Any advice for traveling with a preschooler?

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Diane - posted on 09/21/2009

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DVD player and plenty of favorite movies. Snackes and drinks. Driving at night is also good if you are trying to go a long way in a short time. We drive from CA to NY every other year and we do it with 8 kids Movies Movies and more Movies Each one has to pick at least once and average movie is 1 to 2 hrs that is a lot of Movies.

Brittney - posted on 09/21/2009

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Travel around their naps or when they would be the best. Also think about potty training. I travel back home a lot. We are in the car for about 6-8 hours. We have DVD's in the car, and we have Toddler Cd's to listen to music. Just make activies also when you travel. Like I see a color car, or something! Just dont ignore them, mine scream if they are ignored for a long period of time. Take snacks, and we take a cooler with us with water, and juice, and milk. and then fruit. :) I hope some of those help you. We have also went to a fabric store, and made activity bag. Bag like they can color on, and throw it in the wash and wash it. I hope those help you!

Angela - posted on 09/21/2009

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pack a whole bunch of activites!!! and movies to keep him/her busy and a first ad kit just in case pack plenty of snacks and a bunch of stops for potty time! thats what i do..

Linda - posted on 09/21/2009

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travel during the night or early morning. lots of snacks/food. lots of stops (plan accordingly). Don't push it, you all will be tired. We are getting ready to travel 2100 miles BACK to Ca (we just did this in january). My kid does well in the car 3-4 hour trips, but I'm still not looking forward to this.

Meoshia - posted on 09/21/2009

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Take plenty of activities such as coloring book, book, and a favorite toy. Pack some snacks with as few liquids as possible (you won't have to stop as often if you're driving). Pick-up a new DVD or kids Cd they haven't seen before. If you can travel at night or early morning and they can sleep through most of it.

Melony - posted on 09/21/2009

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Tips for traveling with kids anywhere:



Check with the doctor. Before heading away from home, make sure your child is in good health and that you have an ample supply of any meds he may need on the road (prescription asthma medication, for instance). Plan for unexpected illness (an allergic reaction, a fever, or a stomach bug) by bringing along a children’s antihistamine, pain reliever, antidiarrheal medicine, and a rehydration fluid (like Pedialyte).



Plan your toddler’s sleeping arrangements before you go. Whether you’re traveling with kids to a hotel or Grandma’s, make sure your tot will have a safe place to rest his little head each night. Check to see if the hotel has a crib (or if Grandma will be supplying one), and if not, bring along a portable crib. If nothing else, an older toddler can safely sleep on the floor on a mat or in a sleeping bag.



Guard against motion sickness. It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling with kids by car, plane, or train — motion sickness can strike anywhere. To keep it to a minimum, avoid letting your toddler travel on an empty stomach (light, frequent snacks should help prevent nausea), and skip acidic fruit and juice since they can be irritating to the tummy. When in the car, keep the window cracked to allow for some fresh air, and get your toddler to look far out the window (looking at things close-up can make queasiness worse) by playing a game of “I Spy.”



Use a car seat. If you’re traveling with kids in a rental car, either bring your own car seat or be sure the rental company can supply you with a safe, up-to-date model. When flying, check with the airline about which car seats are approved for plane travel (and note that only children younger than two can fly while sitting on a parent’s lap; airlines require that you purchase a seat for kids who are two and older).

Tips for traveling with kids by car:



Travel heavy, not light. Pack every snack, drink, and toy you can cram into your vehicle, stock up on (and prepare to tolerate) kid’s music and books on tape, and spend some time in the backseat with your pint-sized passenger if there’s room. As for food, bring along your tot’s favorites — whether it’s PB&J, cheese and crackers, or apple slices (and don’t forget to bring plenty of water). What toys should you tote? Finger and hand puppets are perfect, as are crayons and books, and miniature music-making toys (they can hold a toddler’s attention for long stretches). And keep in mind that now is the time to splurge on (or borrow) as many unfamiliar toys as possible. They’ll keep your tot amused far longer than the same old playthings he’s used to at home. Dole out the snacks and toys individually at various times throughout the drive (not all at once!).



Break it up. When traveling with kids by car, two six-hour days are twice as easy as one monster marathon drive. So if it’s needed (and if you can spare the time and money), allow for an overnight stop to space out the trip. And no matter how far or how long the drive, be prepared to stop frequently — and give your child a chance to walk and play at rest stops. Encourage him to stretch his legs and burn off some energy with a toy ball (where it’s safe to play) or a quick game of follow-the-leader.



Tweak your schedule to encourage sleep on the go. Try leaving really early in the morning, or late at night, so your tot will sleep through part of the journey — depending on your toddler’s sleep tendencies. Big caveat: Make sure the driver stays awake — start out well rested, take turns at the wheel, and pull over as soon as a driver becomes drowsy.



Don’t forget clean-up supplies. Make sure you bring loads of wipes, hand sanitizer, disposable bags for garbage (or potential carsickness), paper towels for spills, and an extra set of clothes (kept in a reachable spot).

