Even when we love our kids so much that we would give our lives up for them, having kids with you is not easy on the travel plans. There’s suddenly a whole lot of precautions you’ve got to know when traveling with kids. They don’t always make it easy on you either. But despite the added pressure, traveling is irreplaceable. And the end result is always worthwhile.
Not only for you but also for them. Any child who travels a lot will most definitely turn out to be an adult with a clear head and a mind that lets them adapt to any situation.
Add to that the life-changing experiences and amazing memories you make on the way, and all the trouble seems worth it again. This is why we’ve compiled a general list of tips for when you do go traveling with your children.
1. Boredom busters
You definitely need to pack something that’s gonna get them out of your hair. After all, we all know how the little angels can turn out to be not-so angelic when they’re bored. Get a few games, something simple and fun. New toys or smaller picture books.
A small game of Ludo. Another thing you can do is to give them things to do too. Make them feel like they’re in charge of the whole trip, just as much as you are.
Now, this might defeat the point but try not to satisfy them by giving your phone to them. I mean, sure, you do get them to sit quietly in a corner in their busy little electronic world but it’s really not right for them.
This is how most kids get addicted to their phones and pretty much any gadgets from an early age. On top of that, they start missing out on all the wonderful sights and forget about the other types of fun they could have.
This isn’t something you need a rocket scientist for. Children are always hungry. I’ve got a 12-year-old at my house too. I thought it will wear off by this time but no. She’s always hungry. She claims it proudly too and eats everything she can get. (Everything doesn’t obviously count anything healthy.)
Sometimes, the food at your destination might be rejected because they’re not familiar with it. And sooner or later, the hunger and fatigue will get to them. You’re not immune to tiredness either. So, always keep a couple of snacks in your bag. It keeps them happy and it keeps you sane.
3. Spare Outfits
You never know what the emergency might be. I’m not encouraging overpacking, but you always need an extra pair of outfits for each person on the trip. From motion sickness to bumping into strangers with coffee, anything can happen and it’s always good to be prepared.
And I can’t stress this point enough if you have an infant or a toddler. You can clean up your child and get them down in clean clothes again of course. But if you don’t have an extra set for yourself too, you’re going to have to sit in those damp and smelly clothes till you reach your destination.
4. No overpacking (Especially When Traveling With Kids)
I’m a huge packrat myself. I can’t bear to throw things away. And while packing, I feel like everything is important. There’s no way my sister’s old marbles are not gonna come of use, right? What if I have to bet my way out of an opium den and these marbles were the only way to do so?
But unfortunately, things don’t work out like that in real life. Wait, that’s fortunate. Pack only the essential. Everyone knows you have your kids with you too. Just remember that when traveling with your kids, you might not necessarily have the best support.
And at the end of the day, there’s a good chance you’re dragging a sleepy child from airport to airport. You’d really be wondering about your packing choices at that point.
This should probably be counted in with packing but it’s a whole point of its own because it’s important. Make sure that you always have your medicines packed. Any medications for diabetes, blood pressure, allergies, etc. always have to be packed safely and conveniently.
If you do have a doubt about any of these medicines, make sure you have a copy of the prescription notes. Different countries have different regulations on medicines from foreign countries. Along with this, carry the basic first aid materials as well as some common medicine for headaches, body aches, fevers, allergies, and/or some basic pain killers.
Antibiotics, anti-itch remedies, and antihistamines are some more examples of what you may need. It’s never too safe.
While Traveling With Kids
6. Flight timings and comfort
The best way to get everything done more peacefully is by making sure your angels aren’t too energetic. Have you seen how innocent they are when they sleep? So, try to book your flights in the evenings. It makes the journey a bit less tensed.
And it would also be great if you could reduce the number of transfers in your journey. More often than not, connecting flights result in a race against time to get on board the next flight. It’s much harder when you have a child with you too.
If you absolutely have to get a connecting flight, then try to get tickets with ample time between the flights.
7. Slow and peaceful has got to be your new thing
Anyone who’s ever traveled with and without family knows the difference. Even the security seems to take their own sweet time when you’re traveling with family and your kids. But yes, it’s time to let all that stress leave you. You’ve got to admit to yourself that it will take time and not get unnecessarily tensed over the way things run.
Just accept that it’s someone else’s turn to rush into the check-ins. The flight’s anyway not gonna leave without you. (This doesn’t count for those who reach the airport with just the minimum time needed to board the flight.) As long as your kids aren’t too energetic with absolutely nothing to do, you will have no problem.
8. Put them in charge
There’s no child in the world who doesn’t appreciate being treated like an adult. Even the feeling that people consider them to be capable of making good decisions, can instill a positive sense of responsibility in them.
If you’re traveling with two kids who have an adequate age difference between them, ask your older child to look after the younger ones and make sure they don’t get into trouble. (It’s like how the teacher chooses the most troublesome kid in class to be the class monitor.)
Also, try to get them in on your travel plans too. Let them choose a few destinations. A few sights. That will get them more excited about the trip as a whole.
9. Reducing Costs
Many places and services offer child discounts. It might not be too much but it’s still a small amount off your back. This applies to buses and trains, hotels, airlines, popular sights, etc. And sometimes, in many places, they offer free services to children below the age of 5 and in some places, for children below 2.
You can check their websites for more information. And remember even if they have nothing mentioned there, the important thing is to ask. They could have always forgotten.
10. Keep all documentation always ready
Proper documentation is always a must while traveling. Whether it’s for you or for your child, you need to be extra careful with it. God forbid your child’s documents to get held up in a foreign country. Some of the documents you always need are passports, visas, insurance (if you have them,) birth certificates, and another form of identification.
It always makes sense to have an online copy, an offline copy on your phone/laptop as well as a printed copy of everything. No, it’s not too much caution. There’s nothing called too many precautions.
11. Don’t let your child get lost
(Are you laughing at my point?) Has anyone else been through that extreme pain and terror when you realize your child isn’t with you anymore, at some mall or shopping complex? Imagine that terror multiplying any time over because you can’t find your child at the airport.
Let’s not let that happen. Ensure that your child knows your basic contact information. Name, phone number, even address. Moreover, put it down in their bags, on the back of their collars, and maybe even on their hands. You can easily erase it later.
If you’re really worried about their safety because you travel a lot and your child is really small, or simply because they’re your child, you could always place a tracking device on them.
At Your Destination
12. Go for vacation rentals
Hotels are much easier to book and arrange for. And of course, they have cleanup crews and room service and all that. But when you’re with kids, opt for vacation rentals and homes. It lets your children become more comfortable with their surroundings. It creates a sense of home away from home.
You are more able to make food for them yourself. This will also prevent any risks of food poisoning or disease transmission.
To Sum Up
Traveling is a form of release. One of the ways you get to know about the world and relieve yourself of the world at the same time too. And remember, that’s exactly what you’re hoping your children feel too. So, try not to overstress, do the necessary and you’ll be perfectly fine.
And there are bound to be mistakes. We make mistakes when we travel solo. But we beat ourselves up about it when our kids are involved. And although it’s normal to do so, remember that the small mistake hasn’t taken away your vacation yet. So try to get the maximum out of traveling with your kids.
Start planning for your next vacation now. Do wait till the pandemic is over for your entire family to be out of course. But plan away. And call your kids and get them involved and excited too.
Now, if you have loved our post and have found it useful or if you know any more tips that you’d like to recommend to us, feel free to tell us through email or the comment section below. We would love to interact and know more about you.