10 Essential Tips for Travelling with Kids
As any parent will testify, once your little bundles of joy arrive into the world, your life changes… Yep just like that… With a snap of fingers, say a sad farewell to spontaneity and wave a weary hello to precision organization. Everything from a trip to the supermarket to a walk around the block requires an unbelievable amount of effort and newfound multi-tasking skills, especially if you want to do it all on a punctual schedule. If you don’t already have them, you soon learn pretty quickly…
Do Not Rush
Let this be your mantra irrespective of the stage of the trip. While planning your trip together, make sure you take care of all contingencies and keep a good time at each place to ensure that you are not rushing to reach somewhere else. This can easily happen when you happen to be late for your flight or your train. The movie Home Alone might be fiction, but children do often get lost in the hustle-bustle of the journey. Be patient and calm wherever you are.
Remember that almost everything can be bought abroad. It might not be the same brand, but you’ll manage. Diapers are often a concern as 100% eco and organic brands are sometimes hard to find. If you’re used to using an eco-brand, do a test run with a non-eco brand before you leave to see if your little one has any kind of reaction.
Bring a Few Comforts from Home
Allow your children to bring along a few home comforts such as a stuffed toy, reading books, or a portable music player.
Activity packs can be a lifesaver on a plane and car ride. Make one with items such as coloring pencils and books, card games, board games, hand held electronic games, puzzles etc.
Pre-Book Everything You Can
Of course you have your flights booked for your the trip, but your pre-booking shouldn’t end there. You might be used to showing up at a destination, getting a feel for the town, and picking a place to stay. This doesn’t work with kids.
When you arrive in a new place, you’ll want to go straight to your lodging, drop off bags, and give kids a chance to rest if necessary. This is especially true if it’s been a long journey to get to your destination.
You should know where you’re staying before you arrive. If you want a bit of flexibility in location, book the first night or 2 ahead of time, and decide where to stay for the rest of the trip once you’re settled.
Pre-booking doesn’t end with flights and lodging, either. Anything you can book ahead of time is 1 less thing you have to worry about while trying to keep your whole family fed, amused, and happy on your trip.
Packing baby food
Many airports will allow baby milk and baby food to be carried through security in containers over 100ml. They usually open containers to screen contents at the security point, but this only takes moments and doesn’t contaminate the food in any way. It’s worth checking with the airports you’ll be traveling through, just to make sure.
Mark Your Child
Some parents might find this animalistic, but it is beneficial for your child. No matter how well you plan, children are random variables that might bring unforeseen circumstances into your perfect equation. Make sure to put an identity on your child, either in the form of a locket around their neck, or a temporary tattoo of sorts, which has all the details one might require to contact you, should your child stray away.
Capture Your Family Travel Memories
Consider giving your child a journal and a cheap digital camera. Pictures can be put into a scrapbook after you return, providing a lasting keepsake of your wonderful experiences together.
Is low-cost worth it?
While it might be tempting to make use of low-cost carriers now that you’re a family, bear in mind they often fly into remote airports, which could mean more travel. It might be worth ditching the low-cost airlines and paying a bit more for ease and peace of mind (not to mention the fact that the price difference, once you factor in the extra transport from the remote airport to the city center, is often minimal)..
Choose The Right Seats
While travelling through trains, try to get window seats so that your child has something to look at and not get bored. While in a plane, opt for an aisle seat in the middle area of the plane to make it easier for you to walk your child or use the loo if needed.
What could go wrong?
Before you go, write a list of everything that could go wrong, from complete meltdown mid-flight to missing the flight entirely, and jot down how you’d cope. Running through situations before they happen can leave you mentally prepared – just in case!