Tips for traveling with kids by plane:



Book nonstop flights whenever you can — and schedule long stretches around your child’s nap. True, flight delays can foil even the best-laid plans, but if your toddler can get even a short nap while in the air, it will be a wonderful reprieve. If you do have to take a connecting flight when traveling with kids, whatever you do, don’t squander a nap on a layover since that’s the perfect time to let your toddler get the wiggles out. If your gate is crowded while you’re waiting for your next flight, find a deserted spot and let your toddler run in circles, make noise, and relish his freedom for as long as he can (better he get it out of his system on the ground than when you’re in a confined space at 30,000 feet).



Make sure one of your seats is an aisle seat. Your little one may beg to see what’s out the window, but you’ll be glad you’re near the aisle seat by the zillionth time your restless toddler wants to get up and walk, asks for yet another item that’s stored in the overhead bin, or needs a trip to the bathroom (to use the potty or for a diaper change). And hey, if your family takes up an entire row, you can have both the window and the aisle seats to yourselves.



Plan for the security line. A light umbrella stroller is your best friend when going through security — it will be easy to fold up at the last second and plop on the X-ray’s conveyer belt. (You’ll probably want the stroller to keep your kid moving while you’re in the airport. You can take it right down the Jetway and leave it at the plane’s door before you board, and it will be waiting for you at the door upon landing.) Slip-on shoes (for you and your toddler) are your second best friends at the security checkpoint. Also, don’t worry about holding up the line when traveling with kids — take your time, collect your wits, and try to make a game out of the whole thing for your toddler (“What else belongs in the bin? Mommy’s keys? Mommy’s purse?”).



Think carefully about boarding early. Perhaps the only advantage to traveling with kids by plane is the right to board first, thereby snagging much-needed overhead-bin space. But early boarding is a mixed blessing, since it means about an extra half hour on the plane — probably not something you want to endure voluntarily with a wiggly toddler. If possible, divide and conquer: Send your spouse ahead with the gear, and you board at the last minute with your child.



Consider the flight attendants your allies. If you’re alone, don’t be shy about asking the flight crew for help. It can be nearly impossible to lift a bag and put it in the overhead bin while holding a toddler. So ask a flight attendant (or fellow passenger) to pitch in — they should be happy to comply. And while you’re at it, consider asking for extra pillows, blankets, or water if needed (if the airline isn’t charging for them, that is).



Bring extra supplies. As with traveling with kids by car, bring as much food and as many toys as you can fit into your carry-on luggage. Don’t count on being served any meals in the air since many airlines no longer offer food (or if they do, it’s at a hefty price). Even if your flight isn’t scheduled to be in the air during a mealtime, plan ahead for delays, and bring portable meals anyway (such as mini sandwiches, cut-up vegetables, and string cheese). As for toys, don’t bring anything with tiny pieces that your child will miss when they fall under the seat (Polly Pockets, Legos, Matchbox cars…) unless you relish folding yourself into origami as you strain to retrieve them for the duration of the flight. If all else fails, use the in-flight magazine for scavenger hunts (find a frog!) or confetti. Plus, bring twice as many diapers as you could possibly need (if your tot’s still wearing them, that is), endless wipes and hand sanitizer, at least one change of clothing for your child, and an extra T-shirt for you (forgetting the last item guarantees you’ll be thrown up on — or drenched in apple juice).



Ease ear pain. Bring lollipops for takeoff and landing (or a sippy cup or a cup with a straw — you can buy the drink and pour it into your cup after you get through security). The sucking will help prevent your child’s little ears from hurting due to the air-pressure changes in the cabin during those times. Also helpful in keeping ears clear — crunchy snacks that require a lot of chewing. Or encourage your toddler to yawn by yawning yourself (ever notice how yawns are contagious?). This may help “pop” his ears if they get clogged on the plane’s way up or down.

Tips for traveling with kids by train:



Travel at off-peak times. This is when the train will be least crowded, which means you may be able to snag some extra seats for your toddler to move around and play.



Arrive early. Since trains don’t allow you to book assigned seats, getting there early will help ensure that you find seats for the family to sit together. When traveling with kids and two adults, consider sending one adult on board first to hold the seats while the other adult boards with your slow-moving toddler.



Bring diversions — lots of them. Your tot will enjoy watching the scenery out the window for only so long. So bring toys and games (for suggestions, see “Tips for traveling with kids by car”), just as you would when traveling with kids by any other mode of transportation.



Get moving as much as you can. Let your toddler take walks down the train’s aisle (only while holding your hand) to let him blow off some steam. Similarly, take advantage of any stops you may make to let your toddler wander around the train station and exert some energy.



Don’t count on the dining car. There may not be food on the train, but even if there is, you can’t guarantee your toddler will be willing to eat what they’re serving. So, just as you would when traveling with kids by car or plane, bring your own snacks and drinks (you know your toddler’s favorites).

Melissa - posted on 09/21/2009

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I always find that if you have plenty of activities and plenty of pit stops it usually goes pretty good. Have some snacks and plenty of their favorite drink on hand, juice/water, etc. Also my child has a dvd player for the car so if he has his favorite shows he is good to go! Hope this helps.

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