Traveling with children is anything but carefree. If you’re a first-time traveller with your little ones, you just might be in a pickle. It is easy to forget everything about your “before kids” travel because once your kids join in, you’ll be faced with an entirely different scenario. To make sure your family trip goes as smoothly as possible, check out these helpful tips.
Book everything in advance
Aside from the flights that you must book even up to several months in advance (especially if you want to get a better deal), you should also pre-book your accommodations. While waiting until you arrive might have been exciting pre-kids, with children you’ll need to know exactly where you’ll be staying. If you plan to go sightseeing, consider booking private guides, tickets for theme parks, museums, as well as private and public transportation. The more activities you book in advance, the more time you’ll have to relax and enjoy your trip, avoiding all the last-minute scheduling.
Bring a spare of everything
If your little one isn’t potty trained, make sure you pack plenty of diapers and wipes to have within arm’s reach. Bring extra, or consider sending to your hotel through Amazon before you arrive. Don’t forget to pack extra outfits as well, because you never know when your little one will feel like spilling food all over their clothes (or yours!). A plastic bag will be a lifesaver in the case of an unpleasant accident with odors. To be safe, pack a few!
Just as you’d take care of your kid’s safety when you’re home, you should do it when traveling as well. If you are traveling by car, make sure you check out some of the best baby car seats and invest in a new one if you don’t already have a reliable car seat for your bundle of joy. Most car rental companies offer them as add-ons, but you don’t want to risk your child feeling uncomfortable or unsafe, so consider bringing the one from home with you.
Bring all the documentation needed
Paperwork is one of the most important things you need to think about when traveling abroad. This is especially true if you decide to bring your children, so make sure you check what papers you need to have with you before entering your destination. Some countries will require the child’s original birth certificate, aside from the passport. You should keep this in mind if you plan to travel without the child’s other parent, or if you’re bringing children that are not your own. In this case you’ll need birth certificates, notes from the non-present parents as well as a few other items, that you should ask around at the embassies or with your travel agent.
Pack plenty of entertainment
If the trip is going to be more than a few hours long, you’ll need plenty of entertainment to keep your kids occupied. Avoid the annoying Are we there yet? every five minutes, by packing all the gadgets you let them play with at home. Load a tablet with their favorite cartoons, and pack coloring books to make the trip as short as possible for them. You can even be pleasantly surprised with personal entertainment devices some airline companies offer, though be sure to pack favorite games, toys and entertainment with you just in case. You could even buy some new toys for the kids, and allow them to play for the first time on the trip so that they’ll be amused for a much longer time. Kids love playing with souvenirs, so feel free to buy a few on your holiday destination, to ensure a new type of fun on the way back home.
Snacks in abundance
Fussy kids can turn a potentially lovely flight into a true nightmare, both for you and the other travelers. Therefore, pack a variety of snacks to avoid children throwing tantrums. The time between meals can often get extended, whether it’s a delayed flight, or you end up with a car malfunction in the middle of the road, so make sure you have a mix of healthy snacks along with refreshing beverages. Small, easily transportable snacks will keep an entire family happy and full between meals.
Traveling with kids can be a lot of fun if you plan everything right. Therefore, make sure you keep the previously mentioned tips in mind and enjoy a stress-free trip filled with thrilling moments.
Are you up for a road trip with your family? Do you dare? Read on to see How to Survive (and Thrive!) a Family Road Trip.
Photo Credit: April Walker