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9 Realistic tips for stress-free travel


Planning a vacation and dealing with airport security can be stressful enough, but when you have young children the stakes feel a little bit higher. Follow these tips to make your trip feel more like a vacation.

Girl with suitcase |

Photo credit: Marc Romanelli/Blend Images/Getty Images

Limit yourself to one carry-on

If your children are too small to be responsible for their own bags, slim your travel gear down to one carry-on per adult. You’ll be glad to only be juggling one bag (preferably a cross-body) as you’re rushing to catch your connection with little ones in tow.


Choose a family-friendly hotel

Picking accommodations that give your family everything you need and nothing you don’t is key — after all, the hotel will be your home-away-from-home during any trip. Embassy Suites Hotels’ two-room suites are perfect for families on the road, with a room for the parents and the kids. The complimentary made-to-order breakfast each morning and nightly evening reception with free drinks* and snacks are offerings that keep families top-of-mind.


Always pack baby wipes

No matter how old your kids are, a travel pack of baby wipes (or a whole pack depending on how messy you are) can solve any number of problems while you’re en route.


Pack something brand new

For long travels, whether by car or by plane, pack a new toy, book, movie or game. The novelty of it will keep your children entertained for longer than something they’ve played with 1,000 times. It doesn’t have to be something big, but it should be something that will engage them.


And pack something familiar

Being on the road can be tough for a kid who is accustomed to routine. Make sure you pack a special blanket, stuffed animal or book to make them feel as comfortable as possible. And stick to the rest of the routine as much as possible. You’ll regret that late bedtime if your kids are overtired the next day.


Practice before you get to the airport

If you’re flying with a toddler for the first time, or if your child is overly anxious, make sure you practice what will happen with the security line and boarding the plane before you get to the airport. Walk him through taking off his backpack, going through the scanner and boarding the plane. It will make the day of your trip much easier.


Let your kids travel in their PJs

No, it might not be the chicest look, but one-piece, footed pajamas make for easy outfit changes in the event of an accident. Plus, it’s easier to pack spares instead of extra outfits. If your child does require a wardrobe change in transit, find out if your hotel has laundry service when you check in. Immediately drop off the soiled clothes to be washed. That way they’ll be ready for the return trip. Hey, we all want to be comfortable when we travel, and nothing is more comfy than jammies, right?


Don’t board early

If you’ve been smart about what you’ve packed, and you have an active child (read: a toddler), skip the early boarding call and keep your kids moving for those few extra minutes. Not only will it tire them out, but you won’t have to make them sit still for 20 extra minutes while everyone is boarding.


Give each child your hotel’s business card

No, they’re not out to recruit new guests, but it will help them if someone gets lost. Make sure the card includes the direct line for the front desk, not an 800 number, and write your name and cell phone number on the back. That way your child can let authorities know where they are staying if necessary.

And don’t forget: 

It’s OK to let the little things go. Airports and car trips can be stressful whether or not you have a child in tow. There are plenty of small things that can go wrong, but they don’t have to ruin your vacation. Instead, take a deep breath, reset your inner monologue and make the best of your situation. Remember, you’re on vacation!

*Service of alcohol subject to state and local laws. Must be of legal drinking age.

This post was sponsored by Embassy Suites Hotels.

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What’s your best tip or trick for traveling with kids? Share your best advice in the comments below.

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