Many may shy away from the idea of travelling with young children thinking that it would be too troublesome or stressful to do so. However, numerous research show that travelling with your child has lasting benefits for the children and will foster good relationship between you and your child.
Travelling with young children need not be cumbersome if you prepare yourself ahead of time starting from choosing the correct destination to planning activities that both parents and children can enjoy together.
In this guide, the author aims to provide some tips regarding traveling with your children to creating lasting memories that you and your child can treasure till they reach adulthood.
- Do some research and select a country or city that is child friendly.
- If you wish to go to a country with four seasons, go when the weather is cooling and breezy. 18 degree Celsius to 24 degree Celsius would be comfortable with a light sweater, long sleeves shirt and long pants. A nice weather will not exhaust your child unnecessarily due to the heat and neither will it be too cold and render outdoor activities impractical. Remember, most theme parks are outdoors and require long wait times in the open.
- Do some research and see what is the best way for you to commute at your destination. It will be very helpful to arrange your own private transport (like car rental or by taxis if budget allows) to give yourselves some flexibility.
- Be sure to check the car seat requirements before arriving at your destination to make the necessary arrangements.
- Look online for suggestions and plan an itinerary that is flexible, loose and friendly to children. Do not be too ambitious and avoid planning an itinerary that is very packed to give yourself and your child enough time to play, rest and enjoy the moment.
- Take your time to do the activities as rushing from one place to another will only make you and your child tired, stress and unable to enjoy the trip. It will defeat your actual goal to spend time and bond with your child.
- Read up well on the places you wish to visit to prepare yourself ahead of time as you might not have time to do further read up once you arrive at your destination with a child by your side.
- Explain to your child about the destination, your plans and what to expect to manage your child’s expectation of the place to avoid unnecessary frustrations and disappointments.
- Purchase entrance tickets, book restaurants and activities in advance to keep yourself free from having to deal with all those nitty-gritty when you are at your destination. This can also help to avoid the disappointment of finding a park or restaurant closed when you are there.
- Photocopy the front page of your passport and keep them in all your luggages as it will come in handy when the luggage go missing or lost.
- Also photocopy a copy of your child’s birth certificate and keep it with you in case you need them.
- If you are the only parent traveling with your child/children, be sure to check on whether any consent form from the other parent is needed prior to visiting the country.
- Start preparing well ahead of your trips so you have sufficient time to plan and purchase things you have run out of supplies.
- Keeping a list of things to pack will ensure that you do not leave anything out.
- Pack an extra set of clothes for you and your child in your backpack in case of an emergency (children may dirty their clothes during activities, etc). You never know when you might need a change of clothes.
- Bring a hand carry luggage with you packing a day’s worth of clothes and pajamas for you and your family in case your luggage goes missing in transit.
- Separate your luggage by packing the undergarments, socks, outdoor clothes and pajamas in different organizer bags for the ease of finding them at your destination.
- Pack some basic medication like painkillers, medication for fever, flu, cough, allergy, stomach upset and motion sickness with you so that you can relieve your child’s symptoms as fast as you can and do not have to rush out looking for medication. There may be a language barrier at your point of destination and it may be hard to find medication during an emergency.
- Also pack some fever patches and band-aids with you for those small cuts and abrasions.
|INFANT TO TODDLERS||TODDLERS ABOVE|
|Feeding essentials (utensils)||Diaper Changing Pads|
|Diaper Changing Pads||Milk powder|
|Milk bottles||Sponge and bottle wash|
|Water bottles||Zip lock Bags – for soiled diapers, soiled clothing, vomits or unfinished snacks|
|Sippy cups||Baby wipes|
|Sponge and bottle wash||Tissues|
|Blankets||Body wash, shampoo, lotion, sunscreen, diaper rash cream|
|Zip lock Bags – for soiled diapers, soiled clothing, vomits or unfinished snacks||Children toothbrush and toothpaste|
|Body wash, shampoo, lotion, sunscreen, diaper rash cream||Sweaters|
|Children toothbrush and toothpaste||Undergarments|
|Hat||Medicines (Fever, flu, cough, allergy, stomach upset, motion sickness)|
|Medicines (Fever, flu, cough, allergy, stomach upset, motion sickness)||Baby carrier|
|Fever patch||Car seat (if necessary)|
|Car seat (if necessary)||Travel documents|
- Explain to your children how they are expected to behave when they are in the airport, on the plane, on trips and in the hotel.
- Arrive at the airport earlier so that you do not need to rush through check in, security and immigration while having your child with you. You never know what will happen or go wrong (toilet breaks, tantrums, hunger etc.) that will slow you down.
- For younger children, sucking candies, sipping water or juices during plane take-off and landing can ease their discomfort due to a drop in the air pressure.
- Prepare some fruits, light snacks and drinks to offer to your child at different intervals on the plane to keep them happy and occupied especially during long flights. A child can only sit down for so long.
- Prepare some activities like sticker or coloring books, crossword puzzles, mazes, storybooks, light and small toys with you to keep them entertained while they are on the plane.
- Prepare some color pencils and doodle books to play with your child. Ask them to draw things they find interesting in the airport or on the plane.
- Encourage them to embark on the activities by themselves to train them to play independently for future trips.
- Pick a hotel that is center to the places you would like to visit to reduce traveling time. Try not to stay at more than one hotel at each trip to avoid the nightmare of packing and unpacking every time you check in to a new hotel.
- Avoid going out for a long period, plan for early dinner and allow your child to have sufficient rest in the hotel so that he or she will not be restless and grumpy for activities planned for the next day.
- Cooperate with your partner and ensure that there is at least one person watching your child at any point of time during the trip while the other adult handles food or ticket purchasing etc.
- Prepare some light snacks from home or buy it at the convenience store at your destination. Carry them with you when you are touring around. Situations at the places you visit or restaurants you want to visit might not be suitable for your child. Having some light snacks with you can keep your children from feeling hungry and frustrated.
- Always take a photo of your child before leaving the hotel everyday. In the misfortunate event of a missing child, you can show the photograph of him/her actual attire on that day to the authorities to help with the rescue work.
- Leave your contact information like name, telephone number and local address in your child’s pocket. Explain the purpose in doing so to them and it will come in handy in the misfortunate event that your child goes missing.
- Always have a translation tool with you when traveling to a country where language is a barrier so that you can use it to translate your conversation to the person you need to converse with.
- Relax at your destination and when necessary and appropriate, indulge your children in electronic devices to keep them entertained and occupied to enable everyone to properly rest and relax during the holiday.
- Build excitement for your kids at each of the destination you plan to go by highlighting the exciting part about the place or tell them that they will be allowed to choose one souvenir from the place you are going to visit.
- Give a camera to your child to capture the moments they like during the trip if they are capable of handling the device.
- Encourage them to write a travel journal by themselves.
- Purchase postcards and encourage your child to write to him or herself to create fond memories. It can further train his/her writing skills.
- Create a scrapbook and print out some photographs for each trip. Write down the location, date and what activities were carried out.
- Encourage your child to talk about his/her feelings and share his/her impression of the country visited. You can use it to assess his/her observation skills and train his/her skills on expression.
- The postcards and scrapbooks will be great collections for you and your child to look back at from time to time.