6 Mistakes Parents Make When Travelling with Kids

Travelling around the world can be an exhilarating and eye-opening experience. There’s nothing like the thrill of exploring new cities, experiencing new cultures, and trying new food. Even organising a trip is exciting! Everything is part of the great adventure – researching, making a schedule, and finding the best (and cheapest!) deals! You’re half right if you think this applies only to adults travelling alone (or with friends)! The rules are different for family trips. Most parents are reluctant to travel with their kids, which is understandable, considering everything they have to coordinate. A family trip can quickly become a stressful experience if it’s not well-organised. However, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun. All you need is a solid plan, and you’ll avoid these six mistakes parents make when travelling with kids.

People taking pictures in front of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris
Family trips can be great adventures if you organise them well!

The Common Mistakes Parents Make When Traveling with Kids

Keep in mind that these are common mistakes people make. However, it’s not the same for everyone. Problems that can occur will depend on the age of the kids, type of travel, budget, and many other things.

Organising your trip the same way as before you had kids

This may seem like a mistake you’re not going to make. However, parents can easily fall into old patterns. For example, agreeing to a flight with few layovers to spend less money.

There are several things you should consider doing differently.

  • Choose direct flights – Of course, direct flights aren’t always an option, and if they are, it’s worth paying more! A long day of travel is exhausting for adults, and imagine what it is like for kids.
  • Leave enough time between two flights – People tend to choose the flight with the shortest layover time when travelling alone, and this isn’t a good strategy when travelling with kids. It would be best to have enough time to rest, eat, use the bathroom, and board a new plane. It’s good to have around 2-3 hours between flights.
  • Check what cheap flights offer – Everyone loves a good deal! However, sometimes there are strings attached. For example, the airport can be far away from the place you plan to stay. You probably didn’t mind spending an additional two hours in the metro or on the bus with your entire luggage before, but it’s not a good option when you’re travelling with kids. Also, cheaper flights usually mean a 6 am departure, and although parents may not mind it, it’s too exhausting for children.
  • Choose your seats when booking – Companies tend to group families but don’t rely on this. Spending the flight (especially long ones) in different parts of the plane is just additional stress.

Forgetting entertainment and healthy snacks

Kids get bored quickly! Whether flying somewhere or driving in a car, kids will need something to keep them occupied. Of course, the entertainment depends on their age. You can bring appropriate toys and books, or download enough cartoons and games. You can even make up a schedule for longer flights or rides (an hour of screen time, reading, etc.).

 If you’re flying, keep in mind that not all airline companies provide entertainment. Even if they do, your kids may not like it.

As for snacks, adults usually forget about healthy eating habits while on holiday. The goal is to relax, and that’s perfectly fine. Some comfort food here and there is not a big deal. However, healthy eating when travelling with kids is essential. Many junk food and snacks are bad for their immune system, so you’re also running a risk of your kids getting sick.

A woman sitting in a plane and holding a baby
Make sure that your kids have proper entertainment and enough healthy snacks.

Not considering the location of your accommodation

This is one of the more significant mistakes parents make when travelling with kids. Hotels and hostels outside the city are cheaper. However, if you consider the cost of transportation to places you want to visit, you’ll see that you won’t save much.

Another thing to keep in mind is that kids get tired faster. For example, if they need a nap, it’s better to pick a hotel closer to the beach in the city centre. Moreover, many things can go sideways (getting sick or hurt). Choosing accommodation with all relevant amenities nearby will give you more flexibility and peace of mind.

Not including your kids in activity planning

Attractions that you want to see are rarely what your kids want. We’re not saying you should skip visiting the Louvre while in Paris, but throw in Disneyland as an extra treat.

Include your kids in planning to avoid meltdowns because they don’t want to do a particular activity. Show them what is available and let them choose. The research will be fun for them, and they’ll feel included. Also, teach them how to be responsible travellers.

A child looking at the map
One of the common mistakes parents make when traveling with kids is not including them in activity planning!

Under-packing /over-packing

Yes, it is tough to find a balance. Many mistakes parents make when travelling with kids involve packing. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution, and it all depends on the age of your kids and the type of travel.

For example, if your trip involves a lot of walking, pack the stroller. While you may think your toddler likes to walk and run around, they will get tired faster running around Disneyland than running around at home.

Road trips demand even more planning since you have to take care of your car. Do good research and decide what you have to bring and what is optional. As long as you don’t forget anything essential, your road trip will be smooth.

A man packing a suitcase
When travelling with kids, packing includes as much planning as the trip itself!


You’ll have to reduce your expectations! Parents’ prevalent mistake when travelling with kids is trying to do too much in one day. It is especially the case when visiting a country for the first time, and people want to see as much as they can.

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It would help if you found a balance between what you and your kids want. Make a plan of activities together, but prioritise them. As we have mentioned, things can go sideways quickly, so you have to be prepared. Sometimes, you won’t be able to do everything you planned.

To sum up, mistakes parents make when travelling with kids are a regular occurrence. Many of them you’ll learn to correct in time. Hopefully, these guidelines will help you avoid some altogether.

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