The chance to experience new places, new people and new ideas is so beneficial for your children that it outweighs the extra work of bringing them along. Though traveling with kids can definitely be more difficult than traveling by yourself, you can mitigate some of the stress by following a few helpful tips. The hike to the lake, the camping trip under the stars, the cycling adventure through the forest may all end up being the memories your kids have for a lifetime.
Going through the security line at the airport is always a hassle, but even more so with kids. Make sure you have your children's passports if you are traveling abroad; keep them all together in a handy place. Have your children wear flip-flops or shoes that they can easily take off. Be prepared to put all of their carry-on items in a bin to go through the security gate.
On the Airplane
Pack each child a small backpack with snacks, books and a few toys. Make sure to take them to the bathroom before boarding. If the flight is short, you may not have to take a bathroom break on the plane.
Bring some gum or a pacifier for kids to chew or suck on during take off. This well help relieve painful pressure in their ears.
Try to book late flights if you are flying a great distance. You may be able to get the children to sleep during the flight.
On the Train
Train travel is quite an adventure for a child. Bring along some books about trains to get them excited about the train itself. Pack snacks and activities. Also bring along baby wipes, even for older children, so they can freshen up while on the train.
In the Car
A long drive can be frustrating for parents and boring for kids. In addition to the games, books and toys, invest in a portable DVD player and some headphones. You can travel many miles in the time it takes for a children's movie to play through.
Plan on taking plenty of rest stops throughout the trip. The kids will appreciate the chance to stretch their legs and you can let them run some of their excess energy off. When traveling by car, the drive can be half the fun. Stop and see the sights as you go, and enjoy this part of your trip.
On a Cruise Ship
Cruise lines have really made it easy to travel with children. Even on a standard Caribbean cruise, you will find that the ship has special activities for kids. You are sure to find several swimming pools on board, and some ships even have a climbing wall.
On a cruise vacation, your living and sleeping space is very limited. Pack accordingly and try to leave as much of the kid gear home as possible. The ship itself will provide plenty of activities and space to play.
See your pediatrician in advance for seasickness remedies before you travel.