Backup your documents
Never forget to backup your essential documents before leaving for the airport. Simply take photos of all those documents and save them on your phone and upload them to the cloud as well or email them to yourself.
Such an approach can be a lifesaver in case if you have lost your wallet or bag.
You can also leave a copy with a relative or a friend you trust.
Bring A Car Seat
Kids’ car seat regulations change between different countries. Check the law in the place you’re going to. Regardless of the law requirements, we recommend that if you use a car seat at home, you’ll probably need one when traveling to keep your loved ones safe.
Make sure to bring a seat with you. We always recommend packing light but not at the expense of safety. To make things easier, if you plan to rent a car, most car rental companies have car seats available with your rental, but you should confirm before your trip that there will be a car seat there and available for your use.
Make sure the car rental agency has a seat for your kids’ age/weight.
Bring Plenty Of Diapers And Wipes
It does not exactly match my goal to pack light but, when traveling with babies or toddlers who aren’t potty trained yet, you should always bring far more diapers, pull-ups, and wipes than you ever think you’ll need. Even on an hour ride, you might need to change your child several times.
I’m pretty sure that you’ll always need more than what you brought so bring one more.
It doesn’t hurt to have a few extra diapers at the end of the flight, but it is awful to have too few.
Since “accidents” happen, it’s also a good idea to bring an extra set of clothes and begs to save the smelly ones (preferred Ziplock).
Have a spare outfit, within reach, for yourself. Diapers leak, babies spit so be prepared.
Food Special Needs
If you or one of your family members has any food allergies, I have no doubt you know about them, how to avoid them and how to handle them if they were exposed to food that puts them in danger. It’s easy to maintain a clean environment at home or your local school, but it is a bit more tricky when traveling. As part of the trip preparation, make sure you know how to explain it. It would be better if you’ll know the right words in the local language.
The same goes if you have special diet needs such as vegan, vegetarian, soy-free, gluten-free, etc.
You can even prepare cards with your family’s special needs, in English and the local language. Use them to explain the waiter, the hotel staff, and in case of emergency, the medical caregivers.
You can save the cards on your phone or have a printed copy. If you’re traveling to several countries with different languages, prepare a set for each language.
Get rid of travel gear as much as possible
It is crucial to have the correct packing list and equipment for your trip. Make sure you pack what you need, but pack light.
For instance, you can avoid bulky noise-canceling headphones, neck pillows, etc. Instead, use your jacket as a pillow by rolling it up. You can expect the same amount of comfort and have less to carry.
Download The Perfect Packing List to save time and stress for free.
Have Entertainment Available
When you’re traveling with kids, keeping them entertained is critical, especially on long flights, waiting at the airport, standing in long lines, or when having a long car ride. It can make the difference between a great trip and a miserable one.
Entertainment doesn’t necessarily mean a smartphone, although a smartphone is a great option when traveling. Depending on their age, here are some great options to consider:
- Electronics – a phone, music player, tablet are great ways to pass the time.
- Journal – let them draw or write a travel journal. It’s a great way to enrich the trip and an amazing souvenir.
- Card and board games – you can buy the games you know and love in traveling versions (small, magnetic, special packaging).
- Road Trip Games – check out our guide of road trip games you can play when driving or have free time.
- Dolls they love
- Make sure to have chargers, headphones, spare/backup batteries, adaptors.
- If you take electronics, don’t count on WIFI or mobile plans. Make sure to download the apps, music, movies, or TV shows to the device before your trip. You never know when you’ll be without Wi-Fi, and it’s almost guaranteed your kids will desperately need a new app or episode when that happens.
Have money in small bills
It is wise to have smaller bills of foreign currency as this is a safer approach, and they become useful for purposes like service tips.
Check currency exchange rates. Sometimes it’s cheaper to take out cash from an ATM at your destination.
To avoid an unnecasary situation, we recommend bringing at least some local currency bills with you from home.
Have small items that make you comfortable
You may have a favorite pen or a particular brand of pens. Just carry a couple of those pens so you will feel more comfortable. You will have a light stressful feeling as a result of traveling a long distance. However, the small things you are familiar with can fix your mood and regain control over your work.
