Traveling with children doesn’t have to be a nightmare. It CAN be, but it really doesn’t have to be if you simply plan ahead. Kids don’t come equipped with an off switch. When they are awake, they are ON. Children are in a constant state of absorbing information. That’s what they do. It might appear that they are playing, but they are actually learning — and growing.
So in order to travel with children and not be driven to sobbing hysterically yourself or cause others to do so, you need to plan.
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Pack sugar-free snacks and drinks and have them available when the child needs them. I say “sugar-free” because you really don’t want to put a child on a sugar high when he is cooped up in an airplane, a car, or a train. Calm is good.
Pack age-appropriate toys and games that are also within arm’s reach. Kids aren’t going to sit down and sit still without a very good reason to do so. And a game or toy that requires their attention can give them that good reason.
Before you leave home, prepare the child for the travel experience. New places, new sights, and new sounds are sometimes frightening to children. If you’re going to travel by train, take the child to the airport for a visit before you go to board a plane. Read stories to him about travel. In short, prepare him for the experience in every logical way you can think of including telling him about your own first travel experience.
If you travel by private car, plan on frequent stops and let the child get out of the car and simply run off some of that boundless energy. If you travel by plane, you can expect a lot of trips to the bathroom simply because the child needs to get up and move. Don’t get frustrated, and don’t expect the impossible.