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Tips for travelling with kids

Being cooped up for a long time can be difficult for families. A short getaway might provide some much-needed reprieve – a way to lift spirits and reconnect with your children. But even a short trip with kids deserves some special preparation. Here are some simple tips for travelling with kids that can help make your getaway more fun for everyone.

Safety First

Times have changed and safety while travelling is now more important than ever. Let your kids know that even though they’re on vacation, they still need to wear a mask, wash their hands thoroughly and keep their distance from other people. If you talk to them ahead of time, they’ll know what to expect. Then, be sure to have masks and hand sanitzer or disinfectant wipes available everywhere you go.

Other safety precautions still apply, too. Pack a small first aid kit with lots of band-aids. Make sure you have everyone’s Health Card handy, even on day trips. Dress in bright colours like florescent yellow or orange, so you’re easily identifiable to each other. But review what to do if your kids get lost, just in case.

Budget time for bathroom breaks, curiosity and shorter legs.

Remember, your kids are, well, kids. They need to use the bathroom – urgently – at inconvenient times. They ask a lot of questions, especially when everything is new and different and interesting. And they move at a slower pace. Time just isn’t as urgent for them. So temper your expectations, as well as your kids’. Keep your itinerary light and flexible. And realize in advance that things won’t always go as planned and shedules may need to change at the last minute. By accepting the unpredictability of travelling with kids, you’ll have a greater chance of keeping everyone happy.

Create a packing checklist and don’t bring more than necessary.

Kids come with a lot of gear: Strollers, car seats, toys, books, and the list goes on. So it might be tempting to stuff as much as you can into your suitcase and the trunk of your car. But travelling lightly allows you to be more nimble and move faster. After all, you don’t want to be lugging the entire toy box from car to hotel to attractions. Carefully consider your ‘essentials’, too. Do you really need that giant tube of toothpaste or those linen pants? If you run out of something or forget to pack it, you’ll be able to buy almost anything you truly need at your destination. Pro tip: If Molly can’t sleep without her baby blankie, always pack it first. Bonus tip: You can never, ever have too many snacks. Or garbage bags.

By accepting the unpredictability of travelling with kids, you’ll have a greater chance of keeping everyone happy.

Master the art of the day pack.

A small, light day pack full of carefully curated items can be a lifesaver when you find out there’s going to be a long wait for a patio table at that restaurant you wanted to try. The trick is to keep it simple and small so it’s not a burden to carry all day long. Helpful entertainment items include crayons, paper or a colouring book, a deck of cards, and a portable video game system. Practical items include masks, wipes, a change of clothes, and a water bottle or sippy cup. And of course, snacks, snacks and more snacks.

Keep kids engaged in the car.

Even just a few hours in the car can seem endless to small kids. Be prepared to keep them occupied and distracted so they’re not constantly asking, “Are we there yet?”. Today, parents tend to default to movies, tablets and phones to keep their kids quiet and happy while seated. But there are screen-free ways to do this, too. Play classic games like 20 Questions or I Spy. Look for license plates from out of province, or drivers with sunglasses, or cows in fields. Turn your kids into DJs by letting them choose songs to play on the drive. Or have a family sing along. Get creative, use time in the car to bond with your kids and have fun.

Accept that your kids may have different interests.

You know your kids better than anyone. So if Jack loves T-Rex and triceratops, it’s a sure bet that Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta will be a big hit. Likewise, if he’s not a history buff, you’ll probably want to pass on a long day at the museum. Try to balance your interests with what your kids will enjoy. To you, it may seem like a playground is a playground is a playground, but your kids will appreciate the opportunity to climb, swing, run and explore.

Kids can be unpredictable, so it’s wise to be prepared for accidents or emergencies while travelling.
Make sure you and your family feel at ease on your next trip with Amex® Travel Insurance 1.


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1. AMEX® Travel Insurance is optional group travel insurance underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. You may contact the insurer at 1-888-877-1710 in Canada and the U.S. or visit In this outline, we have given a brief description of just some of the benefits available under AMEX® Travel Insurance. All insurance coverage is subject to the terms and conditions of the Group Policy issued to Amex Bank of Canada and the applicable limitations and exclusions described in the Certificate of Insurance issued upon enrollment. Please read the Certificate of Insurance carefully.

AMEX® Travel Insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. You may contact the insurer at 1-888-877-1710 in Canada and the U.S. or visit Amex Bank of Canada identifies insurance providers and products that may be of interest to some of its customers. In this role we do not act as an agent or fiduciary for you, and we may act on behalf of the insurance provider, as permitted by law. We want you to be aware that we receive compensation from insurance providers and our compensation may vary by provider and product. We do not require you to purchase any insurance product, and you may choose to cover your insurance needs from other sources on terms they may make available to you.