global website.

    Here are the links:


  • Jade @ No Longer25

    This is really interesting to read, although we don’t have kids, we have booked a holiday with our friend in Spain this summer, they are taking their little girl who will be almost 2. I’m trying to make sure we are all prepared for this before hand as it’s going to be quite a change to our usual holiday.

  • Cyndi Bird

    Travel tips~
    Durning long car rides, stop every 2 hours for about 10-15 minutes at a rest stop if you can. Feed infants & let children use the bathroom, stretch and run around. We used to have them run races-they loved it!
    Part way through the day on one of the ‘running stops’, we would rotate where everyone sat-including me. I would sit in the back seat-which the children loved (and was actually very fun) and an older child loved getting to sit in the front with dad. They will be such happier ‘travelers’ if you can do this. These few things are good for everyone’s general circulation and attitude! It may take a bit longer to get where you are going, but it is worth it! 🙂

    We also played ‘road games’ where we would watch for certain things along the way. The Alphabet sign game was a favorite-find a sign with an ‘A’, then a ‘B’ and so on through ‘Z’. Singing favorite songs or reading a book to everyone was also a great way to pass time. Watching a movie or two-when we finally had that technology-was a life savor on especially long trips! 🙂

  • Jana

    Hello, I am a new follower to your blog. These are some very handy tips. We will be taking our first “huge” road trip with our son, and he’s only 21 months old. Thanks for the advice.

    • Tiffany

      i’m glad this is going to be helpful to you. I have more coming up focusing on road trips, flying domestically and flying internationally. so hopefully that will be helpful too!

  • Jeanine

    Everyone these days has a dvd player to travel with… but my friend came up with a great idea. Stop at a redbox and get a new movie for the kids to enjoy. Just drop it off the next time you drive past another redbox!

  • Cindi

    As a former flight attendant, I never left home without a one-piece bathing suit. Regardless of the season, it is one staple that can serve in many other ways than the obvious. It can be worn as a camisole, extra layer for warmth, used as workout/exercise wear, hot tub, or as an undergarment if your stay exceeds plans.
    And if flights are delayed or cancelled, you can kill time at the pool isntead! Pack one for the kids too!


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