Kids on the beach

How to Travel with Your Kids: An Age-by-Age Guide for Parents

As a busy parent, let’s face it: you deserve a vacation. Of course, traveling with the entire family is sometimes easier said than done. Whether you’re a first-time parent with a new baby, or have a large, blended family, you might feel uncertain about planning a vacation together. 

Nature and kids are good friends
Nature and kids are good friends

Regardless of whether you’re heading to the beach with a tween or traveling abroad with an infant, following these tips will help you plan a stress-free, hassle-free family vacation.

Traveling with Any Age

The following ideas are helpful for kids of any age:

  • Stay connected. To avoid complaints of boredom or the dreaded “Are we there yet?” you’ll need to keep the kiddos entertained. Bring a tablet or smartphone, so they can stream their favorite songs, videos, and games during longer road trips or flights. To reduce the chances of losing internet during a road trip, invest in fast, reliable internet. You might also want to add a Car WiFi Hotspot to ensure you stay connected throughout your trip. 
  • Pick a destination carefully. Look for a location with activities the entire family can enjoy. For instance, Orlando, Florida, is always a safe bet, thanks to its abundance of theme parks, museums, and proximity to beaches.
  • Talk to other parents. Poll your Facebook friends, talk to other parents you know, or read a parenting blog for ideas. Red Tricycle’s recommended family travel blogs also provide helpful resources and travel tips for parents.

Traveling with Infants / Newborns

Although it might seem counterintuitive, one of the best times to travel with a little one is while they’re still an infant. Because babies sleep up to 16 hours per day, infancy provides a perfect opportunity to bring your child with you, whether on a long drive or a short flight. You may not even need to pay for an extra seat on most flights, although it’s still recommended.

Rather than carrying your baby during your entire vacation, consider investing in a high-quality stroller to bring with you. For instance, we offer a free Stroller Finder to help even the busiest parent find the perfect, age-appropriate stroller for their little one. You can even search for strollers that can be stored within an overhead compartment on an airplane!

Traveling with Toddlers and Young Children

Once your child hits the age of two, you’ve reached those toddler years. At this point, you’ll officially be required to purchase a plane ticket for your little one, even if you’d planned on holding them in your lap during a flight. Whether you’re traveling by plane or by car, consider bringing your child’s car seat. Small children are very mobile, so keep them safe and secure throughout the journey. If your destination doesn’t provide stroller rentals, consider bringing one.

Everyone loves the beach
Everyone loves the beach

You should also prepare for ear popping, which can be painful and scary for small children during a flight. According to KidsHealth, have your child drink plenty of water (not soda) throughout the flight. Drinking “encourages swallowing, which opens the Eustachian tubes,” helping to prevent popping.

Traveling with Older Children and Teenagers

Although this age group is older and more self-reliant, they still require some special considerations. The Points Guy asserts that this age group is the “toughest” to please on vacation. Look for hotels and cruise lines that offer special activities for children this age, such as Hard Rock Hotel’s suites, which include a small stage and guitar for “future rock stars.” Some resorts even offer parent-free clubs exclusively for kids ages nine to thirteen, entertaining them for an evening while you enjoy a kid-free night.

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge

When choosing activities, include your children and teens in the discussion. Pick at least one activity that suits each family members’ interests. For instance, if your teen’s a Star Wars fan, save up for a day at Disneyland’s new amusement park, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. More the outdoorsy type? Consider surfing lessons or stand up paddleboarding.

Vacationing with kids can seem daunting at first glance. However, with some careful planning, you can truly have the getaway of your dreams. With age-appropriate destinations, activities, and supplies, you’ll be on your way to enjoying a smooth trip.