Many of us dream of being able to travel with children. We want them to see the world, make great memories and open up their eyes. The reality is that travel can be stressful for children. Routines can be disrupted, travel can take too long, can be tiring, and it can be overwhelming for them to be in unfamiliar places.
Planning is key to smooth travel for kids. Planning ahead and giving thought to each step of the journey will make it a memorable experience that your family will cherish for many years.
Double the Time You Think You Need
Family travel is a two-fold process. Checking in at the airport, packing your suitcase and getting through the security check – tasks that seemed easy when you were traveling solo or with a partner – always take a lot more time with young children. Double the amount of time that you normally take.
This reduces stress and helps you to not worry about getting stuck in traffic or missing a flight. Children are more likely to react to stress than adults and may act out if they feel uncomfortable. It is best for them to keep it calm.
The same rules should be applied to all activities once you have reached that point. You will need to plan more and may not be able to fit as much into your itinerary. So, aim to do less in one day.
Carry Your Carry-On Well
Avoid meltdowns, whether they are yours or those of the children. You can avoid meltdowns (yours and your children’s) by making sure you have a few essential items in your bag. It can save your life by having a fully charged tablet with books, games, and downloads of children films.
A power bank and some kid’s headphones are also helpful. Travel is a great time to let your children have more screen time than you do. You’ll find yourself grateful for an electronic device at least once during long queues, flights, and car journeys. Sign up for Family Orbit iPhone parental monitor to ensure your safety.
A small surprise bag might be a good idea. It could contain things such as coloring books, crayons, stickers, and playing cards. This will allow you to pull out small treats in an emergency. Delicious healthy snacks are another option. Many of the foods you can grab for kids on the go are either high in sugar or processed.
This makes it difficult to keep them calm. Children can eat at odd times, so stock up on healthy snacks such as fruit, cereal bars, and savory muffins. A favorite toy that they have at home can be used to comfort and relax them when they are in unfamiliar situations is another thing you should pack. When it comes to traveling with children, smart packing can really help.
It’s best to plan your travel around your child’s normal schedule. If possible, choose flights that are available at night so your kids can get to bed and sleep. Tired tantrums can occur if children are kept awake past their bedtime.
It is better to let them sleep when they normally would. This keeps their routines steady and doesn’t cause disruption, which is good for everyone.
Book Yourself a Room
It’s worth it to book ahead if you have the option. It’s not a good idea to ‘play it by ear’ when you have kids. It’s important to plan ahead for all transport, accommodation, and seats. If you are able to pay early boarding and late check-out, it will make your life much easier.
Let Your Kids Explore The Itinerary
Children don’t like change and uncertainty, so they want to know what’s in store. It’s worth taking the time to talk with them about the travel plan and when it will take place. This is especially important if it’s their first long-distance trip.
You can talk about what they should expect and what it might look like. Talk about what you expect from them on the trip. This is a great opportunity to have a neutral discussion.
Don’t Take Too Many
It’s not easy to transport children and heavy bags on the road. Learning to pack light will prove to be a valuable skill. You will find everything you need in most places, including suncream, nappies, and bulky items.
You only need to bring what you will use on the trip. Find out the location of the nearest supermarket at the other end. Using packing cups will help you organize your bags and suitcases better.
If you are traveling to a warm destination, it is a smart idea to bring laundry soap. Once they dry, you can wash them in the sink. Creating a travel capsule wardrobe can be a smart way to look good without having to take too many items.
Focus on the Memories
It is important to make great memories. Keep a photo journal of your activities for the kids, and collect mementos to put in the memory box. A travel journal is a great way to keep memories alive and gives children a creative activity to do after and during the trip.