Traveling with kids? Avoid the tantrums and get yourself prepared with these 10 essential expert tips!
No matter if it’s your first trip with your first child, or your fifth with your fifth, traveling with children will always be daunting. From what to pack to how to get there, it’s rife with potential worries.
However, there are some tips that can help you prepare, and save you from going insane. Below, we’ve listed 10 top tips for traveling with kids. Some are for babies, some are for older children, and some are for you.
1. Pool vs. sea
Even if you plan to stay by the beach, you might want to consider making sure there’s a pool as well. Lots of children love being in the sea, but others can’t stand it. A pool is perfect for little ones to splash around in, cool down in – and get exhausted in.
2. Baby carriage vs. stroller vs. sling
This is a common dilemma when traveling with kids and there’s no easy answer. A lot of it depends on where you’re going. Will the streets be even and paved or will there be potholes and off-roading involved? Will it be extremely humid or fairly cool? What is your child used to?
An all-around good option is a light stroller. They’re easy to travel with and can be taken right up to the gate; they can be used as a temporary bed for afternoon naps; they’re light and breathable but can also be insulated with blankets and a rain cover; and they’re good on almost all terrain.
3. Airport time – check-in online
Try to minimize time spent waiting in line once at the airport. One of the easiest things to do is check-in online, then all you have to do is hit the bag drop and get through security. More often than not, there is a family area at the security check, so you know that everyone around you is in the same boat; or should that be plane?
4. Research, research, research!
This is for both pre-trip and during trip. Does your baby need a visa? What jabs do you – and your child – need? Should you bring medication, e.g. malaria tablets? You don’t want to get caught out last minute.
5. Research your destination
If you’re breastfeeding, it’s worth having a Google about whether or not breastfeeding in public is OK wherever you’re headed. Some countries are totally OK with it, others require you to go somewhere a little more private. If in doubt when you’re there – just ask.
6. Plan your flights
Try to plan your flights around bedtime. Evening flights can be more expensive, but if ease is what you’re after, a sleeping child is a blessing for everyone. If you have to make a connecting flight, be sure to leave a good amount of time – the last thing you need is a mad dash through an unfamiliar airport.
7. Packing baby food
Many airports will allow baby milk and baby food to be carried through security in containers over 100ml. They usually open containers to screen contents at the security point, but this only takes moments and doesn’t contaminate the food in any way. It’s worth checking with the airports you’ll be traveling through, just to make sure.
8. Hotel or homestay?
Hotels have perks (room service, meals, baby-sitting services, etc.), but homestay mean you can make it your home – and prepare your own meals, which might be useful if your child has a special diet. It’s a personal choice, but one worth thinking about.
9. Keep calm
If your child chooses the worst possible time to turn into a screaming beast from another dimension, take a deep breath and try to keep calm.
10. Enjoy it
Leave lots of time, pack well, and make the travel part of the journey. Just remember that you’ll be OK, and you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself!