Of all the mistakes frequent globetrotters make – one of the most common is to assume that traveling with young children or toddlers should be a simple experience. After all, you manage to care for them relatively well at home – so international travel should be a piece of cake right? Wrong.
Long journeys are stressful for most adults – which means that children can find them all the more unsettling. If you’re planning on taking a trip this festive season with the kids, or you’re looking forward to a family vacation in the next year, we have a list of tips that you can use to figure out how to travel with kids and stay sane.
1. Make Entertainment a Priority
Today, one of the most important things you can store in your hand luggage when travelling with children, is some form of reliable entertainment. Whether it’s a portable tablet computer with a corresponding travel adapter plug, or a series of books and coloring activities, make sure that you have something planned to keep the young ones busy while you sit back and attempt to relax.
2. Forget Normal
At home you have a set of rules for how to look after your kids – maybe they only get to watch television for a certain amount of time each day, and are expected to drink water instead of juice. On an airplane, throw those rules out and let yourself, and your kids simply go with the flow. The various “treats” will keep the kids happy, and reduce your chances of having to deal with bawling youngsters mid-flight.
3. Ignore the People Around You
While it’s always good to be compassionate and consider others – you’re going to have enough to deal with when figuring out how to travel with kids, without worrying about the opinions of your in-flight neighbors. If they’re not sympathetic to your current flight – ignore them. You’ll probably never see the people who despised you during your trip again anyway – so why worry about it?
4. Stock up on Snacks
During long-haul flights, meal times and chances for snacks can be somewhat unpredictable, as you’re never quite sure how long you’ll have to wait between spotting the flight attendant and getting something to eat. Since most children don’t appreciate airline food anyway – the best idea is generally to bring along plenty of snacks to keep them full and happy during the trip. Remember to bring empty water bottles too, that you can fill up the moment you get past the security gates.
5. Sleep When You Can
Finally, as though you were dealing with the birth of your child all over again – when you’re travelling a long distance, one of the best things you can do is sleep whenever your kid’s sleeping. No-one’s going to snooze when they’re “supposed to” on a flight, so take the opportunity to rest whenever you can. This should help to lower your chances of exiting the plane feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and emotional.