Before You Go: What to Bring When Traveling With Kids



Tending to your toddler’s needs is never easy, but it can be even harder when you’re traveling. Here’s what to do before you take your show on the road — or in the air — to have as little turbulence as possible.


Traveling with kids of any age presents special challenges (for instance, you can count on needing a wideassortment of snacks, portable games, and multiple bathroom stops, to name a few), but toddlers may be the most difficult travel companions of all. They’re loud. They can’t sit still. And they get overtired, hungry, and overstimulated very easily. If they’re toilet trained, taking them to a public bathroom can often be repulsive (unless you happen to luck out and find a clean one); if they’re not, you still have to find somewhere private (and relatively clean) to change their diapers. They’re picky about food and reject every item available when you’re trapped for hours in a busy airport. They get carsick and airsick, and their legs are long enough to kick the seat in front of them. But unless you plan to spend your child’s entire toddlerhood at home, there will come a time when you will need to travel with kids in tow. And while traveling with kids may never be a pleasure, there are ways to make the journey more bearable, whether you’re going by car, plane, or train. Before you embark, though, there are several things to check off your pre-trip to-do list.


  • Check with the doctor. Before you travel with kids, make sure your child is in good health and that you have an ample supply of any meds he may need on the road (prescription asthma medication, for instance). Plan for unexpected illness (an allergic reaction, a fever, or a stomach bug) by bringing along a children’s antihistamine, pain reliever, antidiarrheal medicine, and a rehydration fluid (like Pedialyte).
  • Plan your toddler’s sleeping arrangements before you go. Whether you’re traveling with kids to a hotel or Grandma’s, make sure your tot will have a safe place to rest his little head each night. Check to see if the hotel has a crib (or if Grandma will be supplying one), and if not, bring along a portable crib. If nothing else, an older toddler can safely sleep on the floor on a mat or in a sleeping bag.
  • Guard against motion sickness. It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling with kids by car, plane, or train — motion sickness can strike anywhere. To keep it to a minimum, avoid letting your toddler travel on an empty stomach (light, frequent snacks should help prevent nausea), and skip serving acidic fruit before you leave the house since they can be irritating to the tummy. When in the car, keep the window cracked to allow for some fresh air, and get your toddler to look far out the window (looking at things close-up can make queasiness worse) by playing a game of “I Spy.”
  • Plan on using a car seat. If you’re traveling with kids in a rental car, either bring your own car seat or be sure the rental company can supply you with a safe, up-to-date model. When flying, check with the airline about which car seats are approved for plane travel. Toddlers under two can fly while sitting on a parent’s lap (though that’s not the safest during take-offs and landings — and do you really want a squirmy toddler on your lap the entire flight?), but those over two are required to have their own seats.
  • Get IDs in order for international travel. Of course your passport needs to be updated when you travel with kids (or without!), but your tiny tot needs a passport to travel abroad, too — even to Canada. Getting a first passport can take weeks, so it’s wise to apply for one way ahead of your trip. Just remember, you and your partner (and your child!) have to apply in person; if your partner can’t go with you, then you have to submit a notarized statement of consent. If you’re traveling alone with your child outside of the country, you may also need a letter signed from your child’s other parent granting you permission to travel abroad. Ask your airline, travel agent, or the embassy at your destination if you do and if the document should be notarized.


Source credit: WhatToExpect



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