Tips For Traveling With Kids

Are we there yet? This is a question a child usually asks when traveling, but one a parent will begin to rehearse in their mind if not prepared for traveling! Before you begin to worry about the details for your family travels though, we at YWAM Louisville want to share some helpful tips from the parents here, who continue to travel with their children throughout the world!

When traveling with children you’re constantly learning new things along the way and here are some practical ways that can make it go smoothly for your family!

Before You Head Out the Door

“Make it a team effort with your spouse. Designate roles and stick with them! Example: I’m in charge of the stroller, you’re in charge of  [Insert Parental Role].” –Jesse Priddy, YWAM Louisville Mission Adventures Director 

“Know your destination and what’s available. That helps you to not overpack or underpack.” –Steph Culp, YWAM Louisville Accounting Department 

“I like to take a jar of peanut butter for an easy protein for the kids.” –Carmelita Landers, YWAM Louisville Base Coordinator

“Find out ahead of time if you can do laundry on your trip. That will cut down on packing.” –Steph Culp, YWAM Louisville Accounting Department 

“Praying for each child specifically before you go is important.” –Jesse Priddy, YWAM Louisville Mission Adventures Director 

“Make sure the kids are well rested before you begin traveling. If their sleep schedule is off it can be a rough start.” –Jesse Priddy, YWAM Louisville Mission Adventures Director 

“Bring enough diapers for the travel part and buy diapers when you get to your destination.” –Heather Tyler, YWAM Louisville Children’s Ministry Coordinator

Don’t overpack! In most places you have access to buy the things you need.” –Carmelita Landers, YWAM Louisville Base Coordinator

10 Helpful Things to Remember to Bring Along
  1. Snacks, Snacks, Snacks -they are your best friend when traveling with kids.
  2. Hand Sanitizer and Baby Wipes
  3. Sunscreen
  4. Diapers, wipes, burp rags, bibs, pull ups, etc.
  5. Kid CO. Pea Pod collapsible tent  -skip the bulky pack ‘n play
  6. Plastic and ziplock bags
  7. Toys and entertainment -lots of coloring books and if you have a Tablet or iPad, some offline downloads of Netflix is helpful.
  8. First Aid Kit
  9. Child’s blankie or pillow
  10. Your child -haha let’s be real.

* Free Family Packing List

The Car Ride

“When you are road-tripping, plan ahead for rest stops that have a playground or something fun for kids to run out their energy.” –Jesse Priddy, YWAM Louisville Mission Adventures Director 

“Buy a few toys from the dollar store and every few hours bring out the new toy. This helps time pass and keeps them preoccupied!” –Steph Culp, YWAM Louisville Accounting Department 

“Potty breaks are a must. And even if they say they don’t have to go take them anyway to at least try.” –Jesse Priddy, YWAM Louisville Mission Adventures Director 

10 Things to add to the “Don’t Forget” List For the Car Ride
  1. Plenty of Snacks -you can find more snack ideas and food that travels well here.
  2. Pillow
  3. Paper Towels for spills as well as taking the place of napkins
  4. Plastic Silverware
  5. Small cooler
  6. Blankets
  7. Phone charger
  8. Tablet or iPad
  9. Spill-proof sippy cups for younger children
  10. Entertainment -can include magnetic storyboards, drawing boards, their favorite toy, I spy book, etc. Find more entertainment ideas check here.

*35 Essentials to Pack for the Family Road Trip

When At the Airport

“Airports and most airlines tend to be a little cold. Bringing some warmer clothes for your child such as a jacket and warm socks is helpful.” –Carmelita Landers, YWAM Louisville Base Coordinator

“I flew with my one year old. I put him in a sling or something that straps him to you. You can then sleep on the plane and not have to be worried about your arms falling asleep or holding him the whole time.” –Heather Tyler, YWAM Louisville Children’s Ministry Coordinator

“If your going to use a sleep aid for your child make sure to try it out it before hand to know if they respond well to it.” –Carmelita Landers, YWAM Louisville Base Coordinator

“Keep your car seat with you as an oversized carry-on. I’ve heard stories of having to buy a new car seat so you could leave the airport because they lost the cars seat or it was delayed.” –Heather Tyler, YWAM Louisville Children’s Ministry Coordinator

“If you have a baby suck on a pacifier during the take off and landing it helps with the air popping we tend to experience.” –Carmelita Landers, YWAM Louisville Base Coordinator

“If your flying with small children and the bassinet is an option, get it cause it is well worth the cost.” –Derek Culp, YWAM Louisville Discipleship Training School Leader

Snacks for in the airplane -airplane food isn’t always good and depending on your flight it might be long.” –Carmelita Landers, YWAM Louisville Base Coordinator

Bring plastic bags for the blowout clothes. Bags that have a zipper/seal are best so you can throw them in your diaper bag without getting everything else gross.” –Heather Tyler, YWAM Louisville Children’s Ministry Coordinator

10 things to add to the “Don’t Forget” List For the Airport
  1. Airplane friendly snacks  -protein snacks are also helpful for the flight.
  2. Child’s documents and passport -having a copy of the child’s passport is helpful in case it would get lost or misplaced.
  3. Set of spare clothes
  4. Socks and jacket for chilly flight
  5. Empty bottle to fill with water when on the plane
  6. Gum or pacifier (depending on child’s age) for take off or landing
  7. Zarbee’s -if traveling to another country and if their old enough to take it.
  8. Travel diaper bags -our personal favorite is one with backpack straps.
  9. Light and easy collapsible stroller
  10. Child’s stuffed animal and blanket

*Here is a good resource to check out before you head to the airport with kids.

When In Another Country

Bring snacks your kids are familiar with when in a different culture. Then they can have their goldfish or animal crackers despite being somewhere unfamiliar.” –Karina Priddy, YWAM Louisville Hospitality Department 

“Don’t create such a bubble that they can’t experience the culture.” –Andy Landers, YWAM Louisville Base Director

“Remember most kids adapt pretty quickly. Prepare ahead of time and it will be great!” –Karina Priddy, YWAM Louisville Hospitality Department 

“Teach them that all animals are not safe when in a unfamiliar location.” –Carmelita Landers, YWAM Louisville Coordinator

“Have your children wear the same color shirt to spot them quickly.” –Carmelita Landers, YWAM Louisville Base Coordinator

“Travel light and practical.” –Karina Priddy, YWAM Louisville Hospitality Department 

Less is more. You’re carrying so much baby gear that you will feel like a pack mule. So, narrow down your stuff so the load is lighter. Use a small purse for your things, one that you can easily fold up into your diaper bag or take out when it’s just you.” –Heather Tyler, YWAM Louisville Children’s Ministry Coordinator

What are some of your tips you’ve learned along the way that have helped you to travel successfully with kids? Comment below! We’d love to hear!

Tiara crowns others with care and compassion, so her name fits her well. She’s the type of person who asks you how you’re doing and you can tell that she really wants to know – so watch out, because if you cross paths with her you’re going to get a whole lot of love, truth, and encouragement. You’re also likely to hear ridiculous jokes at the most unlikely times. She has a passion for evangelism and making Jesus known, all over the world but especially right here in the United States. She has a powerful voice—she is passionate, caring, joyful, loving, and inclusive. She has a way of making others feel like family, and we’re so glad she’s a part of ours too.