Travelling with the family can be one of the greatest joys in life.
It helps to develop and open the mind, in both people young and old. However, when you have little ones running around long haul flights (or any flights!) may seem out of the question.
We are here to tell you that it’s not impossible! With a few tricks, it can actually become quite enjoyable.
20 tricks that will throw the stress of travelling with kids into the plastic bags (that you have of course, already packed)
1. Packing list
We are going to start off simple, make a checklist a few weeks in advance as you use daily supplies.This way you won’t forget any of the essentials (baby wipes, diapers, blankets, etc.)
2. Get the kids involved
If your kids are a bit older, get them excited and involved in the process by helping you pack and pick out what they want to bring. Such as 1 toy and 2 books for the carry-on baggage. This mentally prepares them for the journey, not just the destination.
3. Pack all vaccination and medical records
Weeks before the trip make a quick trip to the travel clinic to see what vaccinations will be necessary. Ask for a copy of the records to take abroad with you in case you need them at customs or during medical attention while on holidays.
4. Photocopies of passports and travel insurance
Losing your passport abroad is an unfortunate event, but with kids comes extra baggage and with that comes more chance of things getting misplaced. Pack a photocopy of your passport and traveler’s insurance as a good practice, if you do it nothing will go wrong.
5. Book seats in the front row
Booking seats in the front of the airplane will give you extra space and an opportunity to set up the baby crib mounted on the wall….which bring us to tip #6.
6. Reserve an in-flight baby crib
Mostly all airlines have a few baby cribs available on a first come, first serve basis. Call ahead to book the crib and have the opportunity to be hands-free for a bit. It also makes for a great place to play and contain puzzles and other small pieced games.
7. Earplugs and headphones
These two go hand in hand. Headphone are necessary for kids playing games, listening to music and movies on their iPad or in flight entertainment. All airlines will provide headphones; however, some will come at a charge and are typically not the ideal fit for a small child’s ears. The Earplugs are a lifesaver and peace offering for those around you, in times of crisis….that won’t come around if you are prepared on tip #8.
Pack as much fun, interesting, colourful, cozy toys, and games as you can. Load up your iPad in advance with movies, games, and music. The more options you have, the better and, some classics from home – what the kids are used to, are always a good hit.
A hungry kid is a grumpy kid….. Similar to adults. Pack high protein snacks to keep everyone satisfied and mitigate sugar meltdowns. Having your own snacks is a great way to manage kids who are tired and hungry, instead of waiting till after the in-flight food service to take a nap.
10. Sippy cup or bottle
Drinking is a great way to equalize ears naturally. If you have kids that are comfortable with the bottle or sippy cup, fill it up before take off and landing. If you have a breastfeeding baby, take off, and landing is also a great time to nurse.
11. Wrap it up
Any open bottles, cups, formula, snacks along the way can be sealed easily with one layer of saran wrap under the lid. This gives it double protection from leaking and keeps it fresh till the next pit stop.
12. Sarong or light blanket
As well as being cozy, sarongs make the perfect in-flight tent. Drape it over the seat or crib to create a dark, warm, familiar space for napping. It’s also fun for kids to build and feel like they have a bit of ‘me space’ during long flights.
13. Outfit changes
With young ones you never know what might come up or out. Outfit changes for you and them are necessary for keeping everyone fresh and comfortable. Which brings us to tip #14.
14. Plastic bags
You might not want to pack everything back in your carry-on bag and garbage cans can sometimes be a task to find in busy airports. Pack plastic bags, for convenience and cleanliness along route.
15. Basic first aid kit
Just the basic bandages, tissues, hand sanitizer and antibacterial cream, will do. If you have any medications, this is also a great place to keep those organized and safe.
16. Wine Bag
Not for en route beverages but for organization, of course! Wine bags make a great compartment bag, that is light and easy to find essential items; such as diapers, wipes, and clothes.
Now that you have made it through the flight and transit stops, we have a few more tips that will help the whole family stay get and stay in vacation mode.
If your kids are used to sleeping with a small light, nights will be much more peaceful if you remember to bring it. Packing a few pieces of home is a good idea for keeping the crew comfortable.
18. Restaurant kit
On holidays you will be eating out a lot more than normal, which is a huge treat for mom and dad but, can be a bit stressful for the little ones. Pack a few must have items such as small forks, sippy cups, bibs and wipes in a cosmetics bag and be prepared for lunch breaks anywhere, anytime.
19. Baby powder
Baby powder can be used for a variety of amazing things, but, my favourite is its ability to easily get sand off beach feet. Keep sand out of the car and hotel by sprinkling and wiping a bit on everyone’s toes before entering.
Just be aware that things might take a bit longer, the best way to minimize stress when travelling with kids is to give yourself plenty of time to do anything.
Happy travels! If you have any questions about family friendly travel or destinations contact one of our experienced travel specialists here.