Traveling with preschool-age children can be so fun! It can also have its challenges, but if you have a plan and you go prepared with these tips, your experience will be so much better. We currently have 2 preschoolers and a baby and we travel several times a year. Here are some things we have learned to help make the trip a wonderful time for everyone!
- Build Up Excitement. Some parents don't tell their kids they are going on vacation because they like to surprise them. While I see the fun in that, we find that our experience is better when we build up excitement leading up to our trip. This also allows your kids to “earn” money for souvenirs or other fun things. This is HUGE. When kids earn their own money for the trip, you will have less begging because they know they have a certain amount to spend. They are also more thoughtful about what they want to purchase. We also enjoy announcing our trip in fun ways. For fun ideas, check out this article on fun ways to announce a trip and fuel excitement for your family vacations.
- Be Prepared With Entertainment. You are going to have moments in restaurants, in lines and in travel time (whether by car or by plane) that your kids are bored. To avoid frustrations for everyone involved, make sure you are prepared with some boredom busters. We have lots of Busy Bag Ideas and travel printables right here on mothersniche.com and we also recommend this list of Travel Apps, Games & Toys for Preschoolers
- Be flexible with Naptimes. This is HUGE. Everyone is going to have a rough time if you try to force a rigid schedule on the road! This doesn't mean that you should forgo naps either, because that too can turn into a nightmare. Watch for cues for when your kids are tired, and take a break for some rest. When we do Disneyland trips, we always take a stroller that can be napped in. This works well for us. For other families, they might book a hotel that is close so that they can take a mid-afternoon break when needed. Don't book every minute of your vacation. Allow for flexibility and downtime.
- Don't Let Hunger Step in on Your Vacation. Little kids can quickly change character if they are hungry. Don't let this happen! Always have snacks on hand for all the unpredictable moments when you may be waiting in lines or stuck in traffic.
- Pack Smart. We love the clear bag method of packing! Simply pack each outfit in a clear zip bag so that it's easy to find outfits for each day. This is also helpful in avoiding fits for preschoolers who love to be independent and dress themselves!
- Have a Change of Clothes. Even if your preschooler is toilet-trained, vacations can throw them off their routine. When we took our 3-year old to Disneyland, she had never had an accident before. However, there was one incident where we couldn't get to a bathroom in time because we got stuck in a Disneyland parade crowd and our experience would have been MUCH better had we brought an extra outfit for her. We ended up wasting a lot of precious vacation time trying to find a solution.
- Be prepared for weather. This goes along with the previous tip in bringing an extra outfit. Make sure your kids also have layers for various weather patterns, even if the forecast looks ok. Rain ponchos are so light and thin that there's no reason not to throw some in a purse, pocket or diaper bag. When we take Disneyland trips, we are always grateful for light jackets or blankets when it gets late at night and the kids start to get cold.
What Tips Do YOU have for traveling with preschool-age children?
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Disney. The opinions and text are all mine.