Travel with Kids

20 Tips to Make Traveling with Kids Enjoyable

Traveling with kids can be a real challenge but it can also be an amazing family experience. The key is finding the balance between the stress of traveling and the joy of travel. Our goal is to give you travel tips to make your next family vacation stress free.

Use our family travel guide to be prepared for air travel, road trips, what you need to pack, travel checklist, hotel hacks and more. Everything you need to know about traveling with kids.

20 Tips for Traveling with Kids on a plane, in a car, packing & more. Get the best Travel Hacks for Families to survive family vacation and road trips. #travelhacks #travelingwithkids #familyvacation #roadtrips
This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to buy something using my link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, see my disclaimer here.

20 Tips to Make Traveling with Kids Enjoyable

What to Do Before You Go

One of the keys to having a stress free vacation is to be prepared before you go on vacation. Here are a few things to do before you go on a family vacation.

Research your Destination

Find out what to expect in your vacation destination. Get answers to these questions

  • Where would be the best location to stay
  • Which airport to fly into
  • What Attractions do you want to see

This is a fun task to do with the kids to get them excited about your upcoming trip. Let them help you pick which attractions you’re going to visit while on vacation. Book some of them ahead of time so you have less to do when you get there.

Book Your Airfare

Now that you know the airport you need to book your flight. I would suggest booking the time of your flights based on what is best for your kids.

For example, think about nap times and when your kids need to eat, when are they most active. Some people like to fly during nap time in hopes kids will sleep others like to go in the morning when kids are less crabby.

Take time to scan travel websites to find the best deals. Tuesday and Wednesday usually have lower rates and Sunday tends to be the most expensive.

Decide on Hotel or Vacation Rental

I would think about where you’re going and decide if it’s better for your family to stay at a hotel or vacation rental. Both have different positives and negatives.

Hotels often offer more amenities such as restaurants, pools, kids clubs, stores, and concierge services. However, the rooms tend to be smaller and there is little separation between you and the kids.

Vacation Rentals usually have more space for families to spread out and nice amenities like kitchens, washer dryers, and separate bedrooms & living rooms. The downside is you are more on your own without help from hotel staff and there tend to have fewer amenities like pools and restaurants.

One of our favorite sites for finding hotels and rental deals is booking.com. We really like the reviews people leave and have found some great prices.

Booking.com

Budget for Your Trip

Figure out a budget for your trip so you know how much you’re going to be spending. This will help you decide how much you have to spend on airlines, attractions, food, and hotels. Use our Free Trip Cost Calculator to help you make your travel budget.

Pre Travel Checklist

Free Printable Pre-Travel Checklist - Get ready for family vacation.

There is so much to get done before you leave on vacation. Make sure you don’t forget anything with this free printable Pre-Travel Checklist of 30 Things to Do Before Going on Vacation.

Some of the tasks include getting your passport, transportation to the airport, putting mail on hold, getting pet care, paying bills and more. Use this comprehensive checklist and you’ll never leave home wondering what you forgot again.

What You Need When Traveling with Kids

What to Pack & Not Pack

One of the biggest keys to travel is not to overpack. This is really hard for me but I have found unless you’re traveling somewhere very remote you can get most things at your destination.

What you’ll need is clothes, toiletries, medicines and entertainment (books, iPad, small games). If you have smaller kids you might need a pack n play, diapers, wipes, and other baby items.

To make sure you have everything you need to take on vacation use our free printable Family Travel Checklist.

Ultimate Family Travel Checklist to get you prepared for traveling with Kids. Everything you need to pack for your vacation. You'll never forget things again.  #freeprintable #travelchecklist #travelingwithkids #familyvacation

Snacks

Snack container for road trips when traveling with kids.  Easy DIY Snack container. #snacks #roadtrip #travelingwithkids
DIY Snack Container for Kids

I find with kids snacks are the key to a great vacation. Even though you might limit them at home on vacation it will just keep everyone happy. You do not need a hungry kid having a meltdown on the plane or at an attraction.

