Kid-Friendly Travel: Essential Tips for Families on the Road

This is a Sponsored post written by Jane Renham.

Traveling with adults requires a fair amount of coordination at the best of times. Add little ones into the mix and suddenly there are a host of other factors to take into consideration. From packing for more than just yourself to keeping those enquiring minds occupied on the journey, traveling with kids in tow makes planning essential. Thankfully there are ways to approach traveling so that everyone gets the most out of it, as well as a host of helpful items you can pack for the journey to keep the kids entertained.

Kids in pasture

Image by Bill Ward, used under Creative Comms license

Keep everyone fueled

Keeping your kids fed and watered on the journey is also essential if you want to avoid tears and tantrums. Consider the possibilities of delays and bear in mind that roadside restaurants, airports and train stations don’t always have the most nutritious or extensive range of kid-friendly dining options, especially if your family happens to be vegan or you’re traveling with kids who have food allergies.

This is where planning ahead really comes into its own. If you have time, and you’re not restricted by things like airport regulations, it’s a good idea to prepare a selection of nutritious snacks to keep their sugar levels regulated and their minds occupied on long journeys. Apple and banana chips are great for healthy snacking, as well as root vegetable chips and vegan granola bars.

Entertaining and informing the troops

The other essential items for a long journey with kids are toys. Lugging big trucks and giant bears around isn’t so much fun for you, but thankfully there are a whole range of tech toys for kids that can easily be packed into a small backpack or wheelie case. Try the LeapFrog LeapPad2 Power Pink, which is great for getting their creative juices flowing and getting them to use their brains, while having fun at the same time. Games and kid-friendly movies and TV shows can also be downloaded onto a regular tablet to give you even longer spells of peace and quiet.

This kind of gadget is also great for getting them interested in the new places and cultures that you may be traveling to, as you can take advantage of kid’s travel guides and online encyclopedias with basic, fun information on countries and their history. If you’re on your way somewhere truly exotic, like India, it might be a good idea to familiarize them with pictures and descriptions of the kind of food they can expect – Asian countries are well-known for their variety of vegetarian and vegan cuisine, so there should be plenty of exciting options for everyone!

Relax and take your time

One of the greatest benefits of thoroughly laid travel plans when you’ve got your kids with you is that you get to take your time, keeping stress levels low and enjoyment levels high. If you’re not in a rush, you’re less likely to become cranky when the kids don’t quite behave according to plan. Leaving enough time for toilet stops, snacks and for little legs to get from A to B makes your life easier and your kids far less likely to play up.

Booking ahead might have sounded like your idea of dull and boring when you were at your young, free and single traveling stage. With kids, this attitude will only lead to stress and upset, for you and your troops. Planning where you’re going to be staying is also useful if you have special requirements, such as vegan or dairy-free diets, infant beds, or babysitting services.

Traveling with kids needn’t be filled with stresses and strains if you plan in advance, pack a few life-saving gismos and get your kids excited about the journey and the destination in the right way. Just don’t forget the all-important snuggly toy!

Jane Renham writes for a number of publications on and offline, and is currently organising a spring trip to the Netherlands with her brood of three.