Planes, (No)Trains, & Automobiles:
The Best Ways to Survive Travel With Kids
Leaving early or late can help ensure your kids are sleepy during the drive, making the trip feel shorter and reducing boredom. —CK
Join us as we share our proven tips and advice for traveling with kids. From creating an emergency car care kit with spare clothes and cleaning supplies to what to do when your kid starts screaming on the plane, these strategies will make your journeys smoother and more enjoyable. And, if all else fails and your toddler gets car sick and you run out of spare clothes? Don’t worry, we can relate.
We are not only parents of young children but also seasoned travelers who know the ins and outs of hitting the road with kids in tow. Ourr practical strategies and tips are backed by our own experiences, so you know we're both credible and trustworthy. Whether you're a novice traveler or a seasoned pro, our insights will help you navigate the challenges of traveling with young children and turn those long trips into fun and memorable adventures. Hooray for stress-free journeys with your kids!
This episode helps you
Discover how to overcome the challenges of traveling with kids and make your family trips more enjoyable.
Learn valuable tips for air travel with children, ensuring a smoother experience for both kids and parents.
Explore effective strategies for road trips with kids that will keep them entertained and engaged throughout the journey.
Find out about a variety of entertainment options for long journeys, making sure your kids stay entertained and happy.
Understand the importance of preparation and organization when traveling with kids, and learn how to make it a breeze.
Our Thoughts on Traveling with Kids
Any trip with kids might seem daunting, but with proper planning and a flexible mindset, it can be an enjoyable experience. Preparing a variety of entertainment options, organizing snacks effectively, and planning for the unexpected can help keep everyone engaged and secure.
Navigating air travel with children requires planning and preparation. Booking direct or non-stop flights and reserving seats together can help reduce stress and chaos during the trip. Keep children engaged during airport waits with fun activities, ensure you have the necessary insurance coverages, and have a plan in place for items like medication and spare clothes in case your bags get lost.
Making car trips with children more manageable is possible, we promise! Car trips can often be overwhelming due to the confined space and the energy children may have. Create an organized space with easily accessible storage options and a just-in-case kit can put your mind at ease. Planning stops at regular intervals (and including a fun stop here and there) can drastically improve the experience for everyone.
The Ultimate List of Travel Tips From CK & GK
Spring for the travel insurance if you can. It will provide peace of mind in case any unexpected situations arise during your trip.
Book direct/nonstop if possible. It's worth it, we promise.
At the airport... hit the bathroom and plan for some activities before the flight
Play I Spy or do a scavenger hunt
Plan a progressive dinner (with drinks for grown ups?)
With older kids: Supermarket Sweep, What's Most Expensive? (funniest?/weirdest?/most fake?/etc.) in the shops
Book seats together. Don't rely on the kindness of strangers to switch seats—they’re under no obligation to move for you.
That said, sit where you should and read the expectations for lap children.
Pack light for the plane. You need your hands, so check as much as you can!
On the plane...
Bring new entertainment! New downloaded videos, novel toys (3-4 per hour)...
Snacks are your friend! You need plenty of snacks and they can go through TSA just fine, just be prepared to show them to the TSA crew!
Nurse/feed, give snacks (lollipops) during takeoff and landing.
If your kids are old enough talk about the ear pressure before the flight, do it! Think Daniel Tiger's "When we do something new, let's talk about what we'll do…"
Have easy-to-spot luggage to minimize time at baggage claim. Put something weird on your suitcase. Another tip? Put an airtag in everyone's bag.
Leave your pride at home! Baby/toddlers cry and that’s okay. If you’re trying your best, own it! Yeah, there might be judgment from others (especially those without children) but as long as you’re trying, you’re golden.
Forget to pack spare outfits in your carry-on. Include everything (hello, socks and undergarments) to ensure you have a complete backup wardrobe. Throw in some spare toiletries, too.
Put your medications in your checked baggage! You’ll need those in your carry-on just in case your bag is lost on the trip.
Expect sleep, unless Benny Benadryl is coming on the trip with you... 😉
Leave early—kids will be sleepy and you’ll be closer to your destination later in the morning. Some people recommend doing as much driving during kids’ sleeping time as you can.
Stay organized as much as you can!
Suction-cup shower caddies are great to stick on car windows to hold kid things
Over-the-door shoe organizers to go in front of kiddos (dollar store!)
Visual/Audio: movies, audiobooks, songs/playlists they love, video games (if motion sickness isn’t a factor!)
Non-Tech: Drawing materials, LEGOs, window markers, etc. and a travel desk
Backup: consider family games! License plate game, Mad Libs, I Spy, scavenger hunts, etc.
Kids can entertain each other. If you have rear-facing kiddos, put them in the middle row so that they can look at the kids who are front-facing. Big kids can also sit close to grown-ups to make sure that items get passed around.
This website has lots of awesome ideas to entertain your kids!
Plan ahead with snacks and meals
Pack Bento boxes and/or “Big Snack” in an ice cube tray you can cover or a tackle box. Put something different in each section. Yum!
Look here for some great ideas for snack mixes!
Schedule your stops for gas and bathrooms and include at least one fun stop where everyone can move around for a while – 20-30 minutes. Plan 1 fun stop for every 4 hours you’re on the road.
Roadtrippers is a helpful site to help you plan out these kinds of stops!
Mark your progress with
A “goody grab bag”: something they haven’t had before that can keep them entertained for the next pre-determined interval. Taking a 4-hour trip? Put 4 items in 4 separate bags, give 1 for every hour. The last one can be a gift they'll need at the final destination!
Or, print out a map and put it someplace they’ll see: you can mark those scheduled stops and intervals with stars/stickers and kids can track the progress.
Create “self-service stations” in backpacks so that kids choose the activity that they want to do at that time.
Plan for naps, even if your kids aren’t napping anymore. Get a neck pillow and blanket, bring a favorite lovey and keep it loose in the car—who knows, they may surprise you and nap!
Make a Just-in-Case kit
PPE (facemasks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and cleaning sprays) and things you need for a toddler working on toileting, like a travel potty seat (practice with the seat a while before you leave!)
Car-sickness kit: Spare clothes, plastic bags, a towel or two, head-to-toe cleansing wipes, plastic gloves for helpers… Dramamine if necessary.
A plastic cereal bin lined with a plastic bag is a good trash can and vom-catcher…
Baking soda/cornstarch can help dry up and neutralize the smells – just vacuum it up after a few hours at the next gas station; bring essential oils/vapo-rub to put on your upper lip to block the smell from your nose
Take care of the car before you go—check tires, heating/cooling things, etc. And include car supplies: jumper cables, fix-a-flat, trash bags, etc.
Pack a “one-night” bag: take a set of PJs and one complete outfit and put it in a gallon-sized baggie and bring that into your hotel room if you need to stop overnight on your way to your destination. (BTW I do this with my carry-on bag if I’m flying.)
As always, thanks for listening. Safe travels this holiday!