I usually pack some small bags of goldfish, fruit snacks or pretzels in my purse for the plane ride or when at local attractions. If your driving pack a few bigger boxes of snacks for the hotel room. Then just bring a few reusable containers or zip lock bags and refill up the snacks in your room before you head out to an attraction.

This will also be a lot cheaper than buying snacks at the airport or local attractions.

Tip: Make a DIY Snack Container with an unused wipes holder. Kids can color it and fill it with snacks for your road trip. (pictured above)

Stroller or Car Seat

Stroller

Depending on your child’s age you might want to bring a stroller on your vacation. I find strollers are great to have in airports to keep the kids moving to your gate plus it can hold some of your carryons.

One of our favorites is the lightweight and compact Summer 3Dlite Stroller. Unlike umbrella travel strollers, it has a large storage space, higher handles for parents, and a 4 position recline when they need to nap. Plus it folds up easily.

Car Seat

You can also check a car seat when you get to the airport so that you have one for the car ride to your destination. Before you go check and see if your transportation from the airport or rental car company can supply a car seat for you. If they can great you can skip this step.

If your child is in a booster seat we love the cool mifold Grab and Go Booster Seat. It’s a fold-up booster seat you can throw in your purse. The booster adjusts the seatbelt so it hits your child in the correct spot. A great option for traveling families.

Air Travel with Kids

Leave Extra Time

There are lots of things at the airport that will take up your time. Check-in, security, bathroom stops, food, and boarding. To reduce your stress level traveling with kids get there early. This way when the line at security takes to long you’re not getting anxiety about missing your flight.

Backpacks and Rolling Bags for Kids

With kids, you always have tons to carry. Make it easier by having your child bring with a small rolling bag or backpack to hold their items. Let them help pack their bag to get them excited about bringing it and carrying or rolling it themselves through the airport.

Many of the rolling bags are also backpacks like this cute Minnie Mouse Bag. Perfect for Disney Vacations.

If you want it to last longer choose a bag that doesn’t have a character on it like this cool blue rolling backpack.

Entertainment for the Flight

Bingo Travel Games for Kids. Keep kids entertained on road trips and airplane flights with fun travel games.

Keep the kids busy on your flight by bringing games and electronics for them to play. We often bring cards, magnetic games, coloring books, and wiki sticks to keep the kids busy. I find when their busy they are not complaining.

Get some nonelectronic entertainment ideas in my Must Have Family Travel Gadgets from Amazon.

If you plan to bring an iPad for the kids make sure to download movies or shows before you leave home. That way they will have something to watch even if you can’t get wifi. Also, don’t forget to bring earphones to listen to their shows. I like to get headphones that limit the volume level to protect their ears.

Bring Extra Clothes

We have had a baby or two spit up on us on a plane flight and it’s not fun. I would suggest throwing an extra shirt for you and a change of clothes for your child in your carry on. It’s terrible sitting wet on a flight for hours and there is nowhere to get new clothes.

Help Your Ears To Pop

When you increase and decrease altitude in a plane your ears tend to pop. Pack the following items to help your kids pop their ears.

  • Gummy Bears or Fruit Snacks
  • Lollipops
  • Gum for older children
  • A bottle for babies – try to time it so you are feeding your baby a bottle while the plane is ascending and descending.
  • Pacifier for babies

Road Trip Travel Tips

Traveling with Kids Road Trip Hacks

Another great way to get to your destination is a car road trip. This will save you tons of money on travel that you can use for a great hotel or attractions at your destination.

