Tips for Traveling with Children | Air and Road Tips

Thanks to Allstate for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

Many parents put off traveling with their young children until they are a bit older to avoid a vacation disaster story. Traveling with the littles can bring on a state of panic for a lot of people. Images of wiggling kids, whining phrases, irritated passengers and multiple pit stops for a potty break are just a few scenarios that float through the mind.

We have been traveling with children for nearly 22 years now. Most of these trips have been by land in a tightly packed mini van. I’m happy to report that with the right prep beforehand, any trip with children can be a fun adventure instead of a stressful nightmare.

The tips below can help insure an enjoyable trip that will lead to fond vacation memories. 


Traveling on a plane with children?

Most airlines require purchasing a seat on a plane by age 2. Sometimes, having a car seat for small children is helpful while traveling on a plane. The seat fits the child better than an airplane seat. Plus, a child is used to a car seat. It also provides a solution for your child, when you get to your destination, while traveling in a vehicle.

Traveling abroad with children?

You will need a passport for children traveling anywhere outside the US. While traveling abroad with children, you need to plan on a variety of quiet activities to keep them occupied – from small snacks, books to read, movies to watch on a phone or tablet, a pad of paper to draw on or even a homemade activity book. These items need to fit in a small backpack that a child can carry.


What should I bring on the plane for the kids?

If your child is old enough, have him/her help pack their backpack with activities to keep them busy. It might be a great time to purchase or make a special activity book that they will look forward to for the trip, or pack something they enjoy. Just make sure the items are something that can be replaced, in case something gets lost. Additionally, this might be obvious, but these items should be small enough to take on a carry on bag on the plane. Trying to juggle large, bulky objects on a plane is difficult and may annoy passengers around you. If the activities are noisy, be sure to bring some headphones for them as well!


How do you keep kids in their seat?

Because children are used to being buckled up in car seats, getting children to buckle up on a plane is easy for the airplane flight. As a parent, safety is always at the top of the list. I like bringing the car seat or boaster on a plane. They fit the child better than the airplane seat. Just make sure to pack a bag with items to keep them busy during the flight.


Is there a best “time of day” to travel with kids?

In our opinion, the best trips to take with children are trips during the day. This keeps them closer to a schedule they are familiar with. Just make sure to plan time to stop, whether it is a park to play or an area to walk and get some exercise. I usually would do this before a nap time. Most children will sleep better and makes traveling easier and more enjoyable.

How can I avoid multiple pit stops?

With children, you do need to plan stops along the way. Just make sure to use your stops wisely. Plan on eating, getting in a little exercise (a walk around the building or a block). Before getting in the car ask your children if they need anything, and make sure you listen to your children before getting in the car and driving down the road. They might need something that would have eliminated another pit stop.


What kind of snacks should I bring on a road trip?

From experience, snacks should not be messy or sticky. Pack small containers of crackers, carrots, grapes that you can hand the child during the trip. You do not want to clean up a child from a messy snack when you get to your destination. Also keep in mind that salty snacks will make them thirsty which will lead to more drinking and another pit stop.


What tips and tricks have you incorporated into your travels to make them more enjoyable for all?



This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held insurance company, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day. For more tips like this, visit the Allstate Good to Know community.


  1. saminder gumer says

    thanks for the tips. i will need these as we are taking the kids next week on a long plane ride. i hope it goes well.

  2. Great tips! We always pack lots of snacks (usually crackers or pretzels) for long car rides. Also, since the Nintendo DS is a lifesaver on really long trips, we make sure to have a DS car charger on hand!

    • Fabulous tip. I wish the car charger cords were a tad bit longer so we didn’t have to be so strategic with car seats LOL.

  3. When my family traveled when I was younger we had a shoe box full of new toys that my parents gave us. One of my favorite memories however was a simple notebook and pen that we used to “record road conditions”. We simply drew straight lines and the bumps in the road made our pens jump.

