During summer break, our family traveled around US, and India for 2 months. With 2 young kids, we learned a lot about traveling and adjusted as needed. Most time kids loved outdoors and new places but still needed some what familiar routine. Our younger one was traveling outside US first time, so I was bit apprehensive but in end kids adjusted much better than us. 🙂 Who knew?
Traveling With Kids: Tips for Tired Parents
Here are some lessons I learned during our long long trip and I am hoping our next one will be much smoother.
1. Keep all Kids Legal Document with you
If you are traveling by air line, make sure you have either birth certificate for domestic travel and Passport of international travel. In some cases, parents have been asked to show some legal documentation such as birth certificate for even infant. It is always good to have extra precaution to carry legal document to be on safe side.
If you have passport, make sure it is current. If country you visit, need a visa you will need to get those for yourself and kids too.
2. Keep Travel Itinerary light
We learned this hard way, when we decided to travel for months with visiting many places we thought kids may enjoy. Surely, kids would have loved it all, but young kids need break and free time in between so plan for it. Keep one big site seeing or little 2 things to see and do daily. Keep enough time for possible naps, relaxing play time and restroom breaks.
3. Carry small carry on suitcases with toys and books
Carry a small carry one suitcase or back pack just with kids small toys and books. We also carried crayons, coloring books and small easy crafts that can be done on go. It sure helped. In addition, we carried Dora and Diego DVDs or back up to see on Zenguy’s laptop when boredom hit with what they already played with.
4. Carry extra snacks, juice, Diapers and wipes
You never know what emergency may come during travel, so I always pack extra kids favorite snacks, juice boxes, diapers, wipes and extra change of clothes in carry on bags. It is also good idea to carry kids medicine and over the counter Tylenol just in case needed. When one is driving during road trip you may stop and buy things but it is hard to do when you traveling in plane or train so carrying extra is always better for parents, it was for us.
5. Bring Car seat or stroller for young ones
Most infant car seats and some toddler car seat will fit in airplane seat so bring it. You child will nap better and his or her neck will be rested on car seat better compared to regular seat on plane. You can use stroller at the airport before boarding and you can check in stroller at the boarding gate and pick it up when coming out. It will help you keep small sleeping child safe and secure in his stroller. Use heavy duty, umbrella stroller suitable for traveling. If you have a small infant check out 10 tips for flying with Baby for useful tips.
6. Take turn and Use help
Luckily both of our kids were fine and on very good behavior but surely seat next to us, kid kept on crying making it hard for parents. As a parent we were sympathetic and offered our help for a bit. If you are traveling with a spouse, use his or her help. Take turn for sleeping, eating or taking care of kids. I am double lucky as Zenguy helped me out a lot and kids were good on plane as long they as they had something to do and someone to talk to. If you are traveling alone with kids, ask help from air hostess or friendly person sitting next to you for little bit to give you a break.
Some little kids may cry during take off and landing as their ear hurt, so you may want to give them a sippy cup with milk, juice or pacifier, or even breast feed during those time to ease of pressure of those little ears.
7. Keep flexible
Having low expection and being flexible will keep traveling much smoother on you. Do not compare your crying child to easy sleeping child in seat behind you. Or do not expect you 3 year to travel as same as your infant, sibling may travel and have different temparament. Keep low expection and change as needed. Sometimes letting go of being in control and surrendering to reality of parenting may be a good thing.
While our airline traveling was much smoother, we did plan too many activities once we landed. Kids did not get enough rest as they needed and we all got sick and it was surely not fun looking for doctors and medical stores in new strange places but we became flexible and adjusted our plans as needed and still managed to survive and have fun in process. Next time, we will do short traveling and little less site seeing to make trip even more fun. Read How to travel with Children for more ideas.
How about you? What is your best travel tips with kids or as a single or married couple?
Image source: http://www.proven-nutrition-for-kids.com/