Traveling with Kids – The Must-Haves Guide

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Originally published August 1, 2018 and updated January 2024.

As a military child, I traveled thousands of miles, by almost every mode of transportation. As a mother of three with an active duty spouse, I’ve traveled thousands of miles with one, two and three children of every age by plane and by car. I’ve learned what is truly critical to making your trip bearable and even enjoyable when you are traveling with kids

family of 4 hugging and looking out of airport window at airplane on the ground with title text reading Traveling with Kids The Must-Haves Guide

This military mom has learned the hard way what is important to have when you are traveling with kids. Here is a list of must-haves for traveling with children. 

Traveling with Kids – The Must-Haves Guide

EarPlanes Ear Plugs – A pressure regulating ear plugs for children to prevent the discomfort of ear pressure while flying. They help your child travel more comfortably and makes travel more pleasant for those sitting around you. 

Looking for the best travel backpack? Be sure to check out this review of 13 different options.

Baby Headphones Noise Cancelling Headphones

 Ages 0-24 Months

Baby Ear Protection for Airplane Travel or any Noisy Event

Comfortable and Improves Sleep

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Free Printable Travel Checklist – Use this free printable travel checklist so that you don’t forget to pack a thing, whether you need a vacation packing list or a business trip packing list or a conference packing list, it’s all here in one checklist.

Free Printable What to Bring in Your Carry-On Checklist – Wondering what you should be packing in your carry-on? Use this carry-on checklist so you never forget what you really need and want to bring in a carry-on bag.

BCOZZY Travel Pillow for Children – A soft and flexible travel pillow that supports your child’s head that allows restful sleep while sitting upright on a place or in a car. And we all know that a well-rested child is much more pleasant to travel with!

Travel Set of 2 Seatbelt Covers for Adults and Kids
$28.75

Seat Belt Cushion Pillow

Pad for More Comfortable Driving

Shoulder Strap Covers Harness Pad for Car/Bag

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03/13/2024 02:58 am GMT
8-Piece Deluxe Compression Packing Cubes for Travel - Luxury Suitcase Organizer Bags, Large, Small, & Medium Set
$34.97

8-PIECE SET COMPRESSION TRAVEL CUBES: 2 Large & 1 Medium, 2 Small, 2 Accessory Bags, 1 Laundry/Shoe Bag, and 50 luggage tag cards

SPACE-SAVING DESIGN: Experience the revolution of packing with our HybridMax DOUBLE CAPACITY COMPRESSION DESIGN (patent-pending). No matter the journey, our packing cubes turn chaos into order. Designed for both carry-on and check-in suitcases, our innovative COMPRESSION DESIGN makes travel prep a breeze

FEEL THE LUXURY: Elevate your travels with our PREMIUM TWILL FABRIC packing cube bags. Unlike ordinary cubes with low-quality thin materials, ours offer a superior, tactile experience that whispers quality with every touch

DURABLE STITCHING & ZIPPERS: Say goodbye to travel worries. Our cubes feature robust reinforced stitching and SMOOTH 2-WAY ZIPPERS, ensuring secure, WATER-RESISTANT protection for your belongings

COMPLETE LIFETIME SATISFACTION: Our pledge to product excellence ensures your satisfaction for a lifetime. Rest easy knowing we've got you covered from the moment you choose Well Traveled.

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03/12/2024 01:58 pm GMT

EzPacking Cubes – Packing cubes make packing and finding items during travel so-oooo much easier. EzPacking Cubes are well made from easy-to-clean plastic that is sturdy enough to hold up to many, many trips (and children). They hold their shape which means fewer wrinkles in clothing. They’re clear so you can easily spot the exact item your family members are looking for. Use code ORGANIZED31 to receive 15% off your order.

Why you want EzPacking Cubes for traveling with children:

  • Easy to Organize Your Items by Family Member, Day, Event or Clothing Type
  • Easy to Neatly Pack Your Suitcase
  • Keeps Items Neat and Clean During Travel
  • Easy to Remove and Relocate Items If Your Suitcase Is Too Heavy at the Airport
  • Easy for TSA to Inspect Your Suitcase and Keep it Neat
  • Easy to Unpack Place Items in Hotel 
  • Easy to find and grab what you need from your carry-on when you have a fussy child
4 brightly colored packing cubes in a variety of sizes

Travel Games – Sure, technology is an easy way to keep kids quiet, but interaction and with other family members is a great way to distract kids on a trip. Be sure to balance screen time with interactive game time.

