A Guide to Traveling with Children on the Road

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People often talk about how they have a large list of things they want to do (such as traveling) before they settle down and have children, but what if you want to take your children traveling with you?

Of course, the term ‘traveling’ can (and does) mean a great many things to different people.

You might see traveling as a week away camping, whereas others might think of it as a 4 month excursion around South-East Asia.

But how do you go about traveling with children, and why would you even want to? On this page we’ll answer these questions and more…

Why Travel with Children?

Here’s a few reasons why traveling with your children can be a great idea:

  • A successful adventure bonds everybody together and creates great memories.
  • Travel is a great educator and can inspire children to want to learn more about the world. Ever heard the phrase “Travel broadens the mind”?
  • The language of children is universal. Ever seen children from entirely different cultures play together seamlessly? Children have a natural charm that brings out hospitality in other people.
Traveling with children

Before You Go

Before going traveling with children it’s essential that you plan your trip properly to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible.

  • Get your kids involved with planning – The more involved your children are with the planning of the trip, the more excited and interested they’ll be about it. Looking through guide books, in magazines and online is a great place to start. Look for pictures and videos that you can show your children as they should prefer this to simply reading about locations. Another way to help children to feel more involved is to let them pack their own bags (under your supervision, of course).
  • Plan your adventure thoroughly – Decide what you’re going to do in advance (camping, hiking, cycling, sailing, sightseeing, road tripping) and plan it in great detail. When traveling as an adult it’s far less important that every detail is accounted for, but when you’re out there with your kids you want to make sure you don’t run out of gas in the middle of nowhere or accidentally plan your trip to a place during the rainy season.
  • Remember that children like different things to adults – While you might enjoy a sightseeing tour around the ruins of ancient Greece or a wine tasting extravaganza in France, these things probably won’t appeal very much to your kids, so it’s important to think about things that you’ll both enjoy.

On the Road

When you’re on the road, there are a few things you can do to make the experience even better:

  • Make it fun and have adventures – Whatever you end up doing, make it into a fun adventure. If you’re out trekking, take an interesting route. If you’re exploring a city, take a detour to stop by the sweet shop. Remember that it’s about the journey, not the destination.
  • Find friends for your kids, or let them find them on their own – Kids have a great knack of finding other children and instantly forming bonds. The lack of social protocol and conventions means they can form friendships and have fun together almost instantaneously.
  • Set off early – Children tend to have lots of energy in the morning and then get tired as the day goes on. Because of this, it’s a good idea to set off each day bright and early to take advantage of this.
  • Take plenty of breaks – Allow plenty of short breaks for playtime with your kids (especially when outdoors). Remember to factor this in to your thinking when planning a day out.
  • Don’t force them to eat strange foods – If you’re traveling in a foreign country where the food is very different to home, don’t try and force them to eat anything that “looks weird”. Most of the time, once they see you enjoying it they’ll ask to try some, which will allow them to determine whether they like it or not on their own.
  • Pack plenty of snacks – When you’re on days out (going hiking, exploring the city, etc.) it’s important to bring plenty of drinks and snacks with you. Children tend to be a lot grumpier when they’re hungry, so a strategically-timed snack can help to keep them in a good mood.
  • Helping them sleep – Wherever you’re sleeping (in a hotel, in a tent, etc.), make your child’s bed a place of security and comfort. To do this you can let them sleep with their comfort blanket, a pillow from home or their favorite teddy bear/toy. Travel can be a stressful and disorienting time. By doing this they’ll feel more at home when going to sleep.
  • Bring school work with you (if traveling long term) – If you’re traveling throughout the school year with your children (and you don’t want them to fall behind in school), why not bring their school work with you? Dedicating a few hours to school work each day should be more than enough.

Related posts:

  1. Air Travel with Toddlers and Young Children – A Survival Guide
  2. Booking a Family Cruise – The Beginner’s Guide
  3. Tips for a Successful Road Trip
  4. Using GPS-Based Apps to Make USA Road Trips Easier
  5. Do Kids Need ID to Fly?

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