Last year during the holidays, a lot of people stayed at home. There were travel restrictions. There was fear. Vaccinations weren’t widely available. A lot has improved over the last year. This year, it looks like traveling to visit friends and loved ones for the holidays will be back on the table. People across the country miss their friends and family. They want to travel and spend time with their loved ones. It is time to have some fun. Families will travel to see their families, and they will be bringing their children along for the trip. Whether you’re going on a Thanksgiving trip or spending Christmas and the New Year with out-of-state loved ones, you should try to keep in mind these essential tips to travel safely when you’re bringing children along on the journey.
It’s In The Bag
A great place to start is to make sure you have everything your child may need for the long car ride, train journey, or flight. So, on top of whatever medications your child needs daily, you’ll also want to have extra masks and hand sanitizer available for your child. Children tend to touch a lot more objects in public than adults do, especially the younger ones. They don’t yet have the concept of germs yet and while COVID-19 isn’t easily spread on surfaces, it is important to keep everyone as healthy as possible on the trip.
You will also want to include items to keep your children entertained. Since you may not have access to wi-fi in the car or on the plane, you can always download some of their favorite TV shows, games, and movies. Don’t forget the headphones! It’s also a good idea to have snacks that you know will keep your children satisfied and healthy during the trip. After all, they’ll be indulging in plenty of holiday food and sweet treats after you get to your destination, so it’s a good choice to keep them eating healthy during your travels.
Road Trip Activities
One sure-fire way to make great holiday memories is if you travel by car this year. You won’t have to deal with pandemic airport protocol, all the stressed out people, and the holiday rush. You can avoid worrying about all that comes with traveling on a plane during the pandemic. A lot of people are more inclined to drive because they feel it’s the safer option with what’s going on in the world right now.
Still, you should make sure you have some fun on any long drives. Make playful playlists made for the whole family to sing along to. It may sound cliche, but these are things your beloved children will remember when they grow up. You can introduce them to music you love. Put them to sleep with a serious podcast that will keep you riveted while you’re driving. Driving long distances with children can be quite tiring. To combat this, make sure you drink the entirety of your French press coffee maker before you head out the door for your long car ride. You’ll be able to make coffee anywhere if you have hot water. Taking a drive can be very fun if you allow it to be.
Create an Emergency Plan
If you’re traveling with babies or very young children, it goes without saying that you won’t be taking your eyes off of them very much. If you have especially curious or explorative toddlers, it’s worth considering getting a wrist leash or something else to connect the two of you if you’re going to be in busy airports together. If your children are a little older and have their own cell phones, it’s crucial to have an emergency plan in place in case anyone gets separated from one another. Everyone needs to have a list in their phone or pocket of emergency numbers and who to call if they can’t locate you. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Wherever you are going and however you are getting there, explaining the emergency protocol to your children is imperative.
Consider Color Coordinating
Not only will it be cute to people that see you in the train station or airport, if you’re part of a more prominent family, sometimes it’s easy to color coordinate with one another. This allows you to see everyone in your family instantly, even from far away. Use bright colors or unmistakable designs. Airports and other travel hubs are bustling during the holiday season, so if you’re all wearing the same bright color (orange and yellow are great), you’ll be easy to spot from food courts, security screening, or those moments when you are running to take restroom breaks during a layover or a gas station stop.
Luck Favors The Prepared
If this is your young child’s first time experiencing a plane ride, it’s best to prepare them for what to expect ahead of time. While leading up to the trip, getting on an airplane may seem like the most exciting part, it can cause some anxiety when it comes to it. You should take enough time to prepare your child for what it will be like, noises, movements, and other distractions. Talk to your children about what you are doing, the risks involved and what to do when something goes wrong. Thankfully there are books and short videos dedicated to this to help you out, but it’s best your children know what to expect.
Traveling with children can be nerve-wracking and overwhelming. Don’t forget the importance of mindfulness and keeping yourself grounded, so it doesn’t become more stressful than it needs to be. Your children will feed off of your emotions, so be calm and collected, and in control. Remember that the journey is just a short part of the experience, and you’ll create unforgettable memories when you get to your destination.
When you are prepared to know what to expect, your children will be calm and attentive. In the end, your children are essentially mimicking your behavior. If you are erratic, your children will be as well. If you are anxious, the kids will internalize that feeling. It doesn’t matter where you are going or what you are doing, traveling with children doesn’t need to be horrible. Prepare, explain, and keep your own stress in check. It will all be okay and in no time you will be enjoying a lovely holiday.