Here are essential things to remember if you’re traveling with kids:
1. Plan your trip expecting the things that might cause delays, and yes that includes toddler’s temper tantrums. If you think a straight train or bus ride with no stopovers are best for your kids, then do so, but some parents find it easier to have stopovers and connecting flights. Kids can be cranky on long trips, it helps if they can stretch their legs and enjoy the change in scenery. While you may have smoothed out your trip to the very last detail, things happen to your kids – such as an upset tummy, missing a favorite toy, getting bored, or worse wanting to go home, right at that moment. That made me think of the next tip which is:
2. Do not forget to bring his favorite toy.
Kids, especially toddlers who might be used to routine at home, may suddenly find the whole trip unpleasant and demand to go home. Just tell them exactly where you’re going and how long the trip would take. Have a pleasant attitude yourself and radiate it so your child can feel your excitement as well. Bring his favorite book or toy to pass the time at an airport, during a long road trip. In this case, the best thing that you can bring is a gadget with pre-installed apps for kids to play. Never forget his security blanket, or security toy or security pillow. It makes him feel at home anywhere. Don’t forget paper and colored pens for them to draw while waiting for a flight, or the next bus. Get them to draw postcards of the places they’ve been to. Or just draw what they see.
Another surefire way of keeping kids pre-occupied during a vacation is an instant camera. Bring an instant camera that your child can play with. Let him take pictures as he explores new places with you. You’ll be amazed how pre-occupied they can get. You also might get amazed at the pictures they take from the perspective of a 3-foot tall photographer.
3. Place first-aid kit on top of your packing list. Prepare for emergencies. Prepare clothing for any inclement weather.
An upset tummy, an unexpected fever that goes away in 24 hours, dizziness due to motion sickness, headache and all kinds of pain may make your trip more difficult and we cannot just pray they don’t happen to you or your kids while in transit. Again, the best cure is prevention and preparedness. Bring anti-allergens, anti-histamines, paracetamol, fever kit (thermometer, towelette). Pack in anti-motion sickness medicines and make sure your kids take them an hour before the trip if they are prone to motion sickness. Have several plastic bags with you just in case, good for any rubbish too. Prepare several zip lock bags for all kinds of purposes – to keep snacks organized, to waterproof gadgets, to keep clothes from getting wet. Bring enough nappies for toddlers, milk in sectioned cups, and warm clothing (bonnets, socks) for cold weather.
Before the trip, take note of the nearest doctor or hospital’s number from your destination, and see the pediatrician at least two weeks before for necessary vaccinations and inquire about antimalarial if you need to.
4. Book your hotel or inn ahead of time, and have a plan B just in case it didn’t work out with your first choice.
No, you can’t drag your kids looking for rooms in a fully-booked in destination, unless you want to tire them out looking for an available room in peak season.
5. Last but not the least, have fun while traveling. Expect that there will be disappointments along the way but don’t let that ruin your day. Your child will pick up on the happy vibes and will be much more cooperative when you need him or her to be cooperative. See the world with adventure and joy in your heart, and your child will definitely pick up your vibes and may even teach you a thing or two about simple joys.
It’s always best to err on the side of caution when travelling with kids, especially if they’re still babies. Know your itinerary by heart, double-check the needful, and have a contingency plan in case something goes wrong with your original plan. Travelling with kids should be a breeze for the well-prepared traveler parents.