Traveling with kids doesn’t need to be a crying game.
Like most things in life, being a good traveler takes training and time. It’s never too early to start guiding children in how to be good travelers.
- Head to the library and check out books or videos related to your destination. Find games, puzzles or easy crafts that connect with travel, and consider assigning older kids some pre-trip research on the area (historical details, destination highlights, cultural particulars, dining hotspots and more).
- Try the Rule of Five when packing extras for children. Include five of each: books, small games, toys and “cuddlies,” such as packable stuffed animals and a snuggly blanket. Why should you pack by the number? Because when you’re scrambling off the plane or out of the hotel, you know exactly how many of each item should be packed and ready to roll.
- Get creative when it comes to keeping kids occupied during travel or waits in line. In addition to books and electronic games and movies, encourage them to take in the sights. When age appropriate, give kids cameras, and ask them to help document the family vacation, or offer everyone writing journals to document funny or impactful moments. Bring along a family mascot (silly stuffed animal or funny object that is easily packed), and keep the giggles on a roll by finding goofy photo ops and selfies for the mascot (on top of Old Smokey or with the flight crew, hotel staff, tour guide, waiter and others!).
- Traveling snacks go a long way in staving off hunger. Keep an eye on sugar and sodium contents and other additives. Say “no” to sticky, stinky or over-sugary snacks. Make your own mixes and add in protein for extra energy and dried fruit or coconut for sweetness. Stay hydrated. Even in colder climes, hydration is key. Bottom line: water remains one of the healthier and practical options.