Travel is tiring.
Travel with kids is stressful and tiring.
Travel with sick kids is downright miserable.
Thankfully, the third scenario is actually preventable. With a little preparation, we can easily travel with healthy kids and avoid unexpected illnesses.
Before You Leave
Keeping kids healthy on the road or in the air ultimately starts before you leave. In the same way that “Rome was not built in a day”, so too, the immune system takes time to build up strength.
Make sure your kids start the trip with a strong immune system by following these simple tips, starting them as far out as possible.
- Reduce or eliminate unnecessary sugars. Sugar is a big enemy to the immune system. See our page on Ending the Sugar Addiction for tips on this.
- Use a foundational supplement program to build their health. Whether you believe your child needs vitamins or not, when you choose the right supplements, there are proven health benefits both short and long-term.
- Help your kids get lots of rest in the days leading up to the trip. A well-rested child always travels better than those who do not. Sleep is critical to the body staying healthy.
- Involve your kids in the trip planning and preparation. Stress and anxiety weaken our immune response. The same is true for our kids. Help them get excited and eager for the journey by answering their questions, helping them pack, and assuring them of their safety.
During The Journey
I have found that it is crucial to have a well-planned arsenal of secret weapons handy for anything that may arise during the trip. Plan for the unexpected. This not only helps everyone feel their best, but it also reduces a lot of stress.
The Parent’s Travel Arsenal
- Snacks, snacks, and more snacks. Never underestimate how hungry your kids can get during a trip. Keep the snacks healthy, full of protein, and low on sugar.One of our favorite travel snacks/meals is an all-natural powdered meal shake for kids. I measure out single-servings of it into baggies before the trip. When needed, I simply empty a bag into our travel shaker cup (to break up chunks) with some milk, and voila! A great healthy snack that satisfies a longer time. This is great to have on-hand for unexpected layovers or delays that may keep a regular meal at bay.
- Water bottles to refill. Keep kids well hydrated, even if it means a few extra bathroom stops. Plan those stops into your trip.
- Stay faithful with a supplement program even during travel. Kids’ bodies need the extra nutritional support even more during the trip because we have far less control over what they eat. It’s more challenging to eat well while traveling than at any other time.
- Don’t force nap time(s). Encourage times of sleep by providing quiet activities for your kids to do or bringing their favorite snuggle toys, but don’t force it. Kids will naturally be excited to see and experience new things. They will fall asleep when their body gets tired enough.
- Bring new activities or games to play. Before any trip we take, I always head out to the store and purchase something new–a book, coloring pads, new box of crayons, a small toy, etc. This new item then makes its appearance at a time when I need it most. As a parent, you know exactly the moment I am talking about.
After You Arrive
When you arrive at your destination, be sure to plan an extra day just to relax. Have no real agenda that first day except to catch up on some sleep.
Keep to the basics of healthy food choices while away from home so that the immune system stays strong. During your vacation is not the time to completely slack off on good nutrition.
Parents who travel with kids all know that the trip home always feels longer. Keeping your kids healthy during the vacation is just as important as before you left.
Stay healthy, and make your trip memorable by the great experiences–not by the negative ones.