10 Tips for Travelling with Kids

Are you traveling with young children and worried on how will you manage a toddler on a plane or on long haul flights? It is fun to travel with kids only when you are properly equipped and have a good idea about how to manage things. If you need some tips, do not be worried, in this article about travel you will find some useful ideas and tips to make your travelling with kids a happier one.

Imagine your pre-kids travel: unplanned, spontaneous, crazy adventures, late nights partying followed by an early morning on the bus, lazy days spent by the hotel pool or beach, busy days trekking through museums or hiking across mountains. Doing that with kids will be hard, and probably impossible.

But if you can adjust your expectations, plan a little bit and be flexible with those plans, take your kid’s needs into account and choose somewhat carefully, it can be amazing and rewarding and exhausting but definitely, definitely doable.

Age matters. A very young baby, particularly an exclusively breastfed baby with a parent who can wear them, just tags along wherever. An active, crawling baby is probably the hardest. Once they’re walking confidently it just gets easier and easier, provided you take them into account.

You need to be more optimised and thoughtful when you are traveling along with your kids. Some right ways of packing of luggage and tips for travelling with kids can be very helpful for you to make your family travel an easy one. You know your children better than anyone else so hopefully you know the secrets to keeping your children quiet, occupied, and calm during an international flight.

Start with the question, How do I keep my child preoccupied while I get stuff done at home? The answers you come up with also apply in this situation but with one big difference. While a child throwing a tantrum at home causes little to no anxiety in you, the same situation on an airplane can be extremely painful and stressful so yes, it is OK to bend your own rules a little and do everything possible including bribery, to keep your child occupied and quiet.

Here are the hacks to have ready in your arsenal.

1. Carry your kids favourite snacks

When you are travelling it may not be possible for you to buy or may be what you need is not available at every point. Therefore, pack lots of snacks, mainly your kids favourite ones, and give it to your kid as and when he/she asks for it. Snacks can be the muffins, cookies, wafers, tetra packed fruit juice, etc.

Since everybody in your group is entitled to a carry-on, get your kids to carry cool backpacks. Furthermore they can also carry a travel first aid kit and favorite snacks that they cannot live without. Keep a cooler full of snacks in case they’re hungry between stops on the road. Stop at gas station, grocery, restaurants and let them choose a few favorite munchies to grub on for the road.

Whatever feels right, in unfamiliar territory a snack they love from home can be comforting when far from it. And by allowing kids to choose their snacks during a pit stop, they have something to look forward to in each new place besides potty breaks and you looking forward to filling gas and getting back on the road.

2. Engage the boredom

Kids often get bored while travelling long distance as they do not get something to entertain themselves. Therefore, carry some good and engaging material for them so that the boredom can be tackled for few hours.

This time you have to be lenient and give your kid some screen time. Don't bring plenty of toys but only those that your kids love. Choose simply a favorite one or two. ou cannot watch the entertainment system or sleep all the time especially if it’s really a long flight. It’s a good time to make a good progress on a book that you had been putting off lately.

It’s a universal road trip rule that a kid will get bored or cranky at some point when there’s a lag in activities going on around them. That’s why utilizing screen time, familiar snacks, and playing games like I-Spy can really help pass the time between your more interesting stops.

The license plate game can be fun, naming which license plates you’ve seen from other states. Punchbug is when the kid will lightly “punch” or slap someone on the arm when they see a Volkswagen beetle or vice versa, this game is also known as a “slugbug”.

Then there’s always finding a hotel or putting a movie on a portable DVD player as a more advanced bartering chip when kids are tired of seeing the sights. It’ll happen, long hours on the road can take some time to get used to that still feels strange to children. Their favorite comfort characters on DVD are there to entertain them when you’re still navigating the road trip, and between destinations.

It can be the most breathtaking scenery and the child can still be not having it, and the movie will make those 90 minutes pass so much faster for them. If you do not have access to a DVD player try stimulating them with conversations, storytelling, or what your itinerary for the road trip may be. I went as far as drawing or reading when vacationing as a child because it was something fun to focus on when driving gets boring, which is inevitable.

Try incorporating stops on the trip just for the kids and remind them of the amenities at your hotel, resort, or campground during especially low points. They don’t always see the bigger picture and that’s okay, they’re used to routine and outlining what’s happening on the trip can give them a lot to excited about/look forward to while traveling together.

3. Naptime is important

Nonstop flights are always good when traveling internationally with a family. However, if they do not have the option of price or routing, then there should be at least 1.5 hours for your stopover. Make sure that you have enough time to move around the airport.

And if your long flights involves two flights of over six hours with a stop in between (for example, from New York to Los Angeles to Hong Kong), spend the night in an airport hotel. It will give comfort for everyone to travel.

It is important to allow your kid to nap for a while to have rest while travelling otherwise exertion will make them unmanageable. However, most of the time kids do not nap by themselves when they are travelling, hence make them sleepy while holding them on your lap. They will wake up fresh and enjoy the further part of the journey or activities.