It could be your favorite gadget, clothing item, pictures of your family, your music…
Journal Is A Great Addition To Any Trip
As mentioned on the “Bring A Car Seat” tip, a journal is a great opportunity to get your older kids involved, learn more, and have more fun.
It’s their choice if they want to buy a physical notebook, write an online document, or blog about it. Some might like to record a short video each day. Give them some time at the end of each day to reflect on the day and talkwrite about their experiences. What they did, what they enjoyed, what did they learned, and maybe where they’re going next.
This journal will also help you if you plan to print a photo book for the trip, which is always fun to have on the shelf and look at once in a while.
You’ll appreciate it when you’re home and want to reflect back on your trip, even years later.
Keep An Extra Battery In Addition To The Charger
It is always better to have a charger and an external battery with you when traveling. Your mobile device’s battery will drain faster when you are on a long trip as you are tempted to take more pictures, listen to songs, play games, make notes, check emails and perform many other tasks. So, you are supposed to have your charger and an external battery to avoid battery drains.
Even with the extra charger and battery, remember to charge your electronics before you fly. Your phone, laptop, and tablet should all have plenty of battery to help you pass the time productively in the airport and on your flight. You won’t need to fight for an outlet at your gate or risk using a USB at the airport, which can be a cybersecurity risk.
For great batteries and charges see our Traveling Technologies page.
Kids Are Great Photographers
Kids can bring a whole new perspective to photography and your trip album. It’s not just due to their height, which brings a new perspective; it’s about the way they look at things.
No matter their age, give them a camera, and you’ll be surprised with the results. Give them their own kids’ camera as it will save your battery (which is precious when traveling) and reduce the risk of someone stilling it. Sure, your phone camera is good enough if you don’t have a camera or don’t want to carry one.
Your kids don’t need a fancy DSLR, and they’ll be just as happy with a simple camera or even durable kids’ point-and-shoot camera.
Not only will you get nice pictures for your album, but you’ll also find that kids enjoy taking pictures and learn more about the environment since they focus better on things around them as they search for the perfect picture.
If they are too young, hold the camera and let them press the shutter or use a tripod.
Minimize Transportation Security Administration time
You should take all the measures to minimize Transportation Security Administration time.
Those who work under the TSA department of the airports indeed do a very tough job. On the other hand, waiting in line for long is equally challenging for you. Therefore, use your common sense and take all the measures to reduce the time you will spend under TSA’s observation. Some of those measures are:
- Wearing comfortable shoes which you can remove easily.
- Avoiding large lotion containers and flammable perfumes.
- Avoiding huge water bottles, etc.
It is always better to limit your fashion accessories to a minimum. Avoid belts as well. Doing all of these will reduce your time at TSA significantly.
No need to pack everything you have
You might think of carrying some extra accessories and clothing when you are on a business trip. However, it is not the smartest approach. You should always try to avoid “EXTRA” items that are not essential.
For instance, carrying several pairs of shoes, heavy handbags, etc., is not necessary. Instead, you should pick an outfit that can work during the day as well as the night.
Leave your expensive jewelry items behind as it puts extra pressure on your mind. The key is to travel with a minimal number of items.
Ohhh, The Pressure
Kids and adults often suffer from ear pressure when the plane takes off or land. An easy way to overcome this and equalize the ears’ pressure is to chew gum or drink from a bottle for babies and toddlers.
Be prepared and have a pack of gums in your carry-on. Get ready to feed them on take-off or landing. Please don’t wait for them to suffer, do it as part of the flight plan.
I know I probably mentioned this a few times in different tips and posts, but you really don’t want to overpack, even when traveling with kids.
You don’t want to forget the important things, but you also don’t need to pack every item your kids use at home. Let them pick one or two things they like to play with. Don’t forget that many times travelers love to shop during the trip so they’ll have new things to love.
When visiting less-developed countries it might be harder to buy things they’ll love, but most places you would take your kids will probably have the essentials you need to care for them.