Tips and Tricks for Traveling with Kids

 
 

Tips and Tricks for Traveling with Kids

Real life parents explain the ins and outs of taking their adventurous families around the world.

Photo: Lindsay Ternes

 
 
 

Katie Arnold

 

FREELANCE WRITER BY WEEK, TRAVELING MOM BY WEEKEND

 

The author of Outside Online's Raising Rippers, Katie Arnold is the resident expert when it comes to taking kids on adventures of all kinds. With two daughters ages six and four, Katie tells us just what it takes to raft a river and survive an earthquake abroad with the whole family.

 
 
 

Q:

 

How often do you travel as a family?

 
 

A:

KATIE: We try to travel somewhere or leave town on an adventure every month, whether it’s a self-guided raft trip in New Mexico or Utah, a trip to our summer cottage in Ontario for a month, a beach adventure in Nicaragua, or backcountry ski trip in Colorado. We travel locally and with the seasons, and try to get out of the country at least once or twice a year.

 
 
 

Q:

 

Did you wait to start traveling until the kids were a certain age?

 
 

A:

KATIE: No, we started right away – when both of our daughters were one month old. I grew up spending my summers on a remote lake in Ontario, Canada, at an island cottage that’s been in our family for four generations. The girls were born in July, and we applied for their passports within days of coming home from the hospital—an adventure in itself—and were on a plane to Canada a month later.

 
 
 

Q:

 

What is the most memorable travel story involving the whole family?

 
 

A:

KATIE: There are so many. But most recently, we experienced a 6.7 magnitude earthquake in Nicaragua. It was nap time and the girls slept right through it, but my husband Steve and I yanked them from their beds when the walls started shaking and carried them outside. We come home from every trip with unforgettable memories.

 

"As long as we all come home alive, the trip is a success!"

 
 
 

Q:

 

Tell us, is it worth it?

 
 

A:

KATIE: Absolutely. Even on the harder trips when our three year old gets the stomach bug and is throwing up on slick rock on the hike down from Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, and it rains the whole time, or we get blasted by sand storm while rafting the Rio Grande for three days, it’s always worth it. We’re building resiliency which will serve us in life and in our travels and adventures.

 
 
 

Sam's son, Beck, exploring new terrain in New Mexico

Sam Moulton

 

EXECUTIVE EDITOR AT OUTSIDE MAGAZINE & PROFESSIONAL HAMMOCK PITCHER

 

 

As the man behind Outside Magazine's Buyer's Guide, Sam knows a few tricks to keep the kids happy on long trips. Read on to find out which gear you should put on your next packing list (and see all of Sam's recommendations in this summer's Buyer's Guide).

 
 
 

Q:

 

Describe your family and their introduction to travel.

 
 

A:

SAM: We've got two kids, age five and three. They’re at great ages now. We went to Snowmass skiing as a family last year. The cut-off for ski school was that they had to be 2.5 years old and potty trained, so my son Beck just made the cut. My daughter Lily spent her first night in a tent when she was just a few months old. Kids are remarkably adaptable, especially when they’re really young.

 

"You just (gently) throw them in a pack and go."

 
 
 

Q:

 

Where's the farthest place you've ever taken them?

 
 

A:

SAM: We took Lily to Mexico when she just over a year-old, and have taken both kids all over the country by plane and all over the West on road trips. Snacks are key.

 
 
 

Q:

 

What’s your favorite gear related to family travel?

 
 

A:

SAM: I’m a huge fan of the ENO double hammock. The kids will play in it for hours. The other key thing with car camping I’ve found is water. In New Mexico, in summer, that often means a very small creek. But that’s all it takes. To little kids, a few inches of water and some small downed logs and rocks is all you need. We turn it into an expedition, get walking sticks, and go exploring.

 
 
 

Sandy's family on the beach in Mexico

Sandy Cunningham

 

SOUTH AFRICAN BORN & PRESIDENT OF OUTSIDE GO
 

With her entire life rooted in travel, Sandy has brought up her two daughters with the same sense of adventure and wanderlust as her own. The President of Outside GO shares her method for packing the family and how to unplug.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Q:

What’s your secret for getting the girls packed?

 
 

A:

SANDY: As soon as my kids hit five and seven, I would give them a list of what they needed to pack. They would lay their favorite items out on the bed with a few fancy glitter shirts (thrown in for good measure) which I was happy to let them take, even if we were going on Safari. The fact that they owned their own packing meant they would be responsible for everything throughout the trip. It worked wonders!

 
 
 

Q:

 

How do you keep the kids off their phones?

 
 

A:

SANDY: Let them at their phones and iPads on the plane ride as you enjoy that second glass of Pinot Noir, but when you touchdown, lock the mechanical devices away and let the kids be kids. You would be amazed at how much fun they will have – and how much happier you will be!

 
 
 

 
 

Outside GO is an adventure travel company with decades of experience. We'd love to help you plan your next trip. Rest assured it will be authentic, stylish, and built around your wildest dreams.

 
 

 
 

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Tips and Tricks for Traveling with Kids

 

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