It is that time again; when you get to travel with your kids for the long-awaited holiday. Whether it is your second, fourth or seventh child, traveling with kids can be daunting. What if they are frazzled by the time you arrive at your destination? What if they act up or are too loud and you can’t control them?
Thankfully, you can follow some tips to help you have a fun-filled holiday with your children. After all, family means a lot, and family time should be highly valued. Here are some 25 top tips for traveling with kids.
1. Just Do it!
Although the idea of traveling with children can be overwhelming and make you anxious, the critical thing to know is that it is worthwhile. You will get there eventually, and it’s not that bad. Focus on the end goal and find a way you can sail through. Remember to stay calm, even when everyone around you is rushing.
2. Research! Research! Research!
Find out everything about the trip. Do you need any jabs before traveling? Does your little one need a visa? What about the weather – will it be hot or cold? This is necessary because it determines the kind of clothes to pack. Also, find out what’s their culture is like. Some towns do not allow a particular style of dressing. Remember to inquire about the food as well, because your child might not be comfortable eating some foods. If you are traveling for fun purposes, research on the places to visit in advance. That way, you will not be hit by surprises when you arrive, and you will have enough time to select child-friendly escapades.
3. Pack Light
Whether you are going to another country, a new town or city, they have retailers there too. Therefore, there is no need for over packing. Carry only the essentials and avoid the extras. The shops you find there might not be selling the brands of choice, but they will have something for you. Most parents are concerned about the diaper brands. This should only be an issue if you use eco brands because they are hard to find. However, you can run a little test with a non-eco diaper to see if your child has any reaction. If they don’t, you can buy the diaper when you arrive at your destination.
4. Vacation Rental vs. Hotel
You need to consider the benefits and downsides of the two options. Hotels have perks like babysitting services and room service. On the other hand, you can make a home out of a vacation rental. There you can prepare the meals that your family loves. It’s a matter of preferences, and any can do so long as it suits you.
5. Book Wisely and in Advance
The last thing any parent would wish for is to miss out on a place to put up. That is why you should book in advance and make wise choices. If you choose to book a hotel room, make sure you know their kids’ policies. How is their service? Would it be a suitable place for the children? Was the room far from the reception? Remember that kids may be uncomfortable walking up several stairs. So, a place that might have been a haven for you can be a nightmare for the kids.
6. Find Ways of Tracking your Kids
If you are afraid that your little one might get lost in the public places, you can write your name and phone numbers on a tag and place it on their arms. This will make it simpler for the person who finds them if they are lost to contact you. If your child is very hyperactive and the chances of them getting lost are high, invest in a GPS tracking device. Attach it on your kid’s bag or wrist and watch their footprints on an app in your phone.
7. Pool vs. Sea
Even if you choose to vacation at a beach, it’s only wise to get a hotel with a pool too. Most children fancy swimming in the sea, but not all kids like being in the vast waters. Besides, many dangers loom in the sea, so, you need to find an alternative for them to swim. A pool is ideal for the little munchkins to splash around, get worked up in and cool down in.
8. Use Car Seats
While some people swear by infant seats, others feel that they are not necessary. The fact is that if you do not bring your infant car seats, you might have a regrettably tough trip. Although they are bulky, you will be guaranteed to have a smooth car ride. Consider buying convertible car seats for added comfort and luxury.
9. Carry a Baby Carriage, Stroller or Sling
Most parents are in a dilemma with regards to choosing the one to carry among the three. Well, there is never a straight answer to this, as it all depends on where you are touring. Will the streets are paved and how smooth are they? Will it be cold or very humid? What is your kid used to? An option that will serve you in almost all the situations is a light stroller. It is not only easy to travel with but can also be used as a temporary bed. Strollers are light and can be insulated with a rain cover and a blanket. You can use strollers on most terrains.
10. Pack Wisely
It pays to separate the items you need urgently from those you will require when you arrive at the destination of choice. This is where your nappy bag comes in handy, as you can use it to carry the small items you need. As you pack the diaper bag, make sure to factor in unexpected delays by adding a few things to the ones you need. Include snacks, baby wipes, spare pacifiers, and diapers. A few suckable sweets are a great addition as they help ease the tension of your little one and calm you down as well. Carry some plastic bags for used diapers and dirty clothes. For your comfort, add some toys, DVD player or tablet, batteries, and headphones. If you’ve got some extra space, throw in more baby wipes because you will need them.
11. Research Your Destination
If your little one is still feeding on breast milk, you ought to find out if the new city allows breastfeeding in public. Some countries are cool with it, while others will expect the mother to go to a private place. If you are in doubt, ask when you get there.
12. Discuss the Trip
If your child is old enough, it is advisable to talk about the trip. Take them through what they should expect. Let them know what is likely to happen and when it might happen. For instance, you ought to explain the essence of fastening their seat belts. When they understand the reasons behind everything that you ask them to do, they will be open to obeying and following the instructions. Most children will always see the positive side of everything, and it’s no different for a vacation. Rather than talking about the lovely beaches and rides they will enjoy, let them understand that there will be downsides too – like getting tired.
13. Cuddly Toys Make a Considerable Difference
A smart solution for the desperate moments when nothing seems to make it better is a cuddly toy. Your baby will experience untold comfort amidst the busy day and new environment by merely holding a giant teddy bear in his or her arms. Make sure to bring their favorite toy on board, especially the one they hold while sleeping. However, try your best to watch the toy so that your child doesn’t lose it. There is a high risk of losing a treasured toy, and the pain can bring more anguish than calm.
