Travel with Kids

Tips for Traveling with Kids

If you're thinking about taking your kids on the road, you probably have a ton of questions. The good news is that more and more families are becoming long term travelers every day, and they have helpful advice to share. We've very carefully curated this advice in each major area of consideration when traveling with kids. 

1. Packing

Stay away from family "vacation" pack lists! They often advise you to overpack, filling their lists with items that will strain both your back and your pocketbook, when many items can and should be purchased in-country, for less money.

If you're traveling long term with your family, your trips look very different from the once-a-year vacation. When packing, look for advice specifically from nomad families who are experts on long term travel with kids, and remember that less is always more, even for families.

Check out our packing page here for general packing tips. 

Family packing Dos and Don'ts:

  1. DO bring breathable, loose, layered clothing made of natural fabrics like cotton. Kids have sensitive skin and can easily get a heat rash in the widely varying temperatures you'll encounter during travel. 
  2. DO bring an extra change of clothing for the plane, for both you and your kids. We use this extra set almost every time. 
  3. DON'T bring more than five or six outfits per child, which is more than enough for a three month trip. Kids' clothing can easily be washed in the sink if necessary, and replaced in-country when worn out or too small. 
  4. DON'T overdo it on the toys! Kids have plenty of stimulation during travel, and we promise they won't miss their boatload of toys back home. DO make a point of allowing them to bring one or two sacred items that will help them feel secure, such as a favorite blanket, stuffed animal, action figure, etc. 
  5. DO bring small activities that will entertain them on the flight, such as: sticker and coloring books, etch-a-sketch type drawing pads, and other small, portable games. 

Here are a few sensible family pack lists we can vouch for:

2. The Trip

This is the biggest fear of many parents. Travel is stressful enough as it is, but isn't it practically hellish with children? If you've ever brushed a toddler's teeth against her will, or diffused a stage 5 tantrum in a mall, you've already endured the worst, and it's hardly ever that bad. Here are a few travel tips from the pros to make your sailing even smoother.

3. Education, Socialization, and Adjustment

If your kids are of schooling age, you might be overwhelmed by the educational decisions you now have to make. There are a lot of options, but the decision will be very personal: what is the best fit for your kids' personalities and learning styles, for your own personality and temperament, for your checkbook, etc? First, read the book Third Culture Kids, which is a wonderful examination of what a mobile existence is like emotionally and educationally for children, and has a great comparison of educational options.  

Here are a few other articles that help you envision what it's like to raise and educate your kids on the road. 

Other Resources For Long Term Family Travel 

Long Term Travel with a Baby
The Art of Family Travel by Flashpacker Family
Unexpected Perks of Traveling with Kids by TheLuxpats
Best Family Travel Advice (Podcast, eps 11-20) by Jason Andrew Jenkins

Photo Credits: Menina Mundo


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