General Road Trip Tips:

  • Start out the trip by getting yourself organized. I like to have a bin in the car with a top that holds all the kid’s toys. This can be placed in between them so they can easily get items by themselves. It also makes it easier to unload the car when you get to your destination.
  • Have some type of surface for the kids to play games and eat in the car. We like to use a travel tray for their lap.
  • Plan ahead where you are going to stop for the night to make sure you can find a hotel especially during the busy summer travel months. You’d be surprised how quickly roadside hotels fill up.
  • Have a general plan for your trip but be flexible for issues with traffic and how many times you may have to stop with kids.

Get more general travel tips in 15 Road Trip Tips to Survive a Family Vacation

Travel Apps to Help Your Road Trip

I love to use travel apps to help make our trip go smoothly. One of our favorites is the WAZE app which helps you find the best route to your destination.

It adjusts as you drive for any traffic jams or bad road conditions. What’s really cool is other drivers tell you what is happening up ahead so you know why you’re stopped in traffic.

Another favorite is the iExit App. This one tells you what is at all the upcoming exits along your route. Use it to find the restaurants you want to eat and gas stations to stop. It’s a great way to plan your stops and find restaurants for picky eaters or dietary restrictions.

Get all our favorite free Road Trip Apps for an easy ride.

Booking.com

Entertainment for the Road Trips

Busy Bags for Traveling with Kids on Road Trips. Pack fun travel games and activities to keep kids happy while on road trips or airplane travel. #roadtrips #travelingwithkids #travelgames #travelactivities #busybags

The key to a happy road trip is keeping the kids busy. There is a lot less whining and happier parents when they have things to do. Just like on the airplane ride you’ll want small games and maybe some electronics.

Busy Bags are a fun way to make the trip go faster. Create small bags to give out to your kids every few hours of the road trip. You can fill each bag with inexpensive small toys and coloring books. It’s more the excitement of something new rather than the price. Get inspired with our 15 Best Travel Games for Kids at Dollar Tree.

General Family Travel Tips

How to Save Money

  • A great way to save money while you travel is with food. Save on food by packing your own breakfast to have in your hotel room. It will give you more time to get ready in the morning and save you money.
  • Find local free events and free activities to do at your destination with the kids. You’ll be surprised how much you can find. Here’s a sample of Free Things to do in Naples Florida
  • Travel at off-peak times when hotel and airline rates are cheaper.

Get More Money-Saving Tips in How to Travel Cheap on Family Vacation.

Scheduled Downtime

It’s important to remember when traveling with kids to schedule in some downtime. If you are constantly on the go kids can get overtired and pretty cranky. Make it easier on all of you by enjoying some time just hanging out at the hotel swimming, reading or watching a movie.

Hotel Hacks

Make your stay at the hotel less stressful with the kids by using some simple hotel hacks. Here are a few quick tips but you can find more in our Ultimate Family Hotel Hacks.

  • Bring a roll of masking tape or painters tape to baby proof outlets.
  • Roll a shower towel under the door to block out noise from the hallway and light.
  • Use the Ironing Board as a table for your kids to eat
  • Make a baby changing station by a nightlight for quick diaper changes in the middle of the night.

Beach Hacks

Beach Hacks to make your Beach Vacation with Kids Easy and Fun.

If you’re headed to a beach destination you’ll want to spend most of your time hanging out at the beach with the kids. This can be amazing or make you a little crazy. Make your visit fun and memorable by doing a little pre-planning.

  • Make sure to pack a blanket, sand toys, drinks, and snacks.
  • Keep your cell phone protected with a waterproof case so you can take lots of pictures.
  • Use a Pringles can to hide your money and keys.
  • Get there early and stake our your spot

Get more ideas at 20 Beach Hacks to Survive A Family Day at the Beach. #4 is genius!

I hope these tips for traveling with kids have got your excited about your upcoming vacation. Just using a few of these travel tips will make your next family vacation less stressful and more relaxed and fun.

If you need some travel inspiration check out our Favorite Family Travel Destinations.

Do you have a great family travel tip? Please leave it in the comment. I love to hear from my readers.

