Who doesn’t love traveling? Everyone is excited to travel regardless if it’s international or local, may it be through land or air or water. However, traveling with the kids around is a different story compared to traveling alone or with co-adults. There are lots to consider, from the things to pack to surviving the travel time. It is always daunting, but we’ve listed 10 tips to ensure that everyone will have a good time during the family getaway.
1. Do not overpack.
You don’t have to bring your child’s whole wardrobe for a couple of days vacation. To avoid packing unnecessary things and forgetting the important ones, make a checklist of the things that should be packed for your kids. You can start packing your child’s stuff 3 days or a week before your scheduled trip, just make sure to crash out the items that have been packed. This will avoid you from cramming.
Here are some of the necessities that should be included on your kids backpack:
- Baby wipes
- Spare pacifiers
- Snacks (avoid too much sweets)
- Extra clothes
- iPad/tablet/DVD player
- Plastic bags (for trash)
2. Book wisely.
Decide whether you want to book a hotel or vacation rentals. Weigh in both the pros and cons as well as consider the needs and comfort of your little ones. Hotels offer room service, baby-sitting services, meals, etc. Check if they offer baby supplies rentals (car seat, playpen, or stroller) so you don’t have to carry those stuff while flying and save from additional baggage fees. On the other hand, vacation rentals allow you to prepare your own meals and your kids will still feel at home. Most of the time, these are cheaper compared to hotels. However, most of these rentals are a bit far from tourist spots and would require commuting, which might be already tiring and stressful for the kids.
3. Expect a slow(er) pace.
You might be used to rushing things before, but things are different now. You need to take the pace slower since kids are already around. When planning for the activities or the places to visit, be realistic on the things you want to cover. Include fewer activities so you can enjoy each day and avoid feeling like you’re running out of time. Having lesser things to do on your list will save you from disappointment if you failed to accomplish everything. Less pressure means stress-free and more enjoyable getaway. Spend more time to lesser places, allow your kids to play at the park or be mesmerized with the buildings and scenery.
4. Find fun for everyone.
Plan activities that will give everyone an opportunity to enjoy, something that will meet the needs of all the family members. You can visit cathedrals, fancy restaurants, playgrounds, and the like. Try to include the places you’d also like to see aside from the places for your kids. You will be surprised that everyone will enjoy it even if the place is not really of their interest.
5. Allocate rest time.
You can start your activities early in the morning then return to the hotel or the vacation rental after lunch. This is the best time to recharge and cool off (especially if it’s burning hot outside). You can continue your itenary once everyone is up. You don’t have to rush things. Rest is necessary for your kids and for you too.
6. Be knowledgeable about the place you’re visiting.
It is a must to know the culture and the basic rules of the city or country you are visiting. If you are breastfeeding, search the Internet if your travel destination allows breastfeeding in public or if there are designated areas where you can. If you want to be 100% sure, you can always ask the locals. It is also important to know their dos and don’ts, there are things that are acceptable in your country but a taboo to others.
7. Prepare the important documents of your kids.
As a precautionary measure for child trafficking, you might be asked for proof that you are authorized to travel with your kids. It is important that you bring their birth certificate and marriage certificate. If you are traveling alone with your kids, you will need to secure a signed and attested consent letter from the other parent confirming that you are allowed to travel with your kids. If the other parent is already dead, you also need to bring proof like their death certificate. In cases where the child is adopted, do not forget his/her adoption papers.
8. Book an early morning or late night flight
Most of the time, morning flights are not delayed and less crowded. Your kids might just take a nap and continue their disrupted sleep. Traveling late night also means that your kids will only sleep on the trip so you don’t have to worry about dealing with their tantrums or disturbing co-passengers.
9. Look for the best place to sit on the airplane.
It is important to check with the airline on the appropriate seat that you should choose. Some aircraft do not have extra oxygen masks for your little ones. Sitting at the very end of the plane means you will only disturb fewer people and you can get up and use the toilet any time. However, the back of the aircraft can be noisy and the seats can’t be reclined fully. Being in front is just like sitting at the back.
Selecting the middle seat allows you to use the bulkhead seats plus more legroom and more space for play. You can also use a baby cradle (if there’s any). The main disadvantage of sitting in the middle is that storage under the seat in front of you is not available.
When choosing a seat, always consider the age of your children.
10. Break routines.
Leave the strict schedule at home like the designated meal time and bedtime. If the place you visited offers a vibrant nightlife that is suitable for your kids, let them stay up late and enjoy the night. If they want to munch some not-so-healthy food or grab a bunch of pizza and fries, allow them. Bending the rules over the vacation won’t change anything once you get back home. Let go of the standards for a couple of days and give your kids the chance to fully enjoy the holiday. They will surely won’t forget all the trips you have as a family.
Check out these relevant resources and find out more strategies to make your trip with kids a success.
- 25 essential tips for traveling with kids: The post offers 25 tips to help you prepare and remain sane when traveling with your kids.
- 11 Tips for Cheap Travel With Kids: The post offers 11 practical tips on how to save when traveling with your children.
- 14 Strategies for Stress-Free Air Travel With Children: The post provides 14 tips to make your air travel stress-free. It offers strategies on the things to do before your flight, at the airport, and in the air.
- 15 Tips for Traveling With Kids: The post offers 15 tips on how to plan big trips with little kids based on the lessons they’ve learned from visiting four countries and five cities with their preschooler.
- 50 top tips for traveling with kids: The post discusses 50 essential tips for parents who are planning to take a trip with their kids.
Traveling with kids requires a notable amount of adjustments especially when you are used to traveling alone or with co-adults. But you will realize that traveling with them is twice the fun. All you have to do is plan accordingly and do not expect that everything will be smooth sailing. Be calm whatever the situation is and, above all, have fun and create great memories with your family. Have a safe trip and enjoy exploring the world.