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How to Travel With Kids

Whether your family's travel plans include an extended car ride, air travel, a train or a boat, the key to making it successful is planning ahead and keeping your cool during the trip. Start a week or two before the trip and begin making notes on what to pack and prepare. Pack as early as possible so you aren't too pressed for time to think it through. And prepare the child so she isn't taken off guard when things get a bit abnormal for her schedule.

1. As you go through your daily routine, make a note of all the things you need for the child during the day. It is easy to forget how often you grab a tissue, need a que tip or another item. Making notes while you are going about your other business is a good way to inventory what is needed regularly.

2. Pack ahead of time, even if it means you have to buy extras of some things. Plan to be fully packed 24 hours before leaving for the trip so you have plenty of time to access what else you need and whether the things you have packed are going to be easy to manage during your travels.

3. Your destination may be warm, but you might travel through some cool areas on the way. Airplanes, restaurants and other public places can be quite chilly for a small child. Bring extra blankets even if you don't plan to need them. Blankets are also handy for shielding baby's eyes from bright lights and making a pallet for a nap.

4. No matter how you are traveling, be sure to carry along the stroller! Strollers are great for hanging out while adults chat, trolling through gift shops, getting from one terminal to another and as a restraint when you are in a place that poses hazards to youngsters.

5. One thing is always certain about travel plans: there will be delays. Traffic jams, airplane delays, bad weather and many other things can delay your travel for several hours. Pack for one more day than you plan to take just in case you don't have access to laundry, food, drinks or entertainment for a few hours.

One reason we travel is for the adventure. Mishaps don't have to ruin your trip; they can be the very things that make it a memorable one. Your attitude about what happens on a trip is more important than what happens. Unless it is a life threatening emergency, have a good sense of humor about unplanned boo boos. This teaches your child good coping skills, and helps the entire group enjoy the trip far more than traveling with a grouch. Traveling with your kids should be a joy, not a disaster.