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5 Tips for Traveling With Young Kids

For young couples, a great outdoor adventure or trip can provide some of the best and most meaningful experiences of their lives. When the couple becomes a family, their desire for a connection with nature and their longing for adventure does not disappear, but going on a trip with young kids is a more complex proposition. It requires much more care in planning and execution, as well as a good deal of patience and a touch of creativity.

While a well-executed outdoor excursion can be one of the best things in your young child’s life, a poorly planned trip can be significantly less fun and sometimes even dangerous. For those who are new to camping, hiking, backpacking and other outdoor activities with a child, you may need some additional pointers on planning and enjoying a safe, successful adventure. This list of tips and strategies for traveling with kids should help you do just that.

1. Choose a kid-friendly destination

Although you may hope to share the same adventure you once had as a couple with your new addition, a young child may not be able to handle that just yet. When choosing your trip destination, the safety, ease, fun and comfort of your child must be the highest priorities, and you must remember this in every element of your planning.

Identify the most kid-friendly destinations and do your homework to research the one that is best suited for your family. Use books, maps, online reviews, blogs, social media and any other resources to collect information and tips about the accommodation, sights and any other relevant aspect of tourist destination.

Generally speaking, it is best to start with a short trail if this is your first journey with your child. As you have undoubtedly learned by now, kids will always bring unexpected surprises, and you do not want to be too far out if your child decides he or she cannot or will not go any further.

2. Prepare snacks and fun activities

Although the great outdoors is full of wonder and amazing sights, young children generally will not appreciate this in the same way as grown-ups. You will need to make your preparations with your child’s interest in mind and determine the best ways to keep his or her interest during the vacation. With that being said, snacks or sweet treats can be a great motivator. You can establish a time or distance in advance, and once the goal has been reached, your child can be rewarded with their favorite Lindor chocolate truffle.

You can also keep the journey interesting to your child by doing some fun activities. It does not have to be anything too complex, but simple games of chasing round the park, visit theme parks, zoos and aquariums that can bring out the fun for children. As you take more trips and become more experienced at traveling with your child, you will develop more creative and interesting activities along the way.

3. Keep safety as the number one priority

Although this probably goes without saying, the safety of your child should always be paramount in all planning and preparation. Depending on the age of your child, the safety rules will vary. If you have a toddler or younger child, you may not need to establish rules yet, as you are unlikely to let them get too far from you anyway.

However, once your child grows older and more independent, you will have to establish and discuss some strict ground rules before heading out. Some basic guidelines include:

  • Always stay within sight of Mom or Dad
  • Always carry a safety whistle; many children's packs have them built in.
  • Establish what to in case of getting lost. Basically, your child should know to stop, stay put and blow the whistle in short bursts.
  • Other rules will be necessary depending on your child, destination and circumstances.

4. Prepare your gear carefully

While you may have done the perfect packing job for yourself, it is important that everyone in your group packs some of the essentials for themselves. Maps, extra clothes and water should be carried by everyone. Whistles are also very useful in case you become separated. Your child will likely also want to have some of the same gear as Mom and Dad, even if it is not entirely necessary yet.

What is important for your young child is the clothing and footwear for your trip. Since kids’ skin is much more sensitive, you should take care to keep them shaded and protected from the elements with long sleeves and a hat. As soon as your child is old enough to walk for a significant distance on his own, you will also need to buy proper footwear.

5. Be flexible

Although you may try and prepare for every possible situation and circumstances before heading out, kids have an uncanny way of throwing a wrench into the best of plans. You should always remain flexible and try to remember that this is an adventure for everyone.


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