New to travelling with kids? Nervous, overwhelmed or just don’t know where to start? I’ve put together a beginner’s guide to travel with kids just for you! In this post you’ll find all the tips and advice you need to start travelling with your kids.
1. Travel with kids is definitely worth it! There are many people that view travelling with children negatively. While there are challenges involved, the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Don’t let any nay-sayers put you off! Send them my way and I’ll have a sharp word to them. If you’re thinking about starting to travel with your kids, this is the post to encourage you.
2. I can think of so many reasons why I want my children to travel and why it’s important to moulding them into amazing human beings. Here are just some of the reasons why I want my children to travel.
3. Go slow. When you’re travelling with kids you have to adjust your expectations and build a kid-friendly itinerary. That doesn’t necessarily mean only visiting theme parks or children’s museums. What it does mean is putting together an itinerary that won’t wear you and your family out. For more tips on creating a kid-friendly itinerary for your travels read this series of posts.
4. Don’t over pack! One of the keys to travelling with kids is not to take too much stuff. Getting through the airport with kids in tow is hard enough, you don’t want to be struggling with too much baggage on top of that! Read more tips for packing for little kids here.
5. Should you pack a stroller? This is one of the questions I hear most asked by parents who want to travel with younger children. My answer? It depends. There are a lot of influencing factors such as where you’re going, how old your kids are and how their behaviour is. You can find all the info you need to make your decision in this post.
6. If you’re travelling long haul with your kids, you’re going to get jet lagged. Jet lag in kids can be terrible. It’s so much harder to explain the concept of time differences and body clocks to kids. Read my top ten tips for tackling baby jet lag, toddler jet lag and jet lag in kids here.
7. Don’t stress about flying with your kids. I’m not going to lie. It will most likely suck. Especially if you’re with a wormy, squirmy toddler or a preschooler with legs the right length to kick the seat in front. What you have to remember when flying with kids is that it’s YOUR JOB whilst on board to keep them cool, calm and entertained. It will be a lot more work than flying alone (and you can forget about movies or wine) but if you follow some of my tips you can make flying with your kids more pleasant. Read more here.
8. And while we’re talking about flying with kids… you certainly don’t need to drug your kids with Benadryl for flights. For tips on how NOT to drug your kids on a flight and more tips on flying with kids, read this post.
9. If you want to fly business class with your kids, you can. We certainly have! And we enjoy it when we can afford it. But there are a few questions you should ask yourself before you do so. Read about flying business class with kids here.
10. Culture shock can happen to kids. With children too young to communicate their thoughts and feelings it can be difficult to spot. Read my tips on identifying and managing culture shock in young children.
11. Rent apartments on your travels. It’s a lot easier than staying in hotels simply because you have access to more space, a kitchen, laundry facilities and separate bedrooms. Read my vacation rental tips here.
Want to try out Airbnb? Click here to get a $25 off coupon.
12. If you’re on a super strict budget, you can stay in hostels with kids. They’re economical and quite convenient for family travellers as you have access to kitchen & laundry facilities. I have some tips on staying in hostels with kids in this post.
13. You can get help along the way. Maybe you want some alone time or a date night on your travels? Or perhaps you need a nanny while you do activities that your kids are too young for? Hiring childcare on the road can be a very good idea. We have hired a local nanny a couple of times, used kids’ clubs and even local summer camps at the YMCA. For more info on hiring childcare on your travels, read this post.
14. What do you do in the event of an emergency on your travels? What happens if you or your kids get sick? Read this post and come up with an action plan before your travels.
15. If you’re travelling to Europe with your kids, be aware that it might not be as easy as you though. Travelling in Europe was by far tougher than travelling in the US, Canada, New Zealand or Australia. I would even go so far as to say travelling in South East Asia is easier than travelling in Europe. While travelling in Europe with kids presents quite a few challenges, we came up with solutions to every problem we encountered. Read this post before you go to Europe with your kids.
