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These simple tips will help you be prepared for traveling long distances with your kid. Don’t dread traveling – these instead!
Long-distance travel is often an uphill task for parents. The combination of energetic kids plus a prolonged period in a confined space seems like a recipe for problems.
However, both parents and children will have a more positive, rewarding, and enjoyable long-distance experience by planning ahead of time, adapting to change, and following the guidelines below.
Keep The Kids Entertained
Providing your kids with something to keep them occupied throughout the trip is essential. Parents should come up with entertaining activities that can be done either in the car, on a plane, or on the train.
Some examples are singing songs, playing games like I spy or twenty questions, watching movies with headphones, drawing pictures of their favorite characters, and reading books. These things will keep them busy for a long time during the journey.
Ensure You Have Enough Food
Have healthy snacks ready for your child before you leave for the trip. Pack some fruits like apples, oranges, bananas, or grapes; cookies; pretzels; and juice boxes to keep their content during the journey.
To prevent kids from getting too hungry to focus, make sure you have a cooler packed with veggies, cheese slices, cut sandwiches, and other food items they love so you can provide them on demand.
If you are traveling by car, decide on a dinner restaurant your kids would love to eat at. It is advisable to go to a family-friendly restaurant where the staff is friendly, and children can play while you wait for your meals. This will prevent them from complaining about the food at other restaurants since they already have their heart set on one place.
Pack everyone’s favorite snacks in a small backpack to keep them away from picky eaters if traveling by plane. Go to a supermarket or a convenience store with a wide selection of items available before going on board so that you will not have any trouble with the limited menu.
Make sure you have a bag of hygiene products for your child packed. Pack moist wipes, wet tissues, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and soap to maintain their cleanliness throughout the journey. In case there is no bathroom available onboard, or you are stuck with a kid who has an upset stomach, you will have the right items to help them cope.
Make sure you pack enough baby wipes so they can clean themselves in case there are no sanitary napkins available. They will also help your child stay fresh when traveling for long hours.
Arrange your kid’s toys to keep their interest throughout the trip. Teach them how to pack their favorite playthings in a small backpack so they can easily access them while you are on board.
Keep in mind that when it comes to toys, less is more. Pack only the number of toys that your child can handle, and then add a couple more on top of that so you can rotate them throughout the trip.
If possible, they can bring out-of-the-box activities, such as coloring books and papers, dolls and stuffed animals, wooden puzzles, and card games. These will not take up a lot of space in your bag while keeping your child occupied for a long time.
You don’t want to end up with a screaming child when going on a long trip. So the best way to do this is by arranging their seats to see everything going on in front of them. Choose a seat near the window so your kids can lean on it and look outside or sit near the plane’s wing if you are on a plane.
If your child wants to sleep, make sure their seat is near a sleeping adult so they can have someone to lean over and cuddle with without getting out of the seat.
When seated together with your children, check if there is anything that needs to be done for you to enjoy the trip. If you want your kids to avoid spending all their time on the phone or the computer, make sure they are near family members who can entertain them. If you do not want them to get bored reading and looking at the same things over and over again, discuss with your spouse how to keep them occupied.
Carry a Travel Pillow
Car trips are never complete without screaming kids who want to be held. The best way to do this while still having your hands free is by using a travel pillow that will allow them to lie down and rest their head on it.
One thing you need to look for in a travel pillow is that it should not take up too much space. This will be perfect for kids who cannot sit still because they are too excited about the trip. It can also help them sleep soundly if their seat does not recline completely.
Make sure your kids are resting on the side of their heads or their backs, not on their necks. You can also find a travel pillow that has a seat belt strap so you can attach them around your kid’s waist for extra support and security.
Travel at Night When Possible
Plan your trip in a way that you will be traveling at night. Kids usually sleep better when taking trips during the nighttime. Traveling overnight can help them feel refreshed and ready to face the day ahead of them after such a good rest.
Apart from this, your kids will have a longer playing time when you arrive at your destination. If you are traveling to another country or continent, nighttime travel can help them adjust better since they will not be exposed to daytime activities right away.
Plan Rest Stops
Kids get tired too after sitting for a couple of hours. So make sure you plan your rest stops not just to give them something to do but also because they need to move around too.
If you are driving, take the time to let the kids stretch their legs and run around to refresh themselves. Use this free time as an opportunity to exercise and be more comfortable during the long hours of driving.
If you are on a plane, make sure the kids do not wander too far from their seats. You can let them get up and stand near their seat while giving them something to drink or eat to keep them company.
You may also find it helpful if your airline allows children under 15 years old to take advantage of free in-flight activities.
Pack Layers of Clothing
It is essential for parents to always pack extra clothes for their children. If there is one thing kids know better than doing, it is spilling food or drinks almost everywhere they look at. So make sure you have a spare shirt for them in case they get food stains on their favorite clothes.
Keep their extra set of clothes in your carry-on bag or purse, especially if they are under the age of five. This way, you can change them quickly when they need it and avoid asking flight attendants for help changing their diapers during the flight.
Remember to have a spare set of clothes for yourself too, since the kids may spill some drinks on your clothes.
As a parent, the biggest frustration you will experience is when your kids cry or freak out. It is always a good thing to stay calm at such moments.
The kids are still young and have not experienced too much yet. Traveling long distances for them may be fun but tiring. Also, they cannot communicate their needs as well as adults can.
So try to be at your best during the trip and not let them see you lose your composure just because they ask for many things. If you need to stop and calm yourself down, it is ok to do so, but make sure you prioritize your kids’ needs first.
Give them something to look forward to with every stop you make. Just let kids try many things because this is their best moment ever when traveling.
Be positive and refrain from worrying too much since this will only stress you further, which is unhealthy. The trip may be tiring for you, but the excitement of your kids will make it all worth it.
Traveling long distances with kids may be tiring for both you and them. However, it is always best to stay optimistic about the trip since they are just kids after all.
Remember to plan ahead of time, prepare necessities like extra clothes and toys, eat foods that will keep you energized throughout the day, take breaks to keep yourselves active, and stay calm at all times.
If you make the most out of your trip with your kids, then it will surely be a memorable experience for them as well as for yourself.
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