Travelling With Kids Made Easy
Taking off on a holiday with your kids in tow may sound a little daunting to some, especially if you have more than one child! However, the whole experience can also be an educational, exciting, and fun one for everyone. The keys to an enjoyable time are planning ahead and using good judgment. Read on for useful tips to make your family travel a memorable one.
As adults, we generally enjoy traveling and look forward to vacations. That’s because most vacations are likened to relaxation and bliss! It’s a different story however when the trip involves children. Children have their own way of looking at things, asking questions you may not think to ask, and suggesting side trips you might not have considered. While traveling with children can be different in many interesting ways, it’s best to keep a good foresight to ensure the trip is a success.
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Here’s To A Pleasant Flight
Flying, for most adults, can be quite relaxing for we’re able to pass the time by reading a magazine, listening to the radio, or just snoozing the hours away, dreaming of the good times to be anticipated at our destination. Kids, however, will need some distractions for having to sit in their seats for the entire flight, especially if it’s a long one.
Packing a carry-on bag stocked with in-flight distractions such as books, favorite toys, and healthy snacks is a good idea. Check with your airline to be sure any drinks you take are allowed, though. Pack at least one change of clothes in case of spills or accidents, for remember, kids will be kids. Try bringing along anything at all that might help them relax such as a favorite stuffed animal or a blanket. If you’re lucky, there just might be a kid-friendly in-flight movie playing.
Make smart sleeping arrangements
Try to plan sleeping arrangements ahead of time. If you do not plan to splurge on rooming, make arrangements for room sharing, especially if you have only one or two kids with you on the trip. For instance, parents traveling with two children can easily share one motel room that has two double beds. Though it will not be as private as separate rooms, the savings can be significant. In any case, your accommodations are likely to be mainly for resting in between all those activities you have planned and of course, for a good night’s sleep!
Be prepared for accidents and what-nots
Having a first-aid kit on hand is a good idea in any situation, including when you’re on the go with kids. Children are known to be prone to cuts and bruises and while there’s no need to take an entire medical kit along, it’s still a good idea to pack a small bag with bandages, antibiotic ointment, gauze pads, tweezers (for splinters), and any medicines you think might be needed, such as paracetamol, cough syrup and cough drops.
On the topic of meds, some insect repellent might not be a bad idea either, to keep nasty bugs away. There are many kid-friendly varieties in the market in roll-on, stick-on and spray forms.
Once you know where you’re heading off to, pack according to the weather there. Is it going to be sunny, cool, windy or even snowing at your vacation destination? Lonely Planet travel guides are chock-full of useful information about what you’ll need for each region or country. Local travel agencies can also give you useful information. If you and your family are going somewhere for the first time, it would be a good idea to do a bit of research on the dress culture there too, so as not to offend the locals in any inappropriate attire.
Most parents find that an attractive coloring book with lots of fun images to work on does the trick. Get crayons, sketch pens, magic markers, and whatever else you can think of. This should easily keep them busy for quite a while. As responsible parents, you might want to ensure though, that the colouring activity is confined to the book and not anywhere else!
Gadgets and Other Stuff
These days there is never a shortage of gadgets that can keep young, tech-savvy kids happy. Take along your walk-man/ iPod, iPad and MP3 for them to listen to. For small kids you can take along the CD or DVD of their favorite nursery rhymes and fairy tales, if they like that. Other known time-killers are portable play-stations, handheld video games, etc.
Magnetic doodle sets
Some of these even come in compact, easy-to-carry travel sizes. Little artists can draw and doodle to their little hearts’ content. Ensure though, that the doodle pen is securely attached to the board, or else it could be dropped underneath car or plane seats, which could lead to unnecessary fuss and inconvenience.
There’s something about boxes that somehow never fail to tickle little ones’ fancies. Save the boxes whenever you purchase cosmetics and other small, non-toxic items for hours of quite fun for the traveling tot. For added interest, present a few different sized boxes for a pleasing variety and amusement. You can collapse them to put in your carry-on and later fix them back together for this purpose.
Kids above the age of six will love to pass time challenging themselves with the Rubik’s Cube, while younger kids just might be attracted to the idea of different colored squares moving around. Give them simple combinations that are not too complicated and ask them to solve it. They will be delighted when they succeed, and may be happily occupied for a couple of hours.
For toddlers, you can get books which have pop up scenes, and lots of bright colorful pictures. For those above six years, some appropriate magical adventure or mystery books should do the trick.
Note: If you give them permission to read one book that you weren’t permitting them to read because they were too young for it, it will make them feel special enough to sit quietly and finish the book! Hence take a couple of such books along too.
Some things old, some things new…
Have a good mix of old and new toys to bring along in your carry-on bag or in junior’s own carry-on bag. Include familiar little toys that they currently love and you know they will play with for extended periods. Take a few completely new toys too which will also help to grab their attention. Make it a point not to bring too many though, for let’s not forget the fun of buying some new toys as well at your destination.
An empty stomach equals to an agitated child, so do keep that in mind! Avoid very sweet, sugary snacks though, for then, you might end up with a restless, hyper-energetic kiddo in a confined space! Pack light yet satisfying snacks to offer to them at regular intervals throughout the journey. Cookies, raisins or cheese sticks are examples of suitable snacks for travelling kids.