The days of packing one carry-on are over when you have children. If we’re being honest, it’s hard not to pack up the whole house when traveling with kids, especially young children. As a parent, you conjure up every type of scenario that could potentially happen when traveling with your kids. After all, every parent's main priority is to keep their children safe — to have an incident away from home sounds terrifying in itself. Below you’ll find our best tips for safe traveling with young children. Consider this a general overview of things to definitely keep in mind when planning for your next trip!
Our Top 5 Tips for Traveling with Young Children:
1. Plan ahead
When it comes to any sort of traveling, preparation is key. The essential items for your children will vary based on age and personality, so we’re going to leave that packing up to you! However, there are a few generic items we recommend for all young children during the traveling process — whether you’re traveling by car or plane.
General items to bring during travel for all young children:
● Baby wipes
● Hand sanitizer
● Extra change of clothes for each child in your bag/carry-on (We recommend multiple clothes for babies and toddlers)
● Healthy snacks (If flying, don’t hesitate to ask the flight attendants for additional snacks and drinks for your little ones)
● A backpack filled with stuffed animals, toys, and games for entertainment
● Sleep essentials: Whether your child has a blanket/stuffed animal they can’t snooze without or you think an item like an eye mask, neck pillow, or noise-cancelling headphones could help them rest peacefully, definitely try it out!)
Aside from packing your bags ahead of time, you should also plan ahead your travel experience according to your child’s schedule. For instance, whether you’re flying somewhere or driving a long distance, coordinate your travel time with your child’s nap schedule. If you know your children are less likely to nap, you could intentionally book lay-over flights or determine in advance what pit stops you’ll make on the road. Yes, this may take longer but it’ll also save yourself the stress of having your young child flip out on an aircraft high in the sky with no escape.
2. Pack Smart
I know we just touched on this and every child has different needs, but we wanted to highlight one simple tip to ensure you are packing as efficiently as possible.
We know how tempting it can be to keep adding items to the pile, but here’s one thing to keep in mind to prevent overpacking: Can you easily access said-item at your destination? For instance, you might be tempted to bring endless pairs of socks for your child. However, if you really run out of clean socks, will you have the opportunity to do laundry or will there be a supermarket in close proximity where you could pick up some additional socks if truly needed? Asking yourself this simple question will force you to think clearly on what items are truly essential to bring on your travels. You are bound to purchase new items while on a trip, especially with young children, so it’s better to have a little space in the suitcases rather than already jam-packed full before you even leave the house.
3. Give yourself extra time (like, a lot of extra time)
Parents — we know this! Everything takes longer when you are involving young children. Instead of stressing yourself out and potentially losing your cool in public, give yourself ample time! Sit down with your spouse and map out all the details so you can create wiggle room if things go bananas. Whether it’s on the road or in a busy airport, the last thing you want is to feel rushed, late, and overwhelmed.
4. Have a travel medical kit ready
It’s better to be safe than sorry. Accidents happen but if you come prepared, it won’t be nearly as scary and when you’re calm, your child will remain more calm, too. Whether you’re headed to Grandma’s house for the weekend or you’re traveling overseas, you do not want to go without any potentially-needed medications or first aid supplies for your young children, ever.
Here are some basic items to always have handy in case of an emergency:
● Any and all medicines your child takes on regular basis
● Any medical equipment your child uses (even if it’s once in a blue moon!)
● Bandaids, gauze pads, and pain-relieving cream like Neosporin
● Rash cream and anti-itch creams
● General over-the-counter medicines for cough, cold, or tummy aches
● Pain-reliever and fever-reducers such as ibuprofen
Depending on where you’re headed can also help determine other medical items you may want or need in your kit. If you’re heading in dry climates, you may want a breathing treatment; whereas, if you’re headed in the mountains, you may want more ointments for potential rashes or allergic reactions like poison ivy.
5. Set the example for your children
As you already know, children can sense when we are stressed, scared, happy, sad, etc. If we want our children to behave, we have to put on good behavior ourselves. You can prepare as much as possible, but it’s inevitable to have moments that are unpredictable no matter what. That’s just how it goes with young children! Give yourself some grace, be prepared for some disorder, and remain calm.
Be sure to tag-team the experience with your spouse or travel partner! If you don’t do well with flying, be sure to communicate that with your companion so they can take more of the reigns while in the sky. If your spouse doesn’t do well with directions, take the wheel! The more you can mitigate stress on your end, the better your children will be. They follow your instinct.
Here at The California Beach Co., we care about all children and their overall safety. One essential item we recommend packing for all travels is the Pop ‘N Go Playpen.