Top 50 Tips for Travelling with Kids

Top 50 Tips for Travelling with Kids - Smart Kids Book

1. Start Slow and Steady on First Trips: When planning your first family trip, consider a relaxed pace that suits the kids. Instead of cramming multiple destinations into a tight schedule, choose one or two places to explore thoroughly. This approach reduces stress and allows time for unexpected adventures, ensuring a more enjoyable experience for everyone. Remember, with young children, sometimes less is more.

2. Coordinate with Travel Companions: If you’re traveling with another family or adults, have a pre-trip discussion about everyone's expectations. Discuss and agree upon how to divide chores and childcare duties, and how you'll balance group activities and individual time. It's also wise to talk about how expenses will be shared, taking into account children's lower costs. Clear communication helps avoid misunderstandings during the trip.

3. Special Needs Considerations: For children with special needs, connect with other parents who have similar experiences for valuable travel advice. Websites like and can be helpful resources. Additionally, carrying an identity bracelet detailing your child's medical condition, treatment plan, and doctor's contact information can be crucial in emergencies.

4. Preparing for Allergies: If someone in your family has serious allergies, prepare a card that details their allergies in the language of your travel destination. This can be life-saving in emergencies and helpful when ordering food. Organizations like Allergy UK provide cards in various languages, ensuring clear communication about health concerns.

5. Economical Travel Options: To keep costs down, consider a home exchange with another family. This not only provides a child-proofed environment and toys but also insider tips about your destination. Websites like and offer house swap options, including for families with special needs. Other budget-friendly choices include farm stays or university accommodations, which often come with extra benefits like animals, sports facilities, and open spaces.

6. Making the Most of Hotel Stays: When booking hotels, always inquire about special family deals, such as discounted rates or complimentary meals for children. Many hotels provide breakfast, but if it’s not included in the room rate, consider if it's worth the expense for children who might eat less. Some hotels may offer 'complimentary' breakfasts for children, or you can bring snacks for an easy breakfast in your room.

7. Evaluate Supervised Childcare Facilities: If a hotel or resort offers a kids' club, check the quality of care and activities. These should be more than just passive TV watching. Investigate the child-to-staff ratio, activity range, and age group segmentation. Upon arrival, take the time to personally assess the club and be ready to seek alternatives if it doesn’t meet your expectations.

8. Pre-Book Accommodation for Initial Days: Arriving in a new place with children can be challenging, so it's advisable to pre-book accommodation for the first few nights. This strategy reduces stress upon arrival and gives you time to explore other lodging options more leisurely.

9. Medical Consultation for Overseas Travel: Schedule a doctor's visit at least two months before international travel. Discuss travel plans, vaccinations, and health precautions. Bring everyone's medical records and discuss any existing medical conditions, ensuring you know a local specialist at your destination if needed.

10. Preparing for Malaria-Prone Regions: If traveling to a malaria-endemic area, get professional advice on appropriate antimalarial medication. Ensure you have adequate insect repellent and protective clothing. Remember, malaria prevention extends beyond medication to include measures like insecticide-impregnated bed nets and covering up during peak mosquito activity times.

11. Handling Malaria Medication for Kids: For children, antimalarials are often available in syrup form, though tablets are more common. Since children typically need smaller doses, it's wise to invest in a pill-cutter for precise dosing. This ensures your child gets the correct amount of medication.

12. Navigating Visa Requirements for Children: When traveling internationally, remember that visas may be required for children, sometimes at the same cost as adults. Some countries may require in-person applications, potentially necessitating a visit to an embassy or consulate. Plan ahead to avoid last-minute stress.

13. Carrying Extra Documentation When Traveling with Children: If you're traveling with an adopted child or as a single parent, extra documentation like adoption papers or a consent letter from the other parent may be required. Also, prepare for potential scrutiny if your child’s last name differs from yours, or if they don’t closely resemble you.

14. Engaging Children in Pre-Trip Activities: Prepare your children for the trip with engaging activities related to your destination. Explore maps, history, and culture, or try local dishes at home. This not only educates them but also builds excitement for the upcoming adventure.