Did you enjoy reading these tips? Join the Happy Mom Hacks community where we find ways to make a mom’s life easier and get our weekly newsletter. Bonus for signing up you get a free Ultimate Family Travel Packing List to be ready for your next vacation.

Subscribe to Happy Mom Hacks Newsletter and have access to the Ultimate Family Travel Checklist. Plus great Mom tips and tricks and family travel ideas.

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Don’t Forget to Pin this for Later

Top Tips & Hacks for Traveling with Kids. How to survive in a car or on a plane for family vacation. Get hacks for Road trips, hotel hacks, beach hacks, packing & travel checklists to make it a stress free trip with kids. Enjoy your upcoming vacation. #travelingwithkids #travelhacks #Traveltips #roadtrip
Ultimate Travel Tips for Kids & planning a family vacation. Car trips, airplane rides, hotel tips and more. Everything to do before you go on vacation, packing for a family and how to  entertain the kids while you travel. The compete family trip planner. Be ready for an awesome family vacation.  #traveltips #familyvacation #travelwithkids #traveltipsforkids #vacationplanner

Fun Family Travel Destinations

Ultimate Family Travel Checklist to get you prepared for traveling with Kids. Everything you need to pack for your vacation. You'll never forget things again.  #freeprintable #travelchecklist #travelingwithkids #familyvacation
Travel with Kids

20 Genius Hotel Hacks for Family Vacation

Want to make your next family vacation less stressful? Let me help you have a fun and relaxing family getaway with these unique hotel hacks for families.

20 Genius hotel tips and tricks from keeping the morning sun out, eating in your hotel room, entertaining the kids and so much more. These cool travel hacks for families are going to change the way you travel! No more family travel stress just fun family bonding. Following along with me and find some DIY travel hacks for your next family vacation.

This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to buy something using my link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, see my disclaimer here.

20 Genius Hotel Hacks to Make Family Vacation Easy

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Cleaning Your Hotel Room

Update – I have added this update for cleaning your room during the COVID-19 pandemic. Feel better about traveling during this time with these simple tips.

Pack a container of Lysol or Clorox Disinfectant wipes. When you enter your room wipe down hard surfaces, doorknobs, light switches, and bathroom. Anything you think your kids or you will touch

Put the TV remote control in a big zip lock bag. This way you can use it without touching the buttons.

Skip using the decorative pillows and bed spread as they are not always cleaned after each use. If your on a road trip pack a blanket and pillow to use instead.

Don’t put your suitcase on the bed or furniture. Suitcases tend to be dragged around as you travel so may have picked up dirt or germs.

Keep the Sun Out

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If your kids are getting up when the sun cracks through the hotel room windows in the morning you need to make a change. Who wants to get up early on vacation.

Bring with chip clips, binder clips or wooden clothespins to hold the two drapes together. They are small and lightweight to bring with and easily fit into your suitcase. This will keep the sun out of your room in the morning and let you get a few more precious minutes sleep.

Painter Tape to Baby Proof the Room

You can do so much with a roll of painter’s tape in your hotel room. Use these hotel hacks with painters tape to let yourself relax a little while in the room with crawling babies or toddlers.

Covering Outlets

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Cover up the outlets for little ones by placing painters tape over the holes. This will keep them from sticking their fingers in the outlets.

Worried about packing all that baby gear? Guess what you don’t have to with BabyQuip! This amazing baby rental company featured on Shark Tank will deliver everything to you.

Keep Drawers & Cabinets Closed

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Does your little one love opening and closing drawers and cabinets but it’s driving you crazy? Keep them closed by placing painters tape across the openings.

You can also use bungee cords to keep drawers and cabinets in the room closed. It’s a simple way to baby proof the room.

Rolling off the Bed

Keep your little ones from rolling off the hotel bed by putting one or two of the pillows under the fitted sheet. This will work as a bumper to keep them in the bed while they sleep.

