Planning Tips To Make Travel with Children Hassle Free

by Barbara Greenberg / Dec 16, 2011 / 0 comments

For a lot of parents these days, the mere mention and thought of travel with children is enough to get them stressed out. Traveling with children shouldn’t be a hassle if you know you’ve covered your bases before leaving your home since every good travel story, especially when kids are concerned, starts with proper planning. With this in mind, here are no-nonsense planning tips to help your travel with children a lot easier.

Travel with Children Tip #1: Use a Travel Checklist
This tip is one of the most important tips you’ll ever get and it cannot be stressed enough. Make a checklist for what to bring, what to do on the plane or car, where to stop when driving, places to go, children-friendly places to eat, and the list goes on and on. Likewise, consider making a checklist of Plan Bs, should your Plan As fail. Remember, anything can happen, but if you are amply prepared, everything will be easier.

Travel with Children Tip #2: Holiday Projects

To make the travel experience more exciting for your kids, you can also start them on pre-holiday projects so they know what to expect. You can read books related to the places you’ll be visiting, do arts and crafts related to the places you’ll be seeing, and make maps among other things. Likewise, making a travel countdown calendar is also great idea to build up the excitement on days leading to your departure date.

Travel with Children Tip #3: Pacing

If traveling with your kids for the first time ever, make sure to plan a kid-friendly itinerary that has a slower pace than what you usually try on your travels alone, with friends, or your partner. If you plan to visit a lot of places, remember to be realistic about it because your kids should be able to keep up with you without having to complain that they’re tired and stressed.

Travel with Children Tip #4: Children with Special Requirements

If you have a child who has special requirements, your pediatrician and parents who have traveled with similarly special children should be your go-tos. If you don’t know anyone personally, research is the key! Likewise, it’s a great idea to get your child an identity bracelet or something with a similar purpose that will include important information on your child’s condition, first-aid and possible treatments, hotel information, and your doctor’s contact information, and other similarly important details.

Travel with Children Tip #5: Splitting Chores and Travel Costs

When traveling with your partner, other adults, or other family members, make sure to split chores if you trust your travel buddies enough. This is a good idea, especially if you want to venture out child-free at some point in your itinerary and vice-versa. You should also discuss travel costs since you can get really great deals when you travel as a group and when you purchase accommodations, entrance fees, and airplane tickets in advance.           

Travel with Children Tip #6: Accommodation Deals

In relation to tip #5, if you’re staying at hotels and resorts, always ask for special family deals such as child rates and such since a lot of hotel and resort chains offer these. Likewise, also ask for breakfast deals since most accommodations provide breakfast. However, if breakfast is included in the rate, you can ask for complimentary breakfasts for your kids since as you know; children are picky eaters and why pay full price for kids’ breakfasts?
If the management won’t budge, ask for discounted breakfast rates. You can also choose to buy or bring pre-packaged breakfasts for the kids and just eat them elsewhere. As for extra beds and such, ask for deals as well since most hotels let a certain number of children in rooms with parents for free and age is important. Also pre-book all your nights in the hotel in advance if you’re absolutely sure about the place. If not, book for a couple of nights and then look around on your downtime.                                                 

Travel with Children Tip #7: Documentation Requirements

Common documentation you need to present to get into other countries or other states also apply to your children. There are cases however where you are required to present additional ones, such as the case with adopted children. With adopted children, it is important to bring with you their official adoption papers. If traveling without your legal partner, regardless of your current marital and personal relationship, you have to bring a consent letter stating that your partner allowed you to bring your child.  

In addition, if you need a visa when traveling overseas, your children will need it too. The fees are also the same even if children are younger. Don’t forget to check the visa requirements from different countries since some visas can be obtained upon arrival while some require visas to be already approved and included in your passport. Likewise, do not forget to bring your children’s birth certificate and updated passports.

Travel with Children #8: Medical-related Advice

When traveling with children, especially overseas, make an appointment with your pediatrician at least two months prior to your departure date if possible. Do not forget your children’s vaccination records since they might require shots and tell your doctor where you’re traveling. Also, make sure that you know all of your blood groups in case of emergencies. For children with special medical needs or conditions, you may also ask your doctor in finding a physician in your destination who can help you in times of trouble.

You should also stock up on insect repellents, bug sprays, common medication for common illnesses, and the like for your first aid kit. Likewise, make sure to get your children, as well as yourself travel insurance since in the unlikely chance that one of you needs to be hospitalized, you won’t have to worry about excessively high fees since most may be covered by your insurance.

As you can see, when traveling with children, the first and most important step is planning for everything you can think of so that you are always one step ahead and never behind. With these tips in mind, you can rest easy and enjoy your travel with children.