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Focus On: Traveling with Children

Whether traveling via plane, train or car, the following here are some traveling tips for your next family vacation:

INFANT TO ONE YEAR

  • Plan for an active stretch. A rest stop break or a playground – let them walk or toddle for twenty or so minutes before climbing back in the car.
  • Bring music, mobiles, bubbles and books.
  • Pre-measure formula into bottles and carry a room temperature bottle of water to mix on the go.
  • Be prepared for a mess – snacks, diapers, spit-up, etc. – small trash bag, wipes, hand sanitizer (for the adults), spare water, tissues, bib and a blanket.
  • Even if you are traveling by plane, a car seat can double as a feeding chair or nap location. Call ahead for a crib to be added to your hotel room.
  • Be prepared and do not overload yourself. If time allows, buy what you can when you get to your destination.

FIRST STEPS (12-18 MONTHS)

  • Many of the Infant travel tips apply here.
  • Use “links” to keep toys within your child’s reach.
  • Even in the cool weather, crack a window for fresh air. Stale air may make your little one grumpy. Remove heavy jackets and shoes for comfort.
  • Bring music, books, stuffed animal, play mirror and foam shapes that will “stick” to the car seat. In an airplane – bring/purchase headphones for music and rest it on your child’s shoulders instead of over their ears.
  • Have some active playtime just before leaving and plan for frequent stops. In an airplane, let children walk down the aisle periodically at their own pace.
  • Airports can be a bustling place. This may be the one time you check your luggage at the curb. This way you can focus on your little one’s needs without the hassle of luggage in tow.

TODDLER AND GET SET (18-36 MONTHS)

  • Many of the First Steps travel tips apply here.
  • Play window games – count the silos, trucks or red lights.
  • Attach a mirror to the front passenger visor so you can see and interact with your toddler without having to spin around.
  • Buckle up a toy bin right next to the children so they can help themselves – books, links, stuffed animals and puppets.
  • Have your child help you pack a picnic lunch or snack and then serve it to everyone.
  • A blanket can make a quick play space in any lobby, airport, etc.

PRESCHOOL TO PRE-K (36 MONTHS +)

  • ‘I Spy’ a blue car, a white truck and other objects you can see while moving.
  • Laptop desk for drawing with paper and crayons.
  • Car-Ride Checklist – make a picture itinerary of landmarks you will see along the way.
  • Ask your child to keep score – gas prices, mileage or count out toll money.
  • Play “I’m thinking of an animal.” Provide age-appropriate hints to help your child guess a particular animal.
  • If you’re using a hotel babysitter: 1– Check the sitter’s credentials, including criminal and/or child abuse clearances. 2 – Check the room and the equipment in the room. 3 – Carry your phone and check your phone service when you arrive at your destination.