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Tips & Tricks while traveling with kids

Posted on March 7

You may be an experienced traveler, skilled in navigating airports, exchanging currency or getting from place to place with ease – but with a baby or headstrong child in toe – many of the simplest traveling practices will involve additional steps, plans and patience.

Don’t worry; traveling with kids can be a joy! Showing them the sites and sharing new experiences are all camera-worthy moments to treasure. However, it’s important to remember that kids will be kids and they still have their own agendas and needs that have to be scheduled into the day. Below are tips to consider when planning your child-inclusive trip that will help the entire family relax and enjoy the getaway.


Plan/Book Accommodations Ahead – While spontaneity may have been fun and romantic when you were traveling as a couple, arriving to find a restaurant or attraction is booked while you’ve got tired and fussy children in the car is not nearly as enjoyable. Be sure to book all accommodations well in advance and ask if there are any amenities, activities or special discounts available for kids.

Plan/Book Transportation Ahead – Planning transportation and luggage details ahead of time allows for you to familiarize yourself with the most recent restrictions on luggage and carry-on allowances. Remember that restrictions on liquids, gels and creams may affect how you pack the children’s food, bottles, creams and drinks.

Check-In Ahead – Most airlines now allow online check-in and selection of seats, which will decrease wait-times at the airport. A few airlines even allow you to check in luggage in advance, sometimes as early as the day before you fly. If you live close to the airport, this could be a great time and stress-saving way to get your travel day off to the right start. Train stations linked to airports also sometimes have check-in facilities which allow you to board the train with the kids but without the stress of extra luggage.

Plan Activities Ahead – Once you’ve learned all about your destination, make a list of activities the family may want to try out while there. Remember to come up with ideas for different weather conditions and different lengths of time. Having a few back-up plans already in mind can help you switch gears quickly and easily if the situation calls for it.

Traveling with Others – If you’re traveling with another family or additional adults, spend some time discussing how you plan to divvy up minding the kids. Also remember to discuss a few ideas for scheduling some alone time. Finally, be sure to discuss how expenses will be split to avoid any confusing or uncomfortable situations.


While we are always working to get the kids to accommodate to our plans, try to remember that with a slight change in mindset – incorporating the kids can teach you plenty of new ways for you to enjoy your travels as well.

Less is More – When traveling alone or with a significant other, it may be fun to try to cram as many activities as possible into every day of your vacation. But with kids, try to keep in mind that less is more. To kids, everything in the world is new, fresh and amazing. Instead of trying to pack the day with multiple sight-seeing adventures, pick the one you are most interested in and take your time. Enjoy the sites slowly, at a pace that is comfortable for the whole family and be sure to keep the camera trained on the kids as they enjoy so many new sites, sounds and experiences for the first time.

Take your Time – Whether you are at the airport, out for a sightseeing adventure or simply heading to your next destination, remember that to kids – the trip from point A to point B is just as entertaining as the destination. Try to plan ahead to give yourself plenty of time, then you can give them plenty of time to explore, play, and check out the sites along the way. Also – this additional time will allow for potty breaks, tantrums, or frequent feeding pit stops.

All in all, even if you and your child have developed a routine at home that is fairly streamlined, your child is not on their normal routine while traveling. Get an early start, pack the car the night before and always over-estimate how long everything will take on travel days and vacation days to allow for the unexpected and keep the stress to a minimum.

Making Memories – While photographs are great, try to think of other fun ways to make the trip memorable for the kids.

For example: buy postcards everywhere you go and have your child record memories on the back, look for items to collect like seashells, pretty stones or other natural memorabilia that you come across. Kids love when they can be involved in an activity and the fun will help tie great memories to these keepsakes.

Eat In – While eating out may seem synonymous with the word vacation – consider how having access to a full kitchen and dishes allows for quick and easy preparation of children’s snacks, drinks and meals. Cook up small meals that can be divided, stored in the fridge and reheated quickly for toddlers, babies and children alike. Unlike adults who tend to eat 2 or 3 big meals – especially while vacationing – kids are happier, healthier and more satisfied when they eat smaller meals every 2-3 hours.

(*Dream Destinations Guests: Remember to check your DDLLC Welcome Guide for directions to the nearest grocery store where you can stock up on milk and quick meal options, or, you can always call ahead to schedule grocery delivery.)


Send Luggage Ahead of Time – If you are vacationing for a few weeks or longer, consider sending your luggage a few days ahead using a luggage service. This can save you time and hassle on travel days and give you a chance to receive confirmation that everything has reached your destination before you even leave.

Rent Baby and Childcare Equipment – There are a number of companies, particularly in towns with a great deal of tourist traffic that rent strollers, cribs, car seats and other childcare equipment. Call ahead and pre-order rental equipment and often these companies will deliver these items right to where you are staying. There are even companies that specialize in smaller baby products such as formula, baby food and diapers. If you are planning a long trip it may be worthwhile to have these items delivered right to your vacation destination.

Games – Have family games in mind in case of travel delays and bad weather that may keep you inside. Travel delays are inevitable; but beyond packing a few toys and games for kids to play alone, try to have some fun ideas in mind for you to play with the kids when these situations arise. In the car, play the license plate game, in the airport, play card games…etc. Keeping the age of your children in mind, conduct some research before you go, there are a number of websites with fun and creative travel game ideas.

Kids Aps – While you may have strict rules at home when it comes to TV and electronics, there are hundreds of entertaining (and educational) Aps that can be a life-savor in a lengthy lay-over or back-up situation. Get these aps downloaded on your phone or tablet before you leave so they are there if the need arises.

Bring a spare T-Shirt – As a parent, you are used to packing additional clothes for the kids, but don’t forget to keep a spare shirt in reach for yourself. Particularly if you are traveling with a baby or toddler, remember that accidents happen and flights and interrupted schedules may increase the likelihood of queasy stomach. Keep a spare t-shirt in a carry-on bag or a bag that is easily accessible so you can change and feel fresh and clean if an accident happens.

Traveling with kids can be just as fun and exciting as all the smiling vacation pictures will indicate – particularly if you set aside some time to plan ahead, pack the necessities, allot extra time, and change your mind-set a bit to see things from your child’s perspective. After all, traveling may be ‘old-hat’ to you, but for them, it’s a thrilling adventure – try to join in that adventure as much as possible!

If you have tips, advice or suggestions for traveling with children, please send them to us at!