You’re Taking Them With You?!

1. Take them off a strict schedule. I realize this is counterintuitive to a lot of people, but if you’re going to take a trip like this with your kids, it will be much more difficult to do if your kids are completely dependent on a strict schedule. Don’t get me wrong – a schedule is really great at home for lots of reasons, but on vacation, planes run late (so do trains and buses on occasion), and it’s not always possible to find food to eat at the times the kids are used to eating. Then, there’s jet lag and the time change to adjust to. We have been lucky that our kids have never been completely dependent on a schedule, and we have never been really great about implementing one, so traveling with the kids tends to go well most of the time. I do realize that lots of kids do better with schedules, so I’m definitely not saying schedules aren’t good. Just saying that they aren’t always easy to keep up on a trip like this.

2. Encourage them to try different foods. We purposely make different kinds of food at our house and visit different kinds of restaurants, so our kids are always trying something new. This makes it so that they are more comfortable with trying new foods in other countries. They may not always like it, but they will at least try it!

3. Simply talk to them about what’s going to happen on the trip. This doesn’t really work with our son yet, but our daughter did well with this on our last trip two years ago. We talked a lot about where we were going, how we were going to get there, and what we were going to do when we got there. I really think this helps them to have some idea of what to expect, especially if they have never gone somewhere like this.

4. Show them pictures of where you’re going. Again, this is something that works for Anya but not Felix. I’ve been showing her pictures of the places we are going, especially the ones I know she will enjoy and she has been really excited about it. We’ve also been listening to flamenco music.

5. Take them out. Anywhere. We purposely take our kids to places so they learn how it is to be in public. It’s not always pleasant but for the most part, they do pretty well. On our last trip two years ago, we migrated from the “cry room” at our church back into the general population because we wanted to be able to attend Mass in some of the countries we were visiting. By sitting with the congregation in our own church, we were able to do that. We also have been taking Felix to places with a considerable amount of noise so that he is more used to crowds. He doesn’t do as well with lots of people around as Anya did but is starting to feel much more comfortable with this.  

6. Find something for them to do during the “boring” stuff. It is definitely worth your while to go through your itinerary and identify things that might not be exciting for them. Then, come up with something for them to do during that time. We are working on things like finding new apps for the Ipod/Ipad, creating a book of search and find pictures, and coming up with “missions” for Anya to do. We also plan to do outside things or go to the park (or something else they will probably enjoy) for the other part of the day.

The bottom line is that kids will throw fits and there will be problems at some point during your trip, just like there would be at home. But hopefully, with a little preparation, these kinds of situations will be minor and most of the trip will go smoothly!


The kids trying out their new ride for the trip!


Anya and I enjoying a playground at Schonbrunn in Vienna.


  1. Carolyn says:

    Hi fellow traveling Mama!

    Great tips and I’d have to agree with most of them 😀

  2. Tina says:

    Great tips and I remember doing just about all those things when my girls were small and we went traveling. It helped to keep them from being overly anxious and gave them something to discuss during the drive to our destinations.

  3. Kara says:

    Great post! I loved all these tips! I totally agree with the taking them in public a lot. We do that with both our girls and it helps a lot.

    • Rachel says:

      Yep! Ours definitely still throw fits and act out occasionally but it’s not nearly as much as it would be if we didn’t take them out. They are usually good as gold in public and save the fits for us;)

  4. Echo says:

    Awesome tips! I will definitely be using these when we travel!

  5. Holly says:

    Your last statement says it all. Kids are going to throw fits regardless of where they are, they’re kids. I think many people seem to forget that. I hope you guys enjoy your trip, I can’t wait to hear all about it!

  6. Starla J says:

    We don’t travel much but these are great ideas! Enjoy your travels! Thank you for sharing!

  7. Heather says:

    Great tips! Enjoy your trip.

  8. Ana says:

    Great tips! It’s lovely taking kids to places – you see a completely different side to them that you might not if you were just in a couple, and there are lots of kiddie friendly places all round Europe that you might not otherwise visit.

  9. We love trips and taking our kids on trips! Great tips!

  10. What great tips! I love having a schedule too, but I could see where you would want your kids to not be dependent on a schedule for a trip like this.

    • Rachel says:

      We tend to rely more on routines rather than schedules at our house just because that’s what has worked for us and our lifestyle. Schedules can certainly be good, though, because you always know what to expect, but I always worried about how our kids would act when we couldn’t follow the schedule. I know some kids don’t do well without a schedule, but we have been lucky that our kids are fairly flexible.

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