Tips for Healthy Holiday Travel with Kids

‘Tis the season for making spirits bright—but the stresses of the holidays and mounting travel plans can quickly turn a very merry experience into a not-so-joyful time. And with cold and flu season in full effect, traveling in close quarters might be even more of a health concern. Fortunately, there are ways to maintain your family’s wellbeing while traveling.

Here are a few tips for keeping the whole family healthy during holiday travel.

Stay hydrated. Keep bottled water close at hand when traveling. A fresh slice of lemon, cucumber or berries can make for more flavorful sips. Sparkling water may also be a satisfying alternative.

Watch what you eat. Packing healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables and nuts can help satisfy hunger cravings without reaching for unhealthy options.

Increase your physical activity. Take a walk around the airport or take a break at a rest stop to stretch your legs and do simple exercises – jumping jacks, light jog, squats – for 10 minutes.

Care for your ears. When flying, encourage your infant to nurse or suck on a bottle during ascent and descent. Older children can try chewing gum or drinking liquids with a straw.

Keep breastfeeding. It might be helpful to bring a sling or soft infant carrier to make nursing on the go easier. Electric breast pumps can be carried on planes, and freshly expressed breastmilk can be safely stored at room temperature for up to about four hours for infant consumption.

Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizers and consider bringing disinfectant wipes to prevent illnesses during travel.  

Take preventative medications. If traveling internationally, consult your doctor to see if your child might need additional vaccines or preventive medications. Bring mosquito protection in countries where mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria are present.

Try to maintain some sense of normalcy. Take breaks and try to stick to your child’s usual routines. With traveling, presents, visiting family and shopping, the excitement of the holidays can increase a child’s stress level. Trying to maintain some normalcy in your child’s routine may help decrease their stress – and yours.

So whether you’re traveling by car, plane or Santa’s sleigh, it’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor ahead of time about any health concerns that might arise during your trip. 

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