Top Tips for Traveling the USA with Kids

As anyone who’s traveled with kids before will tell you, it can be difficult at times. Even in the best situation with the best temperament in your kids tempers, tears and tantrums are all likely and there isn’t always very much you can do about it. However, it’s important to remember that you’re not the only one stressing out about your trip. While you’re worrying about whether you’ve applied for your American visa registration correctly or that the passports really are in the bag you thought they were in, your children can feel stress about an impending trip as well.  Luckily, we’ve pulled together some top tips for traveling with children so you can enjoy a – mostly – stress free holiday and take your kids with you!

Take your time
Make sure that whatever activity you plan, you tack on a good half hour or more to the estimated
time it will take. Children like taking their time, and they won’t understand – or care – if you’re on a
time limit. It’s a fact of life that kids are curious, and with curiosity comes a want to explore and
spend time retaining all of the information about a place that they can, even if they don’t truly
understand where it is that you are. Adding the extra time also makes room for toilet breaks,
tantrums and snacks for hungry littluns. Soak in that extra time, explore with your kiddos and you might be very surprised at all you learn as well.  Adding extra time with decrease your stress as well as theirs.

Be prepared. At all times.
Medicines, bandages, wipes, tissues, snacks, toys, apps on your phone – they’re all important when
traveling with children. As much as you might not want to weigh yourself down, you’ll regret not
bringing these things when you need them. Unfortunately, with children, needing such things will
come around faster and more unexpectedly than you’d think. Be prepared for messes, accidents,
boredom and hunger related tantrums, and you can cut your children's distress time in half. Most of the time anyway!
When you spend a ton of time in caves, like we do, you learn quickly how easily accidents can happen
Buy them a camera. No, seriously.
This might sound ridiculous, especially if you have young children, but child-safe cameras are widely available nowadays. Drop and bump proof devices even come in waterproof designs now, and your child will love taking photos next to you if you really want to go on that sight-seeing walk. If you can’t afford a child-safe camera, even consider buying them a disposable one! If it’s lost or broken, it’s a minimal loss, and a young child doesn’t need a digital screen when taking photos. They just feel like they’re joining in. This keeps them busy and engaged in what you are viewing.  Honestly a couple of my very favorite photos from all our travels were taken by one of the children!

Pack pull-ups
This is vital for toddlers. Your child might be potty trained at home, but luck has a funny way of
working, and you know for a fact that your child will forget that toilets are a thing in the middle of a
restaurant or on the plane. Pull-ups still encourage potty training and toilet use, but with the
additional benefit that if something does go wrong, you can handle it. You won’t have to deal with
wet clothes and the embarrassment of apologizing to staff for the remainder of your visit. Accidents do happen no matter what but I can tell you from experience getting sheets changed in the middle of the night in a small hotel in Cambodia is no easy task, sure wish we had some pull-ups for those night.

For your own sanity, avoid sugary sweets.
Sugar makes some children hyper. There’s just no getting around that for a lot of people, adults included. If you’re lucky enough to have a child that can eat an entire bag of candy floss and still act like the perfect angel, then you can ignore this point. However,  most parents just aren’t that lucky. Children on a sugar high are a handful at the best of times, but while you’re traveling, it’s even worse. Avoid letting your children snack on anything sweet and sugary while on a plane or another form of transport, as this way you won’t need to deal with bouncy, uncontrollable children in the middle or an airport or train station. Cheese cubes, crackers, crisps and plain biscuits are all alternate options for snacks, and your children will barely notice the difference.  I've resorted to candy in the past but for the kids and for myself it usually ends up not helping in the long road.  Even I get cranky an hour later when the "high" wears off.

Have you traveled with your kids?  Do you have any tips we didn't cover? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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