Have kids, will travel (top ten tips on traveling with kids)

I admit I am a bit of a worry wart. Sometimes I sweat the small stuff. I can’t help myself but agonize over details. But nothing makes me more anxious than traveling with my 3 kids, aged 8 and 4 year old twins. Especially traveling 18 hours halfway across the globe!

 The last time my husband and I traveled overseas with child, was 6 years ago when our now 8-yr old was only 2. Now that our family has gone from party of 3 to party of five, the stress level for traveling has gone up quite a few notches for me.
 The only way for me to keep sane through the days leading to our vacation is to find helpful tips online on the best ways to keep three kids pre-occupied on an 18-22 hour trip.
 Here I have gathered the best advice on how not to come unhinged  for moms and dads traveling with little kids:

 TIP # 1 LOAD UP ON “PASSIVE” ACTIVITIES

“If you’re heading out on a long journey have a collection of toys to be handed out once an hour. Handheld puzzles, tiny colouring books, stickers, word searches, Wiki Stix and play dough will pass the time on a long flight.”

TIP # 2 DON’T JUST RELY ON AIRPLANE FOOD. BRING SNACKS.

“Resist the temptation to keep them going on a long journey by feeding them sweets. Pack a mixture of savoury snacks like cheese cubes/sticks, cut-up pita bread, pretzels, fruit and bagels – anything to avoid arriving in a strange city with children in the middle of a sugar rush.” *Exceptions should be made for landing and take-off. SEE TIP # 8

TIP #3 DON’T FORGET THE FIRST AID KIT.

“It should already be on your traveling list, but having kids along means carrying a small first aid kit is all the more vital: plasters, antihistamines and sachets of painkilling syrup can save a lot of stress later on. Antimalarials are also available in liquid form (for those traveling to more exotic locales).”

 TIP #4 HAVE SANITIZERS AND WIPES HANDY

“Even if all your children are long out of diapers, don’t forget the baby wipes. They’re useful for washing hands, cleaning toilet seats, and wiping down restaurant tables. In the same spirit, little bottles of hand cleanser can be a lifesaver in some countries, but check the travel regulations for liquids well in advance.”

 TIP #5 GADGETS, GIZMOS AND APPS

“Get some kids games or apps for your smart phone or laptop. Download some kids’ games – or kid-friendly apps to your mobile (if it can be switched to Airplane mode for the flight).”

Bring a portable DVD player and at least 3-4 DVD’s for those long-haul flights.

TIP #6 PACK A SMALL PILLOW

“Small children can sit on a pillow so they can see out of the window better, while older children may find sleeping more comfortable with a pillow.  A blanket is also good as its familiarity will comfort your child as well as keep them warm if it gets chilly on-board.”

For long flights I personally don’t recommend those travel pillows that sit on the shoulders and only provide neck support. I recommend the Sharper Image travel pillow (to be featured in my following article).

 TIP #7 WATCH OUT FOR THE “AIRPLANE POLICE”

“A clever trick is to warn young children of the ‘Airplane Police’ who are looking out for badly behaved children as they are not allowed to fly. I am not suggesting you scare them out of their wits (and admittedly we never did explain what the Airplane Police actually do when they catch a naughty child) – however it proved hugely effective in stopping my toddler climbing over seats, playing with the fold down table, kicking the seat in front and all the other things that passengers around you really love.”

 TIP # 8 GIVE THE KIDS LOLLIPOPS ON TAKE-OFF AND LANDING

The sucking motion relieves their eardrums from the pressure in the cabin and the altitude change. Which is why toddlers find it helpful to suck on something or have a drink during take-off and landing.

Additionally, the low humidity of cabin air can cause mild dehydration as well as dry and irritated nostrils, so it’s important to get kids to drink regularly. If anyone gets a streaming nose (also a factor of low humidity), wet the insides of their nostrils with a finger dipped in water – this often works like magic. Flying can also prompt air expansion in the middle ear and sinuses, which can be painful for babies and infants because of their smaller ear passages. To prevent discomfort, massage your child’s ears from behind and give the earlobes a few gentle tugs from time to time.

TIP# 9 BRING ONLY ONE CARRY ON

You no longer need a book to read, you no longer need your own snacks. You can no longer use your carry on in place of checking luggage. Once you have filled a bag with the essentials for a long flight, you won’t have the strength to carry anything else, and you will appreciate only having one bag to keep track of in a busy airport. If your child is old enough, do however,  let them carry their own.”

TIP# 10 DRESS THE KIDS IN COMFORTABLE CLOTHES

 

Instead of jeans have them wear cotton tracksuits as this will be a lot more comfortable for them. The hoodie will provide extra warmth when the cabin gets chilly. And make sure to get the zippered hoodies as this will make it easier to take off and put on. “For an easier exit from the screening area where shoes must come off, skip the lace-up sneakers and put the kids in easy-on, easy-off shoes that slip-on or use the magic of Velcro.”

 I know that even armed with all the best tips and advice, and no matter how well prepared one might be, when it comes to traveling with kids, the most important part is to expect the unexpected and keep in mind that you and your family are not taking time off, but rather putting time in for each other. So enjoy your adventure and keep adding on to the tapestry that will be your family’s history by making each moment count.

With that said , happy travels and keep reading for more helpful tips on have kids, will travel.

 

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