Traveling with Kids: Keeping Everyone Happy

Traveling with kids is difficult. Some kids are great, and they seem to be well beyond their years. But then there are other kids that will cry, refuse to eat and make a vacation more of a nightmare than a relaxing time.

But as a parent, I don’t want to give up everything I like to do for my children.

Vacations and traveling are good for kids. Your kids will learn how to:

  • React to new situations
  • Learn about new cultures
  • See the world
  • Experience something new

You don’t need to travel to a new country to learn something new.

I learned that you need to keep everyone happy on your trip, and this often comes down to three main categories:

Food: Dealing with a Fussy Eater

Fussy eaters are exactly how I describe my kids. When I go somewhere new, I dread that my child will hate the food and cry for hours on end no matter what I try feeding him. Babies are easy. You can bring baby formula and food with you.

But when it comes time to eating solids, this is where the cultural and food differences can cause issues.

As a parent, you don’t want to have to worry about your kid’s nutritional needs. Feeding a kid sufficiently while in a new country can be very difficult for a picky eater. The key, at least for my kids, is to:

  • Go to a breakfast buffet when possible to try and find foods your kids like.
  • Bring snacks, when possible.
  • Ask what foods are available for kids.
  • Try to find at least one food your kid likes from your destination.
  • Introduce similar foods to your kid before the trip.

You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to get your kids to eat when you follow these basic tips. And if you find a dessert that your kid especially likes, you can “offer” it when your child tries something new. Offering this treat as a dessert can help make new experiences easier.

Experiences: Rely on the Professionals

One mistake that I used to make was to rely on myself to plan the entire trip. It’s difficult to deal with children and plan a trip on-the-fly. I decided it’s best to rely on professionals to make my trip a blast.

Book a Niagara Falls tours, take a cruise, go on an excursion or go to an all-inclusive resort where you don’t have to do much of the planning.

If you want to keep your travels within the United States, you have a lot of options, from Disney to:

  • Washington, DC
  • Gettysburg, PA
  • Anaheim, CA
  • Florida

Florida has a lot to do with kids, from Legoland to Disney and even the Space Coast, which is loads of fun.

Air Travel: Plan Ahead of Time

A screaming, fussy child is not what you want when you go on a plane. No one wants to hear your kid screaming or yelling. It’s embarrassing for a parent. If you plan ahead of time, you can make air travel a little less stressful. Here’s how:

  • Fly early in the day
  • Make sure to dress your kids comfortably
  • Bring blankets, or dress in layers
  • Keep kids away from aisle seats
  • Stay calm even when your child is having a tantrum

You also want to have patience with the flight staff and anyone that is aboard the plane. You’ll find that there are a lot of grumpy, tired people flying. Try and ignore their remarks when your kid is crying or yelling.

And if you show a little appreciation to the staff, they may even offer your child candy or other solutions to keep your little one calm on the plane.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.