Melatonin can work magic. Try it to help expedite naps or calm your screamer down if necessary. Benadryl for Children (no alcohol) to help take naps or calm down if necessary (only a small amount in order to get through airport security.)

Key word here is: distractions! Look for the fun in everything. Naps are always on the table especially during the long haul, phone games or other forms of screen time are always a great bartering chip when the boredom sets in.

4. Do not forget the Medicines

Many kids suffer from motion sickness while travelling. The symptoms include vomiting and headaches. This makes them more tired and cranky. Therefore, to avoid this unwanted condition of your child always carry some prescribed medicines for this. Always consult the pediatrician before travelling to the long distances.

Apart from this motion sickness medicine, carry some general yet important medicines for cough and cold, diarrhea, and headache.

5. Travel with short breaks

No matter how much distance you are going to travel, plan your trip considering your kids too. A prolonged hour of journey is going to be too hectic for your and for your kids too. Kids starts behaving irritable and cranky and will spoil your planned fun. Therefore, it is suggested that if you are planning to travel long distance then consider short breaks while travelling in order to re-energise yourself and your little monsters too.

You may have preferred to travel in public transport during your backpacker days to save costs. But when you are traveling as a family, it is always good to be more comfortable and timely. So do not think twice and instead replace it with a more expensive taxi.

But for every decision you make as a family, you can get benefits that may cost a little extra, but also can save you a lot of stress. A little more cost in a hotel near the city and the theme parks and attractions you visit are valuable, so you spent less time moving between two places.

6. Pack what is NEEDED

Prepare a packing list. Carry only those stuff in your luggage which is very much needed during travel, rather than carrying unwanted stuff and making yourself overloaded. Prefer light weight clothes both for you and for your kids, so that it can be easily washed and dried. In addition, it is much easier to pack light clothes than the heavier ones.

Remember, the smaller number of luggage, the more comfort and easy handling for you. Also remember that packing cloth is an art, try to know about it and adopt it. Do not forget to put together all of your hand luggage tags together with your passports. It’s always cold inside the flight. Also make sure you carry your sweaters or jackets with you (and not in check-in) if your destination or transits have a cold weather.

You might need it right after you exit the gates sometimes. Put some kind of a marker or a tag on your check-in luggage that distinguishes it clearly from others. This really helps in the baggage pick up area.

7. Get some hotel inclusions

Prefer to have those hotels for your stay who offer morning breakfast as an inclusion of your stay. This will help you to find good meals for you and for your kid and if you want you can pack few of them with yourself while going for the sightseeing.

You can leave your favorite baby food, wipes and diapers back home as most countries has stores that stock similar stuff. So what you need for the trip is to plan the stock for the first day or two, and buy the rest after reaching. Similarly, do not worry about bringing your own portable baby bed. Most hotels can offer them free and this is another thing that you can quickly check in advance with phone calls or reading hotel reviews.

8. Give some time for rest too

The way to succeed is through exclusion of a few popular spots during a family trip abroad. An international family vacation is probably going to involve a rather serious outlay of money in transportation, passport and visa fees alone. Explore for places that has a balance of offerings from urban and nature to relaxation and arranged activities.

Then you'll be able to keep your beach vacations fascinating for everybody. Also, you do not have to be afraid about the long journey if you can save money during the journey. Bali may require some cheap flights, for example, and once you are there you will be happy to spend $ 10 saved on spa treatment to take away the jet lag.

It will be good if you plan your activities for the day time and give your body to relax and rest at evening. It will give you the chance to enjoy the fun time next day as you and your kid are full energised and active.

9. Take help of Stroller

The baby strollers are the safest carrier while travelling. It helps in soothing the baby. Moreover, it will be easy for you to carry all baby accessories. Your baby can sleep comfortably as well.

Travelling with kids can be the most enriching and wonderful experience. It can be a nightmare too depending on the way you have prepared yourself for the journey. Just follow the above-mentioned tips for travelling with kids, and make your journey the most loved one.

Interesting Reads: How to Encourage Child to Play Outside

10. Travel hacks for international flights

Sudden travel plans are fun, but they can really put a dent in your pockets. That is why it is imperative that you plan your holidays in advance and book tickets at least 2-3 months before. It will save you a lot of money.

Always prefer an aisle seat. Most airlines let you pick your meal in advance. This comes handy especially when you have diet restrictions so that you don’t have to settle with the with the limited options they have on the flight. Most airlines will hand you over the immigration form before landing and it’s better to carry a pen with you so that you are not waiting on others.

In most cases you will also beat the immigration line if you are well prepared with the documents before others. Most airlines now a days provide a limited complimentary wifi and let you upgrade to a premium full flight internet for a fee. It’s totally worth buying it (it’s typically ~10$) especially if you are working and want internet to check emails or browse.

Enroll in the airlines frequent flyer program and use your membership number for all your purchases. Who doesn’t like free upgrades or lounge access once in a while?

Keep these tips in mind for your next trip and enjoy a hassle free fun holiday with kids.
Kalyan Panja