After you have kids, the way you plan for travel can completely change. You suddenly have much more to consider than just whether you and your spouse like the destination and can arrive there without getting lost. Here are a few tips to make traveling with kids a little easier.
- Choose a great destination: The destination should have something of interest to everybody in the family. Neither parents nor kids should have to spend an entire vacation bored to tears. Generally, that just means that the bored person(s) annoys everyone else the entire time.
- Packing: Children can get cold much more quickly than the rest of us. Know all the weather possibilities so that you can pack appropriately. Keeping yours kids comfortable is essential. Packing a light jacket can make restaurants feel much more comfortable and make for happier meals.
- Comfort item: Let your children choose a comfort item such as a favorite blanket or pillow to bring with them on the trip. For younger children or those who have seldom been away from home, this is especially important so that they don't become homesick.
- Travel method: How will you get there? Choose the method that is reasonable for your budget and your sanity. Remember that when flying, infants under 2 years old can sit in mom's lap for free. Train travel is also a great option, depending on where you live. Often Amtrak is cheaper than flying and just a little more expensive than driving, though with high gas prices, you may break even. The best part about train travel is that you can walk about freely and there will be more room for your family to spread out. Children under the age of 2 ride free.
- Driving: If you're driving, be sure to separate the kids if there are any extra seats. As a result, your trip will be much happier as the kids won't argue nearly as much. If you don't have extra room, at least try to situate everything so that if a child sits next to a car seat, they will still have a reasonable amount of space.
- En-route entertainment: Portable DVD players have revolutionized the family vacation. They cost less than $150, and parents swear by them. The miserable six-hour trip to Grandma's is now just two or three movies away. They can be found at any Best Buy or Wal-Mart.
- Bring snacks: Bring snacks in a small cooler. This could save you an extra stop if you're driving. If you're flying, packing a little something in your personal carry-on could make the flight more comfortable. Try to bring something like Goldfish and avoid snacks that have too much sugar or caffeine. For car trips, try to bring water and let the kids drink a little less so that you don't have to stop for bathroom breaks every ten miles.