Tips to Make Travel with Kids Easier
Having kids does not mean the end of your fun and adventure. In fact, it is just the beginning of it all!
But, honestly, traveling with kids is not exactly for the faint of heart. It means dealing with tantrums which can be extremely frustrating on the road. Even so, traveling with the most important people in your life can be a fun experience and is also beneficial for parents and kids.
My partner and I love exploring the outdoors (hiking, camping, backpacking) with our toddler daughter – and here are some of our top tips to make things easier for you and your kiddos.
Start out early
The best way to get your kid comfortable with long rides in the car, bus, train or plane is to start out young. We started bringing our daughter to trips when she was just six months old when we camped at Kalanggaman Island in Leyte. She was fussy at the start but when we got her used to the discomfort and change of routine that travel brings, she was able to adjust easily. You will be surprised at how flexible babies can be!
Choose an easy destination
You obviously cannot bring your kiddos to Mount Everest if you haven’t done even the shorter trips previously. Testing out how you and your kids behave when in a new environment will help you figure out how to do better for longer trips. You might also want to start going on quick getaways, such as three hours to the nearest park or beach, then gradually increase and stay overnight somewhere.
Have a flexible and comfortable schedule
It’s easy to get lost in a whirlwind of itineraries and endless bucket lists but crossing them off as fast as you can is not exactly the most recommended to travel with kids. Hopping from one place to another can easily leave them cranky and irritable and it can be exhausting for the parents, too. Remember, it’s not about the number of destinations but the quality of your trips and the unique memories you make along the way. Come up with a comfortable schedule that will leave a lot of time for napping, snacking, strolling around and even simply hanging out inside your hotel room – it’s all part of your vacation!
Pack a lot of snacks
Want to know the secret to prevent a total meltdown from happening? Always have munchies and treats on hand! Make sure you pack your bags with crackers, sandwiches, and biscuits and try to stay away from chocolates and talks. This will help keep them busy for a while.
Keep them busy
As much as we would all like to be perfect parents who can keep their kids from using gadgets, there are times when you have no choice but to resort to it especially during the most stressful situations. Download their favorite apps, movies or songs to keep them occupied. If you would rather not let them use tablets and cellphones, bring along a busy bag full of puzzles and other tinker toys, which is extremely handy for long trips.
Find activities that they enjoy
Kids are less fussy about travel when they know what’s waiting for them at the end. Keep them excited about your destination by getting them in the planning phase. Perhaps there is a zoo, museum or park that they want to visit nearby? Add them to your itinerary! Pools and beaches are also guaranteed to keep them in high spirits.
Use a carrier or a stroller
Small kids are less fussy when they travel because they just sleep all throughout but it also means that you have to carry them around the entire time. Keep them and yourself comfortable by putting them inside a baby carrier (it also keeps your hands free the entire time) or you can use a stroller if you plan to stroll around the city.
From my personal experience, traveling light with a small kid can be a very challenging task. There are bottles and milk, diapers and other essentials to put in the bag. Try to keep them as minimal as possible (perhaps you could buy your necessities at the destination instead) to prevent you from lugging a heavy backpack and baby during your trip. Use a daypack for sightseeing and leave the rest in your hotel room. If your kid is big enough, allow them to pack and bring their own bag.
Have important items within easy reach
There is less hassle for everyone when everything has been prepared for and just within reach. Keep your documents – passports, etc – in a safe but easy to access place. Put in your snacks and a day’s worth of change in your carry-on just in case your checked baggage gets lost along the way.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
No matter how much you try to plan things out, there are just some things that do not work out your way. Keep it calm and have a positive attitude – it’s all part of the adventure and it’s what makes for a great story to tell your friends, kids, and grandkids!
Hey, don’t be easily discouraged when things don’t go your way or when people give you judgmental looks – they have no idea how much fun you are bringing your family in!