What are some tips for traveling with young kids?

After a fantastic trip to California with my family, I’ve been thinking about what made it such a success, and here are some of the tidbits I’d share:

• Expectations. Have very few. The greater your expectations, when traveling with young kids, the greater your disappointment. Case in point: On one of our Disneyland days, I literally went on not one single ride, and I’m a huge Disney fan. My goals for the day were far more basic: Make sure the snack situation was in order for hungry-at-any-moment kids. Scope out an air-conditioned store in advance to hang out with a napping 2-year-old in a stroller. Strategize with Hubby so as to avoid the parade crowds, and get the kids on the rides they most wanted to do. My reward: Everyone had a great day, despite the huge crowds.

• Plan for adult fun. We worked very hard to juggle the schedules of family and friends in order to arrange a Vegas trip — without the kids. I don’t even gamble; I didn’t play one single game. (I’m starting to sound a bit boring, aren’t I?) But we got to have lovely sit-down meals with the best of friends, enjoy an amazing show, and sleep in two days in a row. All of this made the other struggles of the trip easy to manage, because I knew we had a fun reward coming up.

• Make time for the important people in your life. We have close friends and lots of family in Cali. Simply arranging days to let the cousins and kid friends play together was one of the most rewarding aspects of the trip. Nothing fancy, just hanging out. Playing at the park, or in Grandma and Grandpa’s backyard. The time together is already building a foundation of closeness among the kids that’s priceless.

• Lots of people ask whether it’s worth the hassle to travel with young kids. I say go for it, as long as you manage your expectations, plan for some adult fun, pace yourself on travel days, and stay light on your feet in response to the kids’ needs. And don’t forget to take lots of photos and videos; in addition to being awesome reminders of these precious days with the little ones, you can keep the kids entertained all the way back home by reviewing them (over, and over, and over….).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.