moving children and the trip to the new home

Moving with Children:
The Trip to the New Home

Planning the trip, particularly when children are involved, will help avoid many potential mishaps and result in a much more enjoyable moving experience for everyone, including the family pet.

Most families moving by to a new city find it convenient to travel by car because it is more flexible and you can bring valuable possessions with you.

Budgeting Time

  • Allow enough time for a leisurely trip with several stops each day to give your children a chance to work off excess energy. If you have an infant, allow him a chance to kick or stretch while laying flat. Occasional stops will keep the driver from becoming too tired.
  • Stop early for an unhurried meal and a good night’s rest for the entire family.
  • Time permitting, visit special points of interest en route – state parks, recreational areas and other attractions. Just note that if you deduct moving expenses on your tax return, you can claim mileage only for the most direct route.
  • Plan your schedule so that you arrive at your destination before the moving van.

Overnight Accommodations

  • Make hotel reservations in advance and remember to confirm them.
  • Most national chains will reserve rooms in advance for each overnight stop en route. Ask the local branch about this service before starting your trip.
  • Rates at many motels and hotels allow for children in parents’’ room at no extra cost or at a nominal cost. Baby cribs are normally provided upon request.
  • If overnight camping is planned, make sure to get information about available campsites from the state department of recreation or tourism.



If the trip will take no more than a day, a picnic lunch to eat at a stop can be fun.

Even if you plan to have main meals at restaurants, keep favorite snacks and drinks in the car so that everyone feels like they have what they want.

For little ones, take along enough dry formula that only requires water and doesn’t need refrigeration. If you do have a baby, make sure to take along several bottles of water to avoid upsets caused by an abrupt change in water supply.


Make sure everyone travels in comfortable clothes. Take a few washable outfits, instead of a bigger supply of clothes that you won’t wash. You may want to let each child pack his or her own clothes in a small case or carryall. It gives children a sense of important that they find enjoyable.

Take Along Suggestions


Make a list of all your baby’s daily needs at home. Take only those items that are absolutely necessary. Send everything else in the moving van.

Here is a checklist of good items to take:

  • Suitable, comfortable and easy-to-wear and wash clothing
  • Diaper and/or utility bag
  • Blankets
  • Disposable diapers
  • Nursers with plastic, throwaway liners, nipples and pacifiers
  • Favorite cuddle toys
  • Baby food, formula, fruit juice, water and a can opener
  • Baby toiletries such as powder, lotion, oil and cotton balls
  • Safety-approved car seat
  • First-aid kit, including a thermometer, baby pain reliever and a small hot water bottle


Travelling with toddlers can be both tiring and fun. They are extremely inquisitive and quick to get away if not watched. A little forethought given to their particular needs will be to your advantage. Among things to consider are:

  • Collapsible stroller
  • Child’s portable car toilet
  • Safety-approved car seat
  • Favorite small toys

Elementary to Preteens

Children in their elementary and preteen years are easier to keep content during a long trip. Provide them with a few travel games, iPods, coloring books, etc. . Let them pick stuff out at the store prior to your move.


Teenagers will have their own ideas about what to bring. Let them decide what works for them whether it’s an iPod and a computer, or a book and cards.

Useful Items for Everyone

Make sure you have a first aid kit, flashlights, batteries, maps, tissues, toilet paper and pre-moistened towels for everyone.

Set aside the things you have decided to take with you and clearly mark them "DO NOT LOAD" so that they are not accidently placed in the truck with the rest of your household goods.

Loading the Car

Load your luggage carefully, being sure to distribute weight as evenly as possibly. Put the heaviest luggage in the forward area of the car trunk or on the floor behind the front seats. Make sure it cannot shift. If using a car top carrier, put the heaviest luggage on the bottom. Place the things that you will need most often where they can be reached easily.

With a little advanced planning and few surprises, moving can be a fun family trip. Making it an exciting experience for your children will make arriving at destination easier. Then, you can focus on the next step, which is adjusting to your new home.

Read moving advice on adjusting to your new home [[hyperlink]] or return to the moving with children guide.