Another option is to bring inflatable bed bumpers like the one below. These fit easily in your suitcase and are great for visiting grandparents or friends’ homes.

Fighting Over Space in the Bed

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If you have more than one kid sleeping in a bed block off sides of the bed by lining pillows down the middle. This will stop the kids from arguing about whose side of the bed they are on.

For parents, it will keep the kids from kicking you all night long. Amazing right!

Related Article 15 Travel Tips to Survive a Family Vacation

Pack in Play

Want to put the baby down to bed early and not have to go to bed early yourself? Put the pack in play in the bathroom. You can close the door to the bathroom and still be able to have the lights on or watch tv in the room while the baby sleeps.

Keep it quiet for the baby by using the exhaust fan in the bathroom to keep the noise out.

If you are staying at a hotel that doesn’t offer pack n plays or if your visiting someone’s home the Baby Joy travel crib is a great option. (Pictured below)

It’s a lightweight fold-up travel crib that can double as a playpen in the hotel room. A travel crib is a safe place for the baby to play while you are getting ready for your day of fun on vacation. Then use it as a crib at night.

Keep the Noise Out

Want to keep your room quiet and block out the noise from other hotel guests? I have two easy hotel hacks to do this.

Use a Towel

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Roll up a towel and place it under your hotel room door. This will block out the noise and any light coming in.

Subscribe to Happy Mom Hacks Newsletter and have access to the Ultimate Family Travel Checklist. Plus great Mom tips and tricks and family travel ideas.

Fan

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When we drive on our family vacations I always pack a small fan to run in the room while we sleep. It blocks out the noise of other hotel guests and keeps the room from getting too stuffy.

Laundry Bags

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If you have little ones with diapers you tend to run out of space in those small hotel garbage cans quickly. Use the free hotel laundry bags as an extra garbage for all those diapers and wipes.

You can also use the bags for actual laundry to help separate what needs to be washed when you get home. It’s so nice to just pull a bag out of your suitcase and leave it by the washer to clean after a long trip. No more remembering what the kids wore on vacation.

Related Article How to Travel Cheap on Family Vacation

Wifi

If your hotel makes you pay extra for Wifi use your phone as a hotspot for your kid’s electronics. An easy hotel hack to save money.

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Eating In Your Room

A huge hotel hack for saving money on Family Vacation is bringing food to eat in your hotel room.

Forget paying for a pricy breakfast when most hotel rooms nowadays have small refrigerators and microwaves. Here are a few hotel tips and tricks to make eating in your room easier.

Ironing Board

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Use an ironing board as a table for your kids. Genius right! Use one of the hotel room towels as a table cloth so no food gets on the ironing board. This is much better than having them eat on the carpet floor and spilling all over.

In-Room Coffee Pot

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Most rooms have an in-room coffee pot. This is great for coffee or tea for adults but you can also use it to make oatmeal in the morning for breakfast, hot chocolate or for lunch mac n cheese cups or ramen noodle cups.

Warm-up Baby Bottles

Use the coffee mugs provided and fill up with hot water from the coffee maker. Then put the baby bottle in the mug until you reach a warm temperature that’s right for the baby.

Related ArticleUltimate Travel Checklist of Things to do Before Vacation

Night Lights

Pack a couple of night lights to use in the room. We usually put one in the main room and one in the bathroom. It makes getting around at night so much easier, and the kids aren’t scared in the dark.

Changing Station

Set up a changing station area when the kids are little before you go to bed. I would place it near a night light so you can quickly change the baby without waking everyone else up. Plus not turning on the lights might help the baby go back to sleep quicker.

I like to use fold-out changing pads like the one below. It holds diapers, wipes and folds up into a small case I can throw in my suitcase.

Room Phone

Do your little ones love to pick up the hotel room phone? Stop fighting them about it and just unplug the phone jack. No one really calls you on a hotel phone and it’s one less battle to fight.