Disinfecting Travel Wipes – Wipes that sanitize and safely clean face and hands. Kills 99% of illness causing germs. Perfect for wiping down meal trays, bathrooms and seats, as well. 

Patience and a Positive Attitude – Let’s face it, traveling with kids is tough. It’s exhausting, both physically and emotionally. It’s stressful. It’s a balancing act between keeping your kids happy, keeping other travelers happy and trying to find some happiness for yourself. The only way to do it is with a lot of patience and by keeping a positive attitude. Think of it as a grand adventure and make the best of it. You’ll be surprised that when you change your outlook on the trip it suddenly becomes more fun and even exciting. 

More Traveling with Kids Tips

Embrace flexibility and remember, it’s an adventure. Traveling with kids can be messy and challenging, but it’s also a unique opportunity to bond and create lasting memories.

Clearly set expectations and be realistic about your expectations given your child’s age and personality. Talk to your kids about what to expect on the trip and what kind of behavior is acceptable.

Consider the different transportation options available, such as flying, driving, or taking a train. Choose the option that best suits your needs, budget, your children’s needs and factor in travel time when planning your itinerary.

Pack child-friendly snacks and drinks. Having snacks on hand can help prevent meltdowns caused by hunger or thirst.

Pack smart and light. Pack for comfort and practicality. Pack layers to adapt to different temperatures and situations.

Pack entertainment essentials. Pack small, lightweight toys, games, and books to keep kids occupied during travel and downtime. Download offline movies or shows for tablets/phones.

Prioritize breaks and downtime. Plan breaks during long journeys, ideally with playgrounds or open spaces for kids to run around. Even short breaks will help. Kids need time to relax and recharge, especially after busy activities. Factor in quiet time or nap breaks in your itinerary.

Be prepared for meltdowns. Have strategies for dealing with tantrums and frustration. Pack comfort items like a favorite blanket or toy, practice deep breathing exercises, and stay calm yourself.

Travel Checklist Pack – Travel checklist pack of 3 checklists and 1 sheet of 25 must-have travel items. You’ll never forget to pack an item again nor will you forget any of those necessary tasks to prepare for a trip. Works great for business or vacation trips and for individual or family travel.

images of 4 green. blue and red checklists for travel preparation

Tips for Packing a Suitcase Like Military Family – Tips for packing a suitcase to move across the country or across the world from my experience of more than 25 moves.

open neatly packed suitcase with military hat on top.

Comprehensive Travel Gifts for Men Guide – 85+ travel gifts for men (and anyone), with gift ideas for every budget and interest. Find the perfect present for the traveler on your list.

hands packing clothes into small blue suitcase on bed.

For my top moving and travel tips, hacks and printables check out the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.

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4 Comments

  1. I’ve never heard of those ear plans plugs for kids. That was often an issue, and often still is, as we have a fair amount of sinus trouble in our family. When your ears don’t pop, it hurts!! That backpack is so cute. And it could be stored away and used only for traveling, so it could also be a repository for travel supplies:)

    1. We always had “travel only toys” and keeping them in a “travel only” backpack is a great idea, Seana!

  2. What a useful post this Summer. Not long ago we came back from a vacation in the Caribbean, which included 3 flights and about 24 hours of travel each way. Our 4 and 7 year old did so well but the screens could only entertain and keep them happy for so long (although my 7 year old did manage to watch the Ninjago movie 3 times).
    I really like your list of easy to pack games that also don’t take up a ton of space.
    We make sure that the kids have each their own small carry-on with all their own stuff and a few snacks in there. They feel so proud to be in charge of stuff themselves and they feel a lot more ownership of keeping entertained when they know what they have to choose from. Also, we make sure that snack and meal time is not coupled with screen time so that each “activity” gets it’s full worth.

    Thanks again for a really nice blog.

    1. Snacks are key to happy travels, aren’t they, Kristine? šŸ™‚ I love that you keep each activity, eating and screen time, distinct and separate. So smart!!

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