15. Managing Luggage Efficiently: Consider using a baggage delivery service for sending heavy luggage like suitcases or prams ahead. This can lighten your load and make airport navigation much easier. Services like offer convenient options for this.

16. Choosing Suitable Baby Gear for Mobility: Hand-held carrycots are great for small babies and double as beds. For better safety and comfort, bring your own travel cot. Portable travel cots and body slings are also practical choices, offering comfort and convenience on the go.

17. The Utility of Prams and Buggies: Even if your child can walk, a pram or buggy is useful for rests during outings or as an impromptu bed in restaurants. All-terrain models are ideal for destinations with uneven pathways.

18. Designating a Meeting Point in New Places: In unfamiliar destinations, establish a clear meeting point in case of separation. This is especially important in crowded areas and ensures a quick reunion if anyone gets lost.

19. Using Child Monitors in Crowded Places: Child monitors are invaluable in busy settings like airports or malls. They alert you if your child wanders too far, and some models include a feature to help locate your child quickly if needed.

20. Keeping Crawling Children Clean: A simple yet effective tip is to carry a plastic sheet for your crawling children. This provides them a clean space to play on, no matter where you are.

21. Sterilization on the Go: For families needing to sterilize items regularly, a portable steam sterilizer is a practical option. It’s efficient and easy to use. For smaller items like pacifiers or teething toys, sterilizing tablets in a watertight container can be a convenient solution.

22. Managing Baby Bottles During Travel: If your child uses bottles, prepare for on-the-go feedings. Carry what's necessary to mix fresh bottles, and consider using powdered milk for convenience. Filling spare bottles with water beforehand can save time and space.

23. Breastfeeding in Unfamiliar Places: Research local attitudes towards public breastfeeding before your trip. If you need privacy, look for female-friendly spaces like women's clothing stores or the restrooms of upscale hotels, which are often more accommodating.

24. Airport Services for Families: When booking flights, ask for 'meet and assist' services, especially beneficial for single parents or those with multiple children. These services can help you navigate the airport more smoothly from check-in to boarding.

25. Using Airport Lounges: Frequent-flyer club members often have access to private lounges, providing a comfortable space for families. Even if you’re not a member, you can usually access these lounges with a day pass, offering amenities like supervised luggage areas and refreshments.

26. Navigating Hand Luggage Restrictions: Stay updated on restrictions, particularly regarding liquids, gels, and creams. This includes baby food and nappies. Generally, items over 100ml are not allowed, but exceptions are often made for essentials for children under two.

27. Online Check-In and Pre-Boarding: Take advantage of online check-in to select seats and reduce airport waiting times. Some airlines offer advanced luggage check-in, allowing you to travel to the airport hands-free and with less stress.

28. Hydration and Health on Flights: The low humidity in aircraft cabins can cause dehydration and discomfort, especially for kids. Encourage regular fluid intake and use simple tricks like moistening nostrils to combat dry air. To ease ear discomfort during take-off and landing, encourage children to suck on something or drink fluids.

29. Family Discounts in Rail and Bus Travel: When booking train or bus tickets, inquire about family discounts, which can significantly reduce travel costs. These are often available during off-peak hours, making them a budget-friendly option for family travel.

30. Booking Extra Space for Comfort: Consider purchasing additional tickets or even a whole compartment for added space, particularly when traveling with multiple children. This provides more room for play and relaxation, making the journey more comfortable for everyone.

31. Coordinating During Boarding: When boarding public transport like buses or trains, have a plan. Decide who boards first, who handles the luggage, and who follows last to ensure nothing and no one is left behind. Setting these roles beforehand can prevent confusion and ensure a smooth boarding process.

32. Using Children's Car Seats: Always use appropriate car seats for your children, regardless of local regulations. If you're using different cars, such as taxis, opt for a universal car seat compatible with various seatbelts. Safety should always be a priority when driving with kids.

33. Extra Rear-View Mirrors for Monitoring: Install additional mirrors to keep an eye on your children without turning around. This is especially helpful when you're driving solo with kids in the back seat, ensuring safety while maintaining focus on the road.