Extra Beds

Bringing travel beds is a great option for hotel rooms when you have multiple children or if you are visiting someone’s home on vacation and need some extra beds

Blow Up Beds

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We find sometimes sharing beds in hotel rooms just leads to no one getting any sleep. If we are driving to our destination we will pack a blow-up mattress and let the kids trade-off between the bed and blow up. This way everyone sleeps well and they think it’s fun to have their own beds.

Toddler Blow Up Bed

If you have a toddler that you are worried will roll off a big hotel bed try a small toddler blow up bed. The toddler size blow up has sides to keep them from rolling off and they fit in comfortably. Here is one that we used when our kids were little. Blow Up Toddler Bed

Portable Folding Cots

Another option is to bring a portable junior cot for kids. These fit easily in a bag and just unfold for simple and quick assembly. They are surprisingly comfortable too! Just bring along a sleeping bag and your ready.

Entertainment in the Hotel Room

Car Racing

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Remember that roll of painters tape you packed. Use it to make a cool race track on the hotel room floor. The tape won’t leave a mark and your kids will have something to keep them busy.

Card Games

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Card games are small to pack and can easily be played on a bed or the floor of a hotel room. We love to play Go Fish with little ones and Uno for the older kids. Another great game is Right Left Center. Super simple and fun to play as a family.

Road Trip Tips

Want some fun road trip games for the hotel room, airplane, and car rides? Check out my Awesome Dollar Tree Games & Activities on Road Trips. Includes entertaining games, travel hacks, and Busy Bag ideas.

No time to shop? Visit Our Favorite Road Trip Games on Amazon. You’ll love the Wiki Sticks and magnetic games for hotel rooms and restaurants too.

Can’t fit all your baby gear in the car or take it on the plane? No problem have them delivered to your hotel room by BabyQuip. They’re our favorite family travel hack for getting cribs, strollers, car seats, and more on vacation.

Beach Hacks

If you like these travel hacks you’ll love our cool Beach Hacks too! Get my sly ways to hide your money, keep your phone dry, get rid of the sand and so much more. 20 Beach Hacks to Survive a Day at the Beach with Kids

Are you ready to try out these amazing hotel hacks on your next family vacation? I hope my hotel tips and tricks make your family travel less stressful and encourage you to take more fun family getaways. Now go out and make some new family memories!

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Ultimate Family Travel Checklist to get you prepared for traveling with Kids. Everything you need to pack for your vacation. You'll never forget things again. #freeprintable #travelchecklist #travelingwithkids #familyvacation

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for family travel ideas, kid’s activities, household hacks, and fun parenting humor to give you a laugh each day.

Don’t forget to Pin these Hacks

Awesome Hotel Travel Hacks with Kids. Best Tips & Tricks for family travel. De-stress your next family vacation with simple DIY hacks to do in your hotel room. #hotelhacks #travelhacks #traveltips #travelwithkids #familyvacation
Travel Tips & Hacks with Kids. Tips & Tricks to make staying in a hotel room easier for family travel. How to make food in your room, cover outlets, block out the sun and noise and so much more. Check it out! #traveltips #travelhacks #travelwithkids #hotelhackswithkids #familytravel #familyvacation

More Family Travel Tips

Unforgettable Family Travel Destinations

Subscribe to Happy Mom Hacks Newsletter and have access to the Ultimate Family Travel Checklist. Plus great Mom tips and tricks and family travel ideas.
Genius Hotel Travel Hacks for Kids. DIY travel tips & tricks for an easy hotel stay on family vacation. Make your next road trip or vacation awesome and stress free. #hotelhacks #familyvacation #traveltips #travelhacks
20 Genius Hotel Hacks & Tips for Family Vacation. Plus how to clean your hotel room. Cheap hotels tips for kids to make your visit stress free.  You won't believe you didn't think of these easy fixes before. #travelhacks #hotelhacks #hoteltips #traveltips #familyvacation #travelwithkids