Tips on traveling with kids this holiday season

(CNN) - Traveling alone can already be stressful, but throw kids into the mix and you may think twice about leaving home for the holidays.

A well-known pediatrician said travel with young children doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

“They say getting there is half the fun, but getting there is half the challenge also when you’re traveling with young children,” pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp said.

From airport anxiety to flying frustration, leaving home for the holidays can take a toll on your mental health, especially when traveling with kids.

“You’re taking a young child to an environment they don’t know. Everything is new. Smells are new. Sights are new and dangers are new,” Karp said.

If you’re flying, Karp said you should set realistic expectations and remember traveling with young children is different than when you’re alone.

Karp said it’s important to keep kids entertained. He suggests having a bag of snacks and toys they haven’t seen before, so they stay interested. And pay attention to their ears, because change in pressure can cause discomfort.

“Having something for your child to drink is really one of the best things you can do,” Karp said.

Once you’ve landed, make the child’s environment familiar by bringing things that make them comfortable at home like stuffed animals, a favorite blanket or a noise maker.

“The more that you can reproduce the things they’re expecting, the better,” Karp said.

If you change time zones, Karp said to get as much sun exposure as you can during the day since it’ll help little bodies get acclimated to new surroundings.

If your child has a hard time sleeping away from home, Karp said to talk to your doctor about the use of melatonin. He said it can help children over the age of 3 get rest.

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