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Woman holding child's hand and leaning down toward her, standing in a desert area with windmills behind them

Travel can often be rough on anyone. Sometimes, there are just trips that take a lot out of you and require considerable planning and moderate amounts of discomfort (we’ve all been squeezed onto an airplane or bus with way too many other people, right?). Or, when you’re seeing a new place, you want to walk all around and see everything to get the true experience. At the end of the day, you’re exhausted, but you don’t want to miss a single sight. For many people, this difficulty with travel only increases when they need to take young children with them. You could have the best-behaved child in the entire world, but when she’s been traveling all day and is tired, it can be even more challenging to keep going. It can be quite formidable to keep a toddler entertained and happy while traveling, but here are some tips on how you can make everyone’s lives easier.

Plan everything in advance

You may take this step already, but it’s vitally important to reinforce it. Traveling with a child means you may have to plan special accommodations or make sure times work out so you have enough time to get where you need to be. You don’t want to be rushing to catch a connecting flight when you have a toddler in tow. Also, you don’t want to plan to go on some great tour somewhere and find out that children under a certain age cannot go or there are times that are better for a family to visit. Plan around the busy times, get all your tickets and accommodation reservations beforehand, and see if there are fun activities for children wherever you’re going.

Take plenty of distractions

Kids need to be constantly stimulated or they’ll get cranky. You’re likely not up to entertaining your child the entire time you’re traveling, so make sure you have games and interesting activities to keep her busy. When you’re on vacation, make sure you take children places they’ll enjoy as well and not just somewhere you want to see.

Make sure everyone’s fed

This tip is incredibly important for everyone, including you. People get cranky and feel sluggish when they are hungry and not properly hydrated. Have your family eat a full meal before travel and you’ll feel much more at ease! Also avoid giving children a lot of sugar, because they’ll be hyperactive and then crash, leaving you with a severely grumpy child. A solid night of rest is also advisable, so you all feel up to traveling and doing plenty of awesome activities!

Have everything they need

If your child requires medicine, triple check to make sure you packed it. For all other items, make a detailed packing list and then spend time gathering all the items and packing them. You do not want to go somewhere only to find out you left all of your child’s shoes at home or didn’t bring any diapers.

Get a tracking device

No one wants to talk about the possibility of their child getting lost while traveling, but it’s something that could happen. Consider investing in a tracking device you can clip onto your child’s shirt, so you know where she is at all times and it can also be used to contact you if your child goes missing and someone finds her. At the same time, instill the importance of staying with you in your toddler and watch her closely.