How to Survive a Family Trip With Young Children

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A family vacation is a time full of joy and excitement. But it can also be very stressful if you’re not prepared. Preparing ahead of time can ensure you and your loved ones have a remarkable, memorable, and stress-free vacation.

The following tips contain simple, straightforward advice for preparing your family to survive the upcoming trip. These steps may seem basic, but they can mean the difference between a disaster and an enjoyable getaway.

Create a Plan

First, allow enough time to shop for items. If you plan ahead, you can avoid the stress of an airport sale or paying an overinflated price due to poor planning. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing that you have everything needed at your destination.

Pack Everything You Need

It is important to pack light, but be sure to pack your carry-on bag with all your essentials for survival for the flight. Make sure you have entertainment, food, drinks, and more to help make the trip as smooth as possible. Your kids will thank you.

  • Baby Needs

If you have an infant, pack a carry-on bag with baby essentials like baby food, baby bottles, diapers, and baby clothing. It’s not just essential to have your baby’s needs met by you; remember that baby supplies are more expensive at your destination than they are at home if they can even be found at all.

  • Snacks

Nothing says disaster like a child having a meltdown mid-flight because they have hit their limit of in-flight peanuts and pretzels. Pack enough nonperishable snacks (cereal bars, granola or protein bars, chips), along with bottled water or juice boxes, to last through the entire flight.

Also, bring healthy snacks that can help keep fussy stomachs satisfied. Fresh fruit is a smart choice because it’s easy on the digestive system and filling. Pack bags of ice cubes to keep food cool during long periods in the car or on a plane.

family trip

  • Entertainment Material

You’ll want to pack plenty of entertainment material, too. To keep kids occupied for hours, bring their favorite toys and books along with DVD players or game systems.

Although you may want to bring along that toy that your child has become attached to, consider the amount of space it will take up. Also, remember how much patience everyone in the car/plane has for hearing “I’m bored” over and over again.

  • Clothes

Bring more than one outfit for each member of the family, so if there’s an emergency spill or food get-together on your clothes, you don’t get stuck wearing a dress covered in spaghetti sauce or a tie-dye T-shirt by the pool. Pack extra socks and underwear just in case you get separated from your luggage while rushing to catch your flight home.

When packing for your children, consider comfort and safety. Dress them appropriately for the destination weather conditions, but remember that their clothing will most likely get dirty on your trip. Bring enough items to change them in case they have an accident in their pants or shirt. Dress your child in loose-fitting clothing like leggings or sweatpants to avoid uncomfortable squirming and possible diaper blowouts for longer flights.

  • Personal Items

Don’t forget about personal items like toothbrushes and razors. A small travel manicure set is also nice because it can easily fit into smaller carry-on bags, for which some airlines have limited allowances. And don’t forget sunscreen or aloe vera gel to help with sunburns.

  • Emergency Items

Make sure everyone in the family has their identification and any necessary medications with them at all times. If you have any medical problems that require medicine during travel, be sure to pack extra doses of prescription medication along with copies of your prescriptions in case anything happens to the originals. Emergencies can happen anywhere, so you need to be prepared for anything that might come your way while traveling.


Making sure your children are safe is very important on a family outing. In some cases, it’s better to travel by plane because it will be faster and easier. However, if you need a lot of space or want more freedom in movement, then driving may be your best choice. Be sure to pack car seats, booster seats, and seat belts for all the vehicle occupants.

If you plan to use public transportation, be sure that your children will fit safely into any modes of transport that you plan on using. If you opt to rent a car, make sure it has kid-friendly features.

Also, leave plenty of time for travel and check traffic reports before you go anywhere. It’s also a good idea to keep a map handy, so everyone in the family will know where they are at all times.

Final Thoughts

The best way to keep a vacation from being stressful is to take things slowly, have fun, and do it right by packing your survival kit with all the essentials. And remember: what happens on vacation stays on vacation.

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