Tips for Traveling with Kids



Traveling with kids can be a parent’s worst nightmare!  Every time I tell friends we are taking the girls on a trip, they cringe and share horror stories from their traveling experiences with young kids. I just laugh along with them and try learn from their past mistakes. Why reinvent the wheel, right?

As our family has grown, we have been very intentional about cultivating a love for traveling and experiencing new things. In order to do that, we have to get outside of our comfort zone and daily routines because we know that’s where the magic happens!  

You might be asking, “What makes a success travel day when you’re traveling with 2 kids and your beautiful wife?” It’s simple. I can tell you in one word: Preparation.  You have to think two or three moves ahead. It really is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Take care of yourself first. Just like the flight attendant tells you on an airplane, put the oxygen mask on yourself before you help others. It’s true when you’re traveling with your family as well. Your energy level will set the tone for everyone else in your family.

  2. Make sure you’re staying hydrated and eating healthy foods. Feeling your best will help you take better care of your family. Take time to sit down and eat meals when you can; it creates space to decompress and reduce stress. Being fully hydrated will help everyone avoid jet lag so the time at your destination will be more enjoyable.

  3. Get plenty of rest.  A three-hour delay here and a bathroom accident there can turn a travel day into a marathon. Being fully rested will help you cope with life’s little surprises in a calm and resourceful manner.

On our recent family trip to Jamaica, we made sure we brought plenty of changes of clothes, diapers, formula, beach gear and car seats. Some of the essentials we like to travel with include:

  • A car seat carrier that converts to a stroller. This  is an invaluable piece of equipment for navigating through the airport. Bringing a car seat we are comfortable with makes travel easier as we don’t have to fidget with a rental car seat when we arrive at our destination.  It saves time and frustration.
  • Plastic cubes. Packing clothes in cubes allows us to keep the girls' clothes organized and neat, especially when we need quick access. They are also handy for keeping soiled clothes separate.  We also use cubes for packing toys to keep them clean and contained in the suitcase and at our destination.
  • Baby wipes and hand sanitizer. These items are a must. It isn’t always possible to change babies in a restroom. Having supplies available to take care of spills or bathroom accidents deflates the urgency of the situation and allows everyone to remain calm, cool and collected.

As parents we already know that travel days are going to be heightened and intense because kids are going to be outside of their normal environment.  They are going to miss naptime and the comfort of their daily routine. We have found that the most important strategy we can use is to be a team by communicating with one another, keeping a positive attitude, and staying focused on arriving at our final destination.

As you plan your next family getaway, remember, preparation will minimize stress and allow you to enjoy your time together as a family. Create a travel checklist to make sure you don’t forget any essentials that will help your kids feel comfortable at their home away from home. With more and more families traveling with young kids, hotels offer kid friendly amenities that help make your stay more enjoyable. Tap into those resources and make your next vacation your BEST!

As a personal development coach, motivational speaker, author and a stay-at-home dad, Jonathan “J.O.” Oliver helps people attain success in the midst of facing some of life’s greatest challenges.  He is happily married to Dr. Saran Oliver and together they have two adorable daughters, Journey and Justice. Being diagnosed with the gift of dyslexia and ADHD has allowed him to see what is possible rather than feel limited by his condition. Seeking to impact his passion to many, “J.O.” has authored two highly sought after books, “Joy In The Journey: 1st Year Chronicles From A Stay At Home Dad,” and “Impersonations.” His newest book, “To The Little Boy In Me: Learning with Dyslexia & ADHD” will be released in the Spring.