“Are We There Yet?” Guide to Traveling with Kids by Air, Land, and Sea

AAA shares advice on taking flights, road trips, and cruises with children

Family hiking looking at the view

WASHINGTON, DC (September 25, 2023) – Traveling can be blissful, inspiring, and restorative. Traveling with kids – let’s face it – can be challenging. AAA travel advisors say with enough planning and creativity, traveling with kids can be successful, not stressful!  

“Travel is an enriching and educational experience for children of all ages,” said Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel. “AAA is fortunate to have so many experienced travel advisors who know the ins and outs of family travel and can help AAA members plan memorable vacations.”   


Before You Go: When you’re purchasing airline tickets, AAA travel advisors say avoid buying basic economy if you’re traveling with kids. Basic fares come with restrictions and oftentimes that means no seat selection. If your family wants to sit together, be sure to purchase at least regular economy, also known as main cabin. Download movies and shows on your mobile device ahead of time, in case there’s no Wi-Fi onboard. Carry a backpack instead of a suitcase to free up your hands at the airport and during boarding and deplaning. 

En Route: Seat children by the window, especially during takeoff and landing, so they can see what’s happening on the ground and in the sky. During the flight, keep kids entertained with snacks, stickers, coloring books, and small toys that don’t make noise (your fellow passengers will thank you!). Keep young children cozy with a sweater or sweatshirt that can double as a blanket. Bring an extra change of clothes for little ones who are prone to spills and accidents.  

Kid-Friendly Destinations: International travel is a special way to show children the world and spark their sense of adventure. Consider the Caribbean or Europe, and don’t forget to apply for your child’s passport well in advance. RushMyPassport helps expedite the process and AAA members get discounted rates. 

Aruba: Beautiful beaches and plenty of activities for kids  

Greece: Historic sites and vibrant culture  


Before You Go: Map your route ahead of time with AAA’s free travel planner TripTik. You can look up gas stations, EV charging stations, rest areas, hotels, campgrounds, and restaurants. AAA travel advisors say if you’re planning to stay overnight at a hotel on your road trip, book your room in advance to guarantee lodging. Check your tire pressure, oil, and battery. Pack water, snacks, and an emergency kit complete with a flashlight, blanket, and phone charger. 

En Route: Hit the road early in the morning, while the kids are still sleepy and will likely fall back asleep when they get in the car. When they wake up, play music and sing family karaoke. Or try this game: tell older children to add up the license plate numbers on passing cars and see who can do it the fastest. Keep score and whoever “wins” 10 license plates gets a prize, likely getting to choose where you stop for lunch!  

Kid-Friendly Destinations: Pack up the car and head to U.S. National Parks or drive north to explore the wonders of Canada. 

National Parks: Stunning scenery and wide-open space to roam and explore  

Nova Scotia: Ocean views, rolling landscapes, and outdoor activities 


Before You Go: Not all cruises are created equal! Some ships cater more to adults or couples, so be sure to do your homework. AAA travel advisors can point you in the right direction and help you book a family-friendly cruise that meets your budget and needs. Travel advisors can also make sure you have connecting cabins if you’re traveling with a big family. 

En Route: Once you’re on the ship, take advantage of kid-friendly activities on board, whether that’s the water park or movie theatre. One of the biggest perks is the kids club, where children can meet other kids, play games, and do arts and crafts while their parents enjoy themselves poolside or at the spa!  

Kid-Friendly Destinations: Cruising is a great way for children to travel and see the world, while still getting to be playful and silly on the ship!  

Alaska: Whale watching, glacier viewing, and adventurous shore excursions 

Anywhere in the World: Venture outside your comfort zone and sail to Africa, Asia, or Australia!  

Need more inspiration? AAA’s one-stop shop trip planning tool Trip Canvas lets you dream and search vacation destinations, AAA Diamond hotels and restaurants, and top trending tours and cruises. 

 About AAA   

Started in 1902 by automotive enthusiasts who wanted to chart a path for better roads in America and advocate for safe mobility, AAA has transformed into one of North America’s largest membership organizations. Today, AAA provides roadside assistance, travel, discounts, and financial and insurance services to enhance the life journey of over 63 million members across North America, including over 56 million in the United States. To learn more about all AAA offers or become a member, visit