Over the River and Through the Woods: 5 Tips to Travel with Kids

December 21, 2015


At Home

Traveling can be stressful at the best of times, not to mention during the frenetic holiday season. But never fear—with a bit of preparation and a positive attitude, you can enjoy the trip to Grandma’s house as a little extra time to spend with the family. Just remember, above all else, to be flexible and make the best of any unexpected detours or delays.

Check out some more travel tips below!

Take it slow

Regardless of your transportation method, remember to plan for extra time. This will take much of the stress out of an unimaginably long security line or major traffic delays. Make sure to build in time for rest and bathroom breaks; giving kids frequent opportunities to run around and burn off energy will make them that much quieter for the seated portions of the flight or car ride. On a related note, keep to a reasonable itinerary when you arrive at your destination. A lower-key trip is often more enjoyable than one where you’re herding grumpy kids from place to place.

Come prepared with snacks and water

Having edible treats on hand helps prevent hunger-related tantrums during unexpected traffic jams or extra long layovers. And, don’t forget to pack some for yourself! Your food stash can also come in handy if your kids turn up their noses at the airplane food or the offerings at a holiday party. In order to keep emergency bathroom breaks to a minimum, just bring water for your kids to drink while en route—they’ll drink when they’re thirsty rather than for the flavor.

Bring hassle-free entertainment

When selecting what toys and entertainment to bring, consider how easy it is to pack. Books or tablets with movies or games (or IXL!) are less prone to disaster than small toys or pieces with many parts. But if you’re bringing electronics, don’t forget to charge them ahead of time and/or bring a portable USB charger. For car trips, audio books that the whole family can listen to are a great way to keep everyone happy. Some possibilities include classics like The Little Prince, Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, A Series of Unfortunate Events, or Little House on the Prairie.

Empower your kids to entertain themselves

By allowing kids to pack their own travel bag, filled with the books, toys, or games they want, they’ll likely be happier with their selections. Give budding photographers a camera to document the trip, which will both keep them occupied and may even provide some stellar snaps of your family’s trip. Fun road activities include letting older kids help navigate either via GPS or a paper map (added bonus: they’ll learn map-reading skills!) or playing classic games like spying license plates from all the states (made even more fun with a map to mark off the ones they’ve spotted).

Tap into kids’ love for novelty

Kids love new things, so pack a few surprises like new markers or crayons, coloring books, or sticker books to strategically alleviate boredom. You could even keep a bag full of special items like stickers, figurines, or magnetic puzzles that are only used for trips so they remain fresh and exciting.

Happy Holidays and safe travels! Let us know below if you have other tips for traveling with kids.

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All Comments (10)

rebekah December 23, 2015 at 8:20 pm

Can you add art please


The IXL Team December 28, 2015 at 9:52 am

Hi Rebekah, we don’t have any plans to add art practice at the moment – thank you for the suggestion though!


Virgil Neff December 26, 2015 at 7:54 pm



The IXL Team December 28, 2015 at 9:53 am

Hi Virgil, how can we help you?


Mike January 13, 2016 at 4:22 pm

can i add personal subjects to my kids IXL


The IXL Team January 14, 2016 at 9:08 am

Hi Mike, are you trying to add additional subjects to an IXL membership you purchased for your child? If so, please contact us at support@ixl.com or call (855) 255-8800 and we can get you set up. If you’re trying to add subjects to your kid’s school IXL account, that wouldn’t be possible, but you could purchase a family membership. If you have any additional questions, contact us and we’re happy to help!


Tml January 22, 2016 at 11:07 am



The IXL Team January 22, 2016 at 4:11 pm

Hi there, can we help you with something?


Adithyan February 28, 2016 at 5:42 am

Can you guys please add ELA to the Awards panel? I practice so much, but there is nothing to show for it.


The IXL Team February 29, 2016 at 10:51 am

Hi Adithyan, thanks for your feedback! Our team is currently working on adding awards to ELA, and once those are available, you will be awarded retroactively for the work you have already done!


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