Traveling with a Kid: Air Travel Versus Land Travel

On her seat, prior to take-off
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Air Travel Versus Land Travel

When it comes to travel, the biggest reason why parents would rather put off bringing their kids around until they are slightly older is because they can be such a pain and a hassle to be with. You have to deal with tantrums, constant diaper changes, feeding schedules and so on.

Kids are said to thrive in routine and comfort. But, what if your trip involves various modes of transportation? What does a parent do? Our three years of on-and-off travel with a toddler has showed us the pros and cons of the different ways of traveling in the Philippines.

Air Travel

They are free of charge only up to two years.

We recently went on a trip with our 3-year-old daughter and were considering taking the plane but changed our minds. Kids beyond two are already charged full (nope, not even a discount) and, without promo fares, they can leave a huge dent on the pocket. We’ve tried getting her a seat once but she wouldn’t even stay for longer than 10 minutes — she wanted to be hugged as she slept the entire ride.

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On her seat, prior to take-off
On her seat, prior to take-off

Travel time is much shorter.

Bringing a kid inside public transportation can be a nightmare. Kids can rarely survive being cooped in one place for long periods of time. Thankfully, you can shorten your travel time when you ride a plane and lessen the chance of them having tantrums (although that probably will not be a 100% guarantee).

Experiencing turbulence can be traumatic for small kids.

Boarding, on our way to Davao City - Air Travel Versus Land Travel
Boarding, on our way to Davao City – Air Travel Versus Land Travel

We once took an airplane ride while it was raining very hard…and it sure was one traumatic experience for our toddler. We experienced turbulence every once in a while and both take-off and landing were very shaky. It took our daughter quite a while to get over that — she was even scared to ride on an elevator.

Changing diapers inside the plane’s restroom takes skill.

I thank my partner for not letting me experience this but according to him, it takes skill to balance yourself and your baby inside the small cubicle while you try to do the usual routine like take the diaper off, wipe their butts clean and then put on fresh nappies.

Land Travel

Kids can sit on your lap up 5 to 6 years old.

Taking selfies on the van, on the way to the Philippine Eagle Center
Taking selfies on the van, on the way to the Philippine Eagle Center

Okay, there’s  really no set rule here in the Philippines when it comes to kids boarding for free, it really depends on the company. In our most recent trip, we decided to take the ship + boat for many reasons. It was slightly cheaper considering that we weren’t able to score promo airfares plus our daughter can board both ship and bus free of charge. We were able to sleep the night, comfortably, on the ship but it wasn’t the case on the bus (only the toddler slept through the bumpy ride).

The views are amazing.

A view of Tagum City
A view of Tagum City

What I like most about road travel is that it allows you to see beautiful views that you would otherwise not see when your are inside the plane. Sure, the views from the top are still breathtaking but nothing beats being able to see things up close.

Travel time + seasickness = nightmare.

Long travel can be problematic for kids who are not used to it as they are usually prone to seasickness. You can let them take medicine to combat just that but, in our experience, traveling more often is the only best way against that.

Ditch potty training.

Strolling around Davao City downtown
Strolling around Davao City downtown

Another problem we encountered from long travel is dealing with a kid’s small bladder. Our daughter has been potty trained but we sometimes get accidents every now and then, but it gets even tougher on the road. Because we have no control over the stopovers on the bus, we decided to let her wear diapers again which kind of ruins the training she has had.

Different modes of transportation when traveling with kids have its own advantages and disadvantages. You might prefer one over the other but it is also nice to let everyone experience each type so you know what you might be missing.

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