Travelling with kids is often seen as a herculean task, and I although I travel with my four year old very often, I sort of understand why parents feel intimidated by the idea of travelling with kids. A friend of mine recently told me that she gets exhausted just by thinking of travelling with her toddler and this is nothing new. A lot of parents, especially mothers, have asked me how I manage to travel with my daughter.
The answer is simple: Travelling with kids is a lot of fun when you plan the trip according to their needs, their individual personalities and finding the perfect balance between rest time and activity time during the trip.
I’ve written earlier about travelling with a kid to offbeat locations and to a luxury resort, and more, and I am often asked to share my tips for stress free travelling with kids. So here is a list of 1o of my top tips that might be helpful to you when travelling with kids.
10 Tips For Travelling With Kids:
- Travel With Time. I have been known for cutting it close for flights and even missing trains, but after I had my daughter, I travel with lots of time on my hands. This is simply because running to catch a flight or a train with a crying child in tow is almost impossible. Relax and enjoy the time. Explore the airport or play a family game if you have to wait, but never rush the kids.
- Surprize Gifts always work. Be innovative. During my recent trip to Pune, I packed an age appropriate activity box called the Flinto Box in the hand-luggage and my daughter was squealing with joy all the time. Last year, just before a trip, I happened to be a 99 Store (one dollar store) and grabbed a bunch of little toys and fun stationery items (Sticker book, Frozen princess erasers, pen with light on top) for my daughter who was then three years old. I packed them up in different paper bags and gave them to her one by one during the journey, as and when she seemed to be bored or fidgety. The result was a happy and busy kid.
- Packing Help. Get the kid to help you in packing her / his backpack or a small bag for the journey. They can pick their favourite toys and can carry it with them. This not only makes the kids feel responsible and grown up (And every parent knows how much the kids want to grow up, sigh.), but also keeps them occupied with their favourite things during the trip. However, do check and edit what they’ve packed because you now how kids are. Mine once packed 8 or 9 books in he little trolley and then complained that it was too heavy to carry!
- Avoid Sweets. Stay away from sweets , candies or chocolates for the kids while you’re travelling because seriously, who wants to arrive at the destination after travelling for hours, whit the kids on a sugar rush? No one, I know. Instead pack interesting snacks, which is the next point.
- Pack Some Fun Snacks. My go to fun snacks is a tiny zip-bag of mixed nut trail with lot of raisins because that’s my daughter’s favourite. I mix walnuts, almonds, sun flower seeds and dates, and I also throw in a handful of candied berries and choco-chips. Packing carrots, grapes or your child’s favourite snack is a good idea. Cheese cubes and bread sticks are also a good bet. And remember, try not to give these snacks to the kid at least a week before you travel because then it will make them excited. Kids get bored easily, you know.
- Bugs and Mosquitoes Preparation. Carry mosquito repellent creams, gels, patched or bands. Or all of them, like I do. I travel a lot of offbeat places and bugs and mosquitoes are a constant issue for me. I even carry my own mosquito net to such places. And remember to pack the cream in your hand baggage, or somewhere you can quickly reach.
- Apps To The Rescue. There are few apps I swear by when travelling with kids. The Skyscanner Car Hire app works wonders when you need a taxi quickly in a foreign country, with a wailing child in tow. Also useful for international trips, are the language translator apps for basic phrases like that you might need when travelling with kids. I am not a big fan of kids using the cell phone or the tablets, but it comes in handy if the child is intrigued by game son your phone (and which child isn’t, right?). Download a few age appropriate games on the phone and hand it over to the kid when you think nothing else is going to work.
- Brand the kid. I know, I know it sounds wrong but listen to what I have to say. This especially becomes a necessity when you’re travelling internationally with kids aged from 3 to 7, who love to run around and where language might be a barrier. Keep a card with all your information in the kid’s pocket at all times. Keep the same in the kid’s backpack if she or he is always carrying it around (mine does!). I’ve seen a few parents of very active kids, write their phone numbers on the Kid’s arm (in waterproof marker, I assume) at Hong Kong airport. I think this might be a good option because it never hurts to be too careful, right? Also, there are kid locators available in the market that are very convenient. It comes in a lot of styles, from watches for bigger kids to a small device that can be attached to the kid’s belt/shoe and the transmitter is with the parents. In my opinion, it is always, always good to be over prepared as far as the kid’s safety is concerned.
- Prepare for the Climate. Carry appropriate clothes and gear for the climate of the place you’re travelling to. A comfortable kid is a good travel partner, I assure you.
- Little Things Count. Medicines are obviously a must, and don’t forget to carry the prescription as well. Anything can happen with kids, so don’t forget Baby Wipes and Hand Sanitizer. A pair of extra clothing for the kid is always a good idea, but remember to pack it in your cabin luggage and not in the suitcase that you check in.
Hope these help you in some way. I love, love, LOVE travelling with my daughter and I hope to continue it. I will keep on writing about travelling with kids right here, so stay tuned in and ask me anything about it, if you want.
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