Child playing with busy book on the plane

34. Entertainment Accessories for Travel: Long journeys by car or plane can be challenging with young children. To keep them entertained and content, consider packing busy books. These engaging activity books are perfect for travel, offering a variety of puzzles, coloring pages, and educational games that can keep little ones occupied for hours. Whether they're exploring a new story, solving a puzzle, or just doodling, busy books are an invaluable tool for peaceful and enjoyable travel. Their compact size makes them easy to carry in hand luggage or a child's backpack, ensuring that your child has a fun and educational activity at hand, no matter how long the journey.

35. Dressing for the Climate: In hot destinations, choose clothes made from natural fibers for your children to prevent irritation from sweat. Frequent changes of clothes may be necessary, and always ensure they have sunhats with wide brims for outdoor activities.

36. Safe Drinking Water: In areas where tap water isn't safe, use bottled, boiled, or sterilized water. If you're using bottled water for formula, choose ones with low mineral content. Remind children not to drink from taps, including when brushing their teeth.

37. Eating Out Safely: In countries with questionable sanitation standards, dine at busy places for fresher food. Avoid buffets, as they're prone to bacteria that cause stomach upsets. Choose well-cooked, freshly prepared meals for safer dining experiences.

38. Precautions with Food and Drink: Wipe wet crockery or cutlery with a clean tissue to reduce germ exposure. Be cautious with opened bottles and cans, and avoid giving children ice or salads, which may be washed in unsafe water.

39. Carrying Antihistamines and Allergy Remedies: Pack non-prescription antihistamines for common symptoms like sneezing or itchy eyes. For skin allergies, over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can be effective. Natural alternatives include honey and apple cider vinegar mixtures or nettle tea.

40. Preventing Dehydration in Kids: Children, especially those who are breastfeeding, are prone to dehydration. Make sure they drink regularly. For breastfeeding babies, mothers should increase fluid intake to ensure adequate milk production.

41. Managing Constipation in Children: Changes in diet and dehydration during travel can lead to constipation. For babies, offer additional water and use gentle tummy massages. Older children can benefit from light vegetable oil and plenty of water. Sometimes, a simple remedy like a little Vaseline can help.

42. Preparing for Mosquito Protection: In mosquito-prone areas, bring your own nets for baby cots. Dress babies in light cotton sleeping bags to protect them from insect bites, especially during sleep. Applying insect repellent on their clothes can also be effective.

43. Making Accommodations Child-Friendly: Upon arrival, take time to child-proof your accommodation. Secure locks on doors and windows, cover exposed electrical sockets, and check the temperature of the hot water. Ensuring a safe environment can prevent accidents and give you peace of mind.

44. Planning Activities for Different Scenarios: Research your destination and prepare a list of activities suitable for various weather conditions and lengths of time. This helps in keeping the trip flexible and enjoyable for everyone, regardless of changing circumstances.

45. Splitting Up for Personal Time: When traveling with more than one adult, consider taking turns in looking after the children. This allows each adult some personal time to relax or explore independently, maintaining a good balance during the trip.

46. Planning Walks and Rides with Children: When planning walking or cycling trips, consider the youngest child's pace and interest. Choose routes with changing scenery and incorporate stops for exploration and play. This keeps the journey interesting and manageable for little ones.

47. Protecting Children from Sun and Cold: Children in backpacks or bike seats can be more exposed to the sun and cold. Ensure they are appropriately dressed with layers to add or remove as needed, and don’t forget sun protection, including sunglasses or hats.

48. Preserving Memories of the Trip: Encourage children to keep travel journals, collect postcards, or start small collections like badges or toys. These activities not only keep them engaged but also help preserve memories of the trip in a fun and educational way.

49. Engaging Children in Learning During Travel: Turn travel experiences into learning opportunities. Encourage children to draw, list things they see, collect ticket stubs, and learn a few words in the local language. These activities can enrich their travel experience and stimulate their curiosity.

50. Local Toys and Souvenirs: Buying local toys can be a great way for children to connect with the culture of the destination. Playing with toys popular among local kids can also be an icebreaker for making new friends during the trip.

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