Description: Traveling should be like water – smooth and flawless, right? Wrong? Taking travel with kids raises the stakes even higher. But it should be as normal as having dinner together, and here are a few tips to get you off the road.
Adventure awaits if you are ready to grab it by the horns.
Pandemic or not, economic turmoil or not, political fracas or none, life has to move on. Many parents make significant changes limiting themselves once children come into the picture. Let’s be honest, that sounds pretty mature but boring to the core. Life should move on; if anything, your children should be a big part of the lives you have come to cherish.
This is not a blog to prove to naysayers how fun-(ish) and possible it is to travel with kids. Instead, it’s a guide to show you how to best achieve this almost impossible task and yearn for the next adventure. We don’t provide a comprehensive list. We firmly believe experiencing it for yourself will give you some of the best lessons best suited for your family (families are different, after all).
Consider these seven tips as the fundamentals for new and old-time travelers to make trips and travels with kids a lifetime ordeal (of course, until they are old enough to get the hell out of your house and start a life.)
1. The Early Bird Catches the Fattest Worm
Don’t wait until your baby is seven years old for you to feel the urgency of traveling together. By this time, you’ll probably have another toddler to deal with, and you’ll have to wait again. One of the questions most parents wrestle with is the appropriate age when to travel with kids. With rest and proper planning, infants of 3 months can navigate the world with you. This is one way to get used to the ‘comfortability’ of having all eyes on you when your youngster starts throwing tantrums.
2. Flush Your Expectations Down the Drain
The trip will be magical! You’ll have a smooth flight all seated together like one happy family, get to your destination on time using the ideal transport, visit all the places in your itinerary, make loving memories and take selfies, enjoy a massive list of local cuisines, develop long-lasting relationships with the locals…
Wake up from utopia.
Traveling alone or as a couple always carries a lot of unexpected variables. How much more do you think a long journey with kids would be? If you’re not prepared to embrace messy and unknowns, you’re not ready to travel with kids. That said, some things remain constant, like how to travel safely with kids and increase comfort levels. Go shopping with them for travel pillows and blankets and if traveling on the road, carry with you the best car seat protectors.
3. Small Saves Equals Big Wins when You Travel with Kids
Traveling should not be a random hobby that you do to cool off during holidays. In as much as that is one of its benefits, traveling with kids should be more of a lifestyle – a culture that builds in good habits in the kids. And saving should be at the top of that list.
Save a little to travel more than a little.
Small saves today, like when shopping on groceries, could build up to huge perks tomorrow. Only purchase the necessary stuff and, as much as possible, avoid eating out. Eliminate unnecessary expenses and dedicate the money to a travel kitty. The best option would be to open a travel bank account. During the journey, opt for low-budget flights, which may be uncomfortable, then enjoy the staycation in cozy hotels.
4. The Essentials of Planning and Packing
Plan the trip ahead of time, even before buying the tickets. Traveling involves psychological and physical preparations for both you and the kids. You can eliminate some uncertainties through advanced planning, hence reducing stress, but you cannot get rid of all the stress associated with travel with kids. Simulate a travel event in a way kids will understand beforehand. Involve them in planning the itinerary, although you should also prepare for disappointments.
When it comes to packing, don’t bring everything from home in a bid to emulate your house environment. You can carry such things as travel children’s toilet seat to minimize movements on the plane, children’s travel bag to pack such things as toys and snacks to keep them entertained, and gadgets such as iPods to ensure they are busy and engaged. Try to plan the travel around their sleeping hours and have them play as much as possible before the flight.
Dedicate a day or two on arrival to rest, unwind, and plan the vacation ahead. Rest is also of utmost importance if you all are to enjoy travel with kids.
Have a separate bag to pack the essential documents, including your wallet, original and copies of birth certificates, passports, valid notes from the child’s absent parent, and the likes. Remember to carry crucial medicine like travel-size children’s Tylenol as a quick fix for minor aches.
5. Eagle’s Eyes on Kids
Don’t be fooled with movies like Home Alone – losing track of your kids in a foreign land is nothing but torture from the pit of hell. Ensure you always have an eye on them. However, since losing them is still a grand possibility, you can do a few things to make it easier for them to locate you. Have a note in their pockets, on their belts, or shoelaces (get as creative as you can) with your name, phone number, local, and email address. This makes it easier to locate you in case of any eventuality.
Let’s hope there’ll be none.
6. Choose the Best Flights
One way to make travel with kids smoother, especially on flights, is by choosing airlines that give you the best services. Our review showed the following airline to offer first-class-like treatment to traveling families in terms of comfort, entertainment, reservations, discounts, and kid-friendly environment;
- JetBlue Airline
- Virgin America
- Southwest Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- Alaska Airlines.
7. Keep this in Mind when Traveling with Kids
Life is too short not to make memories.
Flexibility is a critical component in the equation. Things may and will not go the way you expect them to, but the ability to change and conform to the changes will be a plus on you and act as a strong suit.
Whether traveling on the road, air, or sea (last option), teaching kids etiquette and how to treat others will work to your advantage. This is the prime age to instill discipline in them as you paint a picture of what the real world should look like. You have a hefty responsibility on you. It brings in the concept of the Japanese philosophy, Wabi-Sabi – the beauty in imperfections. That’s precisely why you need to travel with kids.
The question is, are you up to the task?
Author’s Bio: Rachel Hudson is a freelancer and mother of two kids. She has dedicated her life to building a community of women ready to empower each other. She enjoys outdoor family activities, and traveling is firmly ingrained in her blood and soul.