16. Road tripping with kids is a great way to travel! It’s a lot easier to manage multiple children when they’re strapped into the back of a car than if you were to journey by bus, train or plane. You can go at your own pace, stop as often as you need and spread out across the back seat.
17. If a few weeks vacation each year is not enough for you, think about travelling long term with your kids. We have taken several trips of 5-6 months but we are now on the road full time. Travelling long term with kids presents it’s own set of challenges. You can read all about how we manage our lifestyle as a full time travelling family in this epic post.
18. Travelling with your kids will change you! It will open your eyes, heart and mind to a different way of living. It will build a stronger family connection. And it will help you see the world through your children’s eyes. Read more about how family travel changed these travelling parents.
Got more questions?
If you’ve got more questions about how to get started travelling with your kids, let me know! I’m happy to expand on any of the points above or answer an additional questions or concerns you have.
Spot on! I really enjoyed the post about managing culture shock in kids. We have been experiencing a bit of this with our 4 year old in Central America, and building “normalcy” into our days really seems to help. We’ve tried to maintain a bedtime routine, which has really helped.
Some great tips for traveling with kids. I always think it’s ridiculous when people say that you cannot travel with kids. They say the exact same thing about solo travel when you’re married and I love proving them wrong by doing it all the time. I know for a fact that when I become a mother, I’m going to take my kids everywhere because there’s so much they can get from it.
I’m all about family travel so I really enjoyed this post. My favourite tip? Accepting the fact that the days of movies and wine on a long-haul flight are long gone, or at least until the kids get a little older. Like you, I firmly believe that travelling with children is one of the best things you can do
Great advice, and some of it applies to those of us without kids. Looks like all of the efforts you have put in to see the world with your family is paying off – quite well!
Terrific post for those looking to get some honest advice on traveling with children. Well done!
I love that you’re encouraging everyone to travel with their kids. That’s my mission as well.
Our kids are a little bit older than yours – 5, 7 and 9 currently – and it gets A LOT easier the more you travel. Since each of my kids gets to pick any destination in the world every year for a one-on-one trip with me, I frequently have 40+ hours of flying in 9 days with a child and it’s so incredibly easy at this point – even with my 5-year-old – because we’ve been traveling with them since they were born. We spend 6 weeks or so in Europe every summer and that’s even become really easy. And I find that the kids handle jet-lag far better than I do. Within a day of being in Asia or Europe they’re adjusted. It takes me three days. There’s no reason not to travel with kids. Take them everywhere!
Love this, and it’s all such good advice. I know lots of people find the thought of it overwhelming but as you said it’s so worth it! Weirdly I have had to slow down more this trip than any other, and I realised it’s because R’s now big enough to not have a stroller and to have to walk everywhere – much slower than me steaming around pushing his stroller! That, and the stupidly late sunset (or never, in Iceland’s case) so sleeping has been a big issue.
Anyone wanting to travel with kids will find this guide very useful. There should be no limits to anything you want to do, so its great to see that anyone can travel, even people with families.
Traveling with kids can be challenging but oh so rewarding. Whenever we return from a trip with the kids, we are happy to be back in our familiar grounds, but by the next day we are ready to be back on the road with them. Great tips!
I will…but not until they are 11 and up!!!
Yeah, I agree to all your tips. I myself have been traveling with my kids for the last 5 years. I travel with my babies since they are 2 weeks old and it has been 4 years now. Its always fun to travel with them if you know how to travel. I have learned a lot about traveling with kids, wrote numerous articles about. I admire what you do and I count on traveling many more years to come. I have done over 20 countries so far and its exciting. I am guessing that you are homeschooling your kids because ours are.
Great post! Travel with kids is hard but amazing. Totally worth it all.
Thank you Christine!
Awesome guide you share. All these tips are so helpful. I’m planning to travel and never thought that it will be possible bringing a kid. Thanks 🙂