Do you have children? Then you might recognise yourself in this daunting thought; traveling with your kids. This fear may even lead to the decision of not traveling long distance at all. I have some good news for you, it’s not that hard! It’s even possible to sit down relax and enjoy the ride… These are 7 useful tips to make travelling with kids as relaxed as possible.
1. You will survive
Inhale and take a deep breathe. Accept the fact that travelling with your kids won’t always go as planned. It might be an overwhelming thought, but the most important thing to remember is: this will end. You will get to the destination. You will survive!
2. Well begun is half done
Do yourself (and others!) a favor and prepare yourself and your kids for the trip. If your children are old enough, the best thing to do is inform them about the travelling time and what the day will look like. For example: ask them what they need during the 12-hour flight. My kids love their Donald Duck magazines or books they can read. Bring some snacks, travel games and their favorite cuddly toy. The little screens in the chairs are a godsend for those traveling with small children, and for those sitting around them. If you have your own technology, bring it!
3. Pack smart
In 2014, we traveled through Asia with our family (2 adults, 2 kids, age 6 & 10) with only two backpacks! We seemed to forget that almost everything can be bought abroad. It might not be ‘your’ favorite brand but you’ll manage. When your kids are old and strong enough; let them carry their own stuff (it will make them think twice about all those clothing and footwear they want to pack! My tip for smart & easy packing: packing cubes. Travel packing cubes are the ultimate luggage organizers and maximize the space in your bag.
Be flexible on your trip, because a child’s mood and interests can change constantly.
4. Track your kids
It’s THE worst horror scenario for parents: your child lost. From our own experience, we can strongly advise: never assume a friend or relative is watching over your kid. We did this once and lost our daughter for about 30 minutes at the airport (not cool, and thankfully she was OK). A simple solution is to write your own name and phone number on their arm. That way, if they are found, you can be contacted easily. It’s also possible to invest in a GPS tracking device. These days you cannot be careful enough and this way you might feel a lot more at ease.
5. Necessary preps
Some country’s really need some good preparation, for both pre- and during the journey. Does your baby need a visa? Should you bring medication, e.g. malaria tablets or get vaccinations? You don’t want to get caught out last minute. Check your local health authority for all the info.
6. Be flexible and go with the flow
Of course, the goal of your travel is to create memories. Keep in mind that children need time to burn off energy and enjoy the company of other kids of their own age. Parents also need quiet periods to rest and some other adult-company as well. Be flexible on your trip, because a child’s mood and interests can change constantly. (but i’m sure you knew that!) If you and your kids find something else you’d rather do, be spontaneous and go with the flow. No stress means happy holidays!
7. Keep calm and enjoy
Go easy on your kids and leave the over-disciplining at home. This doesn’t mean you should let your kids run wild (this will not be appreciated by the people around you) but if you’re working on something with your child and it comes up on the plane, well you’re probably best to not use this as a learning experience. Keeping the kids calm is more valuable than using every teachable moment. Those around you will appreciate it. This certainly made my traveling experience a lot more relaxing!
Hope these tips help!
*Cheryl is a mother of 2, with a love for travel. Having 2 kids didn’t stop her from traveling the world and she has become somewhat of an expert when it comes to traveling with children. She will write for Wander-Lust once a month where she will provide you with the best traveling tips for and with children! Find out more on her blog: travellingwithkids.extrememedia.nl