14. Be Ready for Upset Tummies
One of the terrible things that can happen to you when traveling with kids is for them to suffer stomach upset. What if they get sick and you do not have the right medication to give them? While this is a fear that we all have, it is easy to calm the situation by merely carrying the essentials. Planning will make the “stomach thing” something to shrug off rather than worry over. Always pack a sick bag whenever you are going on a road trip with your kid. Also, make sure you carry your medical card because it will come in handy in case any of you falls sick in the new town.
15. Keep Them Cozy
An uncomfortable child is a trigger for fussiness. If your baby does not feel comfortable, they are likely to be unhappy and to act up throughout the trip. Get them dressed in soft layers that you can take on and off depending on the temperature of the place. Pajamas are a great option, especially if you are going on an incredibly long distance. A pillow is an excellent addition too because your little one can snuggle up in the window seat against the door (keep it locked at all times) and drift away to the dreamy land.
16. Take Breaks
If you are going on a long road trip, it’s important to take short breaks in between transit. Remember that your baby may be unable to take in as much pressure as you can. So, make sure you stop at a few places along the route. This does not necessarily have to be during meal times. You can take random breaks, even to take pictures of sceneries that catch your attention. Your kid’s concentration and patience are not as high as an adult’s. This means that you should allow your child to take a break when they ask for one.
17. Be Armed with Snacks
Nothing calms a stubborn kid as a tasty snack would. If your child is all grown up and can take solid foods, make sure you have enough meals for the trip. A hungry child will not let you have peace, and only food can calm them down. While at it, make sure you carry healthy snacks too. After all, you wouldn’t want your loved little one to add extra pounds after the trip just because you fed them on a lot of it. Also, carry snacks that are less likely to trigger vomiting. All the snacks and foodstuffs should be fresh to avoid food poisoning.
18. Don’t Overdo the Planning
While you want to ensure that your child stays entertained the entire time, it is unwise to make the whole trip regimented. Rather than booking tens of excursions, write them down or keep track of the activities on a travel app. Most of these apps are free, and they provide maps and guides to several cities and town around the world.
19. Use the Traveling Time to Get Creative
A bored child will always be stubborn. Instead of sitting in the car and gazing at the “moving” buildings and trees, use your time to get creative. Engage in activities that will keep your little one busy as well. Some of the things you can do include drawing, coloring and creating new pieces of art. Here are some items you can carry to keep the dangers of boredom at bay:
- Reading books
- Pencils or pens
- Coloring set
- Paintbrush a book to paint
20. Is Low-Cost Worth It?
Although you might be lured into going for the cheap things such as hotels and meals, they can turn out to be costly in the long run. It doesn’t mean that you go for the most expensive bookings, but never make price your only consideration when traveling with kids. You might be okay with sleeping in a room with no conditioning, but your child wouldn’t. Always consider factors that are related to the quality of the service you receive eventually, rather than looking at the price only. As for meals, eat only in high hygienic restaurants because the stomachs of kids are more sensitive to poorly prepared meals than an adult’s. Besides, the last thing on your wish list is dealing with stomach issues.
21. Work Ahead of Time
It’s better to travel in the morning than late into the night. That is why you should consider starting your road trip early so that the night hours do not catch up with you. If you anticipate that the journey will take eight hours, leave at least two hours earlier to allow time for unexpected events. Arriving at your destination before dark will allow you time to settle in comfortably without rushing. You will also be guaranteed to fresh food and excellent services.
22. Carry Spares
Your car might run out of gas or oil along with your journey. Car punctures are also quite common, and they tend to happen when the vehicle runs for prolonged periods of time. Consider everything that could break down and make sure you have all the car spares you require. It also pays to have a mechanic’s number so that you can consult them in case of an emergency. If you can, take time to research on the best mechanics in the place you are headed. That way, you can call them right away to avoid waiting for too long. Bear in mind that kids hate being kept waiting, and they quickly run out of patience.
23. Figure Out What Could Go Wrong
Before you take off, jot down a list of the things that could go wrong. From falling sick to running out of gas and getting lost. Knowing what to expect will prepare you mentally, help you cope with adverse situations and keep unpleasant surprises at bay.
24. Have a Positive Attitude
Although it is easy to get overwhelmed by the journey, remember the reason that made you travel in the first place. Relax and do not tire over everything because these things are normal. If you feel worked out, do not shy from asking for help. Remember that you are here to enjoy the trip and let everything flow naturally.
25. Take Care of Yourself
While you might be tempted to pour all your efforts into watching over your baby, do not neglect your wellbeing. Remember that you are also traveling and you need to enjoy every moment of the journey. Otherwise, the trip will lose its meaning. Everything will turn out well the moment you watch over your comfort. If you are in proper shape, you will be in a perfect condition of coping with the trying times thrown at you by the errant changes. So, pack everything you need, sit back and enjoy your journey.
Travelling is often a life-changing experience, regardless of where you go to. It gives you a new perspective on life’s issues. If you are considering going on a road trip with your children you are about to make great memories. A little preparation will come in handy. Get your supplies ready and ensure your car is in excellent condition. Don’t forget to bring the infant car seats too!