    • I love the road conditions tip. I think that would be fun and generate a lot of laughs!

  4. Tina Peisel says

    We are traveling next month with my little guy and these tips are great!

  5. theresa m. says

    Great tips! I especially like the idea of an activity book! When we were kids (at least 4 of us) we would pack sketch pads, pencils and crayons – we would have drawing competitions – basically my mom would name something we planned on seeing on our trip, we would draw what we thought it would look like, and when we got there, my mom would point out the parts of our pictures that most resembled the actual thing we drew – our favorite was the grand canyon – none of us had any idea what it was before we got there!

    • Did you save them? That would be fun to look back on. Great “game”!

      • theresa m. says

        my mom has a secret stash of our childhood memories that she pulls out every once in a while – and she has a lot of our pictures in there – it is really funny when we go through them – and considering i’m the least artistic – mine are especially entertaining – my 12 year old drawings look no better than my 4 year old drawings lol

  6. Heather Y says

    I appreciate these tips! I need as much help as I can get traveling with 2 little ones. Especially no messy snacks!

  7. Amy Watson says

    My personal favorite road trip snack is Goldfish;)

  8. Krisha Collins says

    We just made a 20+ hour car ride with our 3 month old and our nearly 5 year old. We just had to roll with the punches and stop when we had to. And bring lots of stuff for the older to do.

    • I feel you. We took a road trip with a 3 month old that was exclusively breast fed. That meant dozens of pit stops for her to eat. You gotta do what you gotta do, right? 🙂

  9. Lesley cutchens says

    This is perfect timing for a post, we are about to be moving CROSS-COUNTRY from GA to CA and i will be flying with our 3 year old….ALONE (yikes!!)
    Definitely using some if not all of these ideas 🙂

    • Flying with an infant raises new issues. Feel free to bring the car seat/stroller combo clear up to boarding and gate check it. It’s free and makes the process more bearable because you’re not juggling baby, bag, etc. If you just want to bring a car seat most airlines will check it in at baggage check in for free. Good luck and enjoy the trip!

  10. My husband and I love to travel with our kids! When we are driving to my sister’s (6 hours north) we drive at night because the trip is LONG and boring.

    • We’ve traveled overnight a few times. It backfires each time because they get so wound up they can’t sleep and then they are bears the next day. You would THINK they would sleep.

  11. Nicole Dz says

    Great tips! We always have a stocked cooler in the back of the car, bring books, sing a long cds, portable screens that strap to the back of the seats so they can watch some dvds. These all help out a lot.

    • I need to look into those straps. I always worry the kids will drop my tablets. Sing a longs… you are a brave soul 🙂 . The cooler is awesome but I have to police it or they will drink their weight in 10 minutes.

  12. I agree with the best time being during the day. We tried to travel at night once with our son thinking he would just sleep. Um, miserable! 🙂

    • We drove overnight to Texas from Missouri. We thought our littles would sleep and Dad could nap when we got there. NOBODY slept and we were all miserable! I totally agree.

  13. Megan Ferguson says

    All great tips. Traveling with children is hard. Especially plane travel!!

  14. Stacey Roberson says

    These are great tips! Our little guy was 1 month old when we first traveled abroad. I was scared and wasn’t sure how he would handle it, but it actually turned out great. He slept most of the way. I couldn’t imagine traveling with him now that he’s a little older. I have trouble keeping him in his car seat, much less a plane.

  15. Sarah L says

    My mother always had a bag of fun little things that we would get every 100 miles. Helped pass the time.

  16. Great tips! &Good call on snacks not being messy, we learned that one the hard way with some chocolate milk.

  17. These are great tips! We don’t have much experience flying as a family, but we have gone on plenty of road trips. I always make sure to bring children’s Dramamine to eliminate any chance of car sickness.

  18. Crissie Woolard says


  19. Stephanie says

    great ideas love the ipad idea!

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