Traveling can be an enlightening experience for kids. Seeing new cultures, enjoying new foods, and viewing stellar sights can be supremely memorable; however, traveling with kids can be equally overwhelming. Lengthy packing lists, complicated time schedules, and cranky kids can be a pain in the neck. Having three kids, from a toddler to a teen, has been super straining for me while traveling as all three of them have different needs that they want to be catered to within an instant.
Traveling for years has equipped me with everything you need to know before traveling with family. From how to keep kids engaged to how to reduce inconveniences, I hold all the tricks up my sleeve that has worked like magic. I am sure they will work for you as well!
International travel with kids on a plane or road trip
Kids of various ages require different strategies to be adopted if you want to keep some sanity intact during the trip. Here is how you can prepare to deal with them according to their ages:
Traveling with Infants
Traveling with infants can be the easiest comparatively. As they are so compact and portable, you can take them with you wherever you like, and they’ll stay peaceful as long as you create a comfortable environment around them. All that babies need is food, milk, diaper change, and their mom around. And other than that, keep their toys, stuffed animals, pacifier, and some books around to keep them engaged. That’s literally all they need to keep going.
Tip to remember: Babies usually have a sleeping or eating routine. While you are traveling, try to stick to the routine. Also, make sure to give them some space to walk, run, or roll around to keep their body active.
Toddlers (I want to travel but I have a child)
Traveling gets fun for kids during this age when they are able to enjoy new destinations and explore them according to their liking. If you are fresher to traveling with kids, you might think it would be boring or exhausting to sit idle while your kid plays in the playground. That’s not how adults fantasize about traveling, but with kids, it’s important to let them refuel their energy and enjoy their vacation the way they want. I used to think the same, but seeing my son beaming with joy in the pool or a theme park would be the best thing to see on the trip.
Bonus: You are very much likely to meet fellow parents while your kid plays who can help you explore more kid-oriented activities. They might also give you nice company over dinner!
Kids over 5 years
Kids at this age start getting themselves involved in trip planning and activities. They like to be in the dominance of their decisions regarding what type of activity they find interest in. I remember my son got pretty offended when we went on to make the decisions for him. And honestly, horse riding didn’t end up being his thing either.
Tip to remember: On your trip, open up all the possible prospects of enjoying the trip and allow them to choose two of their choice. This way, they will feel empowered while being within limits.
Teenage is a fun age, but you need to be pretty careful regarding your kid as well. They want to take entire ownership of their activities and actions, but a little too much leverage can be harmful. Let them choose a few attractions of their choice on the itinerary, and things will remain cool and calm.
Tip to remember: let your kid explore the nearest neighborhood or a place of their choice on their own for one or two hours. As long as it is safe, a little excitement can be good for their personality-building and your peace.
Everything you need to know before traveling with family to avoid inconveniences
Inconveniences are a consequence of bad planning. Poor or unorganized planning can lead to a trip described as a complete mood ruiner. Imagine traveling to the airport and realizing you forgot to pack the passport or landing at an airport that is 8 hours away from your destination while you could have chosen the nearest one. Some simple tips can avoid this:
Involve the family
I understand how mom is always the head of the family when it comes to packing, and everything wrong is automatically her responsibility, but that can be avoided if you share responsibilities. Involve your kids and husband when creating the packing list to ensure all of their useful items are included. Make your kids create a list of their own to keep them engaged.
A lot of responsibilities to all members of the family regarding the packing while you can monitor. Five brains work better than 1, at least in my case. This also alleviated the possibility of forgetting.
Tip to remember: Make your husband responsible for gathering and keeping the passports and documents, and you’ll thank me later for that tip. This would leave close to no opportunities for things to go wrong, and even if they do, it would be a mutual fault.
Be aware of the airport regulations
This is a must in everything you need to know before traveling with family. Do not pack everything without knowing the airport regulations. Search if your baggage is checked or sent on, what kind of food items you can carry with you, you are allowed to keep gift wraps or not. I am super scared of being pulled aside by the airport staff; it’s not just petrifying but humiliating as well. And having that to explain to little kids can be even more horrific. So, I, for one, make sure to keep all my knowledge on my tips. If you own a weak heart, you should too!
Tip remember: Always book your plane tickets and seats early for the best US travel destinations. Doing it beforehand might help you grab on some valuable deals. Arranging your airport transfers in advance can also help with reducing inconvenience. Look into the local shuttle service in the area, taxi services, or book the arrival time of online services such as Uber or Lyft.
Hire a travel guide
Traveling with family can be super hectic, and taking a guide to come along can be a huge blessing. They’ll steer the route and take care of the destinations while you get to absorb the breathtaking sceneries around you. That gives you time to tend to your kids easily as well, and if the guide is good enough, they’ll happily keep your kids engaged while you take some memorable photographs. In addition, they are always privy the insider information that you might not know so; they can manifest to be a worthy investment.
I hope now you have got the idea about everything you need to know before traveling with family. But here is a pro tip for you.
Tip to remember: If hiring a tour guide is a little hefty in your pocket, poke around the internet and pick up a guidebook for self-guided tours.
Smooth travel is always good to travel. However, it can get a little pesky with kids, but with the right information and strategies at hand, it can go as well as you like. With kids of all ages at my disposal, I know exactly what mothers go through with their kids tugging at their nerves, which is why I have mentioned everything you need to know before traveling with family to ensure that your travel experience becomes a replica of your soothing imagination.