Nine Tips for Traveling With Kids

A family of three looking at a book together while on an airplane.The holidays are upon us. Some of us are staying home and others of us are traveling *apprehensively raises hand*. Whether it’s to visit loved ones or enjoy a family getaway because everyone in your family has some “spare time”, most parents are simultaneously dreading the travel and also cautiously optimistic about it. Don’t worry, I’m right there with you. We love traveling, with and without our kids, but with the pandemic, it’s been two years since we’ve flown as a family and we now have two more kids than we did pre-pandemic. So yes, I’ll be flying with a four year old, two year old, and two month old over the Christmas holiday but it’s fine, I’m fine, everything’s fine. With that being said, I have a few tips on traveling with kids to make it as “pleasant” as possible. May the odds be ever in your favor. 

  1. Snacks on snacks on snacks – The more snacks, the better. Anytime they scream, just throw them one, but not too many. Otherwise they’ll vomit during takeoff. Ask me how I know. 
  2. Give yourself plenty of time – I will always prefer to be early rather than late, especially when traveling with kids because it never fails that things take way longer than anticipated or the baby needs to be fed again or has an unexpected blowout.  
  3. Pack an extra outfit for everyone (yes, mom and dad included) – Whether it’s your carryon for a flight or an easily accessible bag in the car, make sure you can get to it quickly in case there’s a blowout or vomit episode (please refer back to tip one and two if you want further detail on either of those).
  4. Minimize layovers – There’s nothing like dragging a kid or two or three across five terminals, trying to make your connecting flight because you only have 20 minutes left in your layover after your initial flight landed three hours late.  Long story short, its not fun.  So, if you can at all avoid it, do not include layovers and if you must, do as few as possible and make sure there are several hours in between.  
  5. Bring plenty of activities – Make sure the iPads are fully charged (don’t forget the headphones), bring some stickers, poppers, and a few other new and easy activities for the trip.
  6. Packing cubes – Whether you’re flying or driving, organizing everyone’s belongings in different packing cubes makes traveling with kids so much easier.  I usually have a night time clothes and day time clothes cube for each of my kids. And depending on how long the trip is, I may have a “diaper” cube, blanket/shoes cube, you get the gist.
  7. Car seats – If you’re flying, make sure you bring the appropriate car seat for your kid. I know lugging a car seat (or three) across the airport, isn’t ideal, but renting one is simply not reliable. Get a travel bag or find a travel friendly car seat so you don’t develop a hernia in the process of going to visit grandma. I’m linking the ones we currently use for my two month old, two year old and four year old. 
  8. Sleep routine– Your sleep routine is d-o-n-e, but pack those things that will keep it as normal as possible. For us, it’s our kids’ sound machines and loveys, as well as the baby monitors. 
  9. Take a deep breath – remember, you’re a paying customer just like everyone else is. Don’t feel bad for other people because you’re traveling with kids or a baby, they’re not traveling with one! Do not rush through the TSA pre check, take your time putting your things in overhead bins, and don’t apologize for your BABY doing what babies do, even if that is crying the entirety of the two hour flight. 

If you’ve never traveled with babies and kids or if you’re a little rusty, I hope these tips help prepare you for your next trip!  And remember, everyone will survive! Give yourself (and your kids!) grace, and if you see another family along the way also traveling with kids, give them grace.

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9 Tips for traveling with kids. A photograph of a family of three looking at a book together while on an airplane. Logo: Houston moms.

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Ashley B
Ashley is originally from Dallas, Texas. She recently moved back to Texas and became a Houston resident with family after spending the last five years in New Orleans where she learned that Mardi Gras truly is the most magical time of the year. Ashley and her husband have two children (2017 and 2019) and will welcome a third in Fall 2021. She first dabbled into blogging back in 2014 while in graduate school as she documented her experiences of exercising every day for a year. Ashley currently works full-time as a project manager in managed care. During her free time, you can find her spending time outside with her husband and kids, attempting a new fitness challenge, or finding a new dessert – it’s all about balance - which she shares about over on her blog


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