From the back of the car, a tiny voice asks how long ’til you arrive at Grandma’s house. Six hours—six hours to go.

Family vacations can make some of the best memories, but parents of young children know it isn’t always easy to keep everyone happy on a trip.

Next time you load up the little ones for an adventure, skip the migraine medicine and check out these tips for traveling with kids.


First, when planning your trip, be creative. Some of the most popular family destinations are extremely expensive, while those off the beaten path may be just as enjoyable—for a fraction of the price.

“Look for ‘hidden gems,’” says Mimi Slawoff, a travel columnist at LA Parent Magazine. “For example, the central California coast is much more affordable than LA or Malibu.”


When packing, consider mixing everyone’s clothes between bags. Ensure that everyone has one complete outfit in each suitcase, so if a suitcase gets lost, the damage is minimal. 

When you embark, timing is essential. “If you have a long flight, try to arrive at your destination in the late afternoon so you can all eat dinner and head straight to bed. Arriving in the morning with a whole day ahead of you is going to be painful,” says Erin Bender, a mom of two who blogs about her family travels at Bender suggests following your regular bedtime routine while traveling.

To cut down on costs, whether at the airport or on the road, bring your own snacks since airport and convenience store food is often expensive. Be wary of anything too salty or sugary, and watch out for choking hazards. 


For entertainment en route, bring small, easy-to-pack toys for your child to play with. If you fly, avoid toys that make noise, which can irritate other passengers.

You may want to invest in a new toy for the trip to help keep your child occupied and quiet. Toys and other items that travel well include books, toy cars, coloring books, and stickers.

With these tips, you’ll be ready to take on your next trip to Grandma’s—and actually enjoy the journey.

—Meg Monk

Photo by Larchleaf. cc