Now that the holiday season is in full swing, and lots of us are traveling somewhere, many parents find themselves stressed out rather than relaxed and looking forward to their holidays. Travel with small kids poses a bit of a challenge, especially if you are doing it for the first time. So, just how do you make travel with small kids easier, and perhaps even enjoyable?
Whether you are traveling by train, plane, bus or car, traveling with small kids tends to bring stress, no matter if they are infants, toddlers, or already preschoolers. The very fact that you are stuck in a relatively small space with nowhere to go, and without many of the comforts you and your kids are used to, does make things hard. Travel tends to make kids bored, anxious, and prone to tantrums.
Whether your kids are excited about the journey and being loud, or anxious and crying, fellow travelers can get irritated. What’s more, something always seems to crop up in the spilling food and drinks department when you are traveling.
There are steps you can undertake to make your journey more pleasant. Here are my tips for traveling with small kids,
1) Bring new toys for your journey. This works for kids any age, though obviously the toys have to be age-appropriate. Wrapping the new toys in many layers of gift paper will keep your kids occupied for a while, and when they finally reach the toy, they will hopefully play with that for a while too.
2) A portable DVD player is another great thing to have for kids at any age (well, you can discount really tiny babies, but in my experience they are the easiest to travel with any way, all they need is mommy, basically!). Whether you bring all time favorite movies with you, or new and never-seen ones, DVDs will keep your kids busy for a long time.
3) Make sure you have plenty of extra clothes, in your hand luggage. Travel with kids means you will get dirty. That’s right – all of you! The only question is if it will be chocolate, juice, cake crumbs, coffee, or something else that will end up all over your clothes. Did I mention vomit, poo, or pee? This does not apply just to the tiniest ones either – motion sickness is quite a common problem with children all ages. For small babies, make sure that you bring a plentiful supply of diapers. Bring many more than you think you will need.
4) If you have kids under three years old, consider bring a baby carrier like an Ergo, mei tai, or Boba. Being able to place your kid on your back when both of you get tired is wonderful and can make the journey an awful lot easier. Your back is a wonderful place to place a baby so that you have both hands free to handle luggage. With kids who are slightly older, baby carriers can come in useful wen they become tired and whiney, and won’t listen to you.
5) Accept the possibility that everything that can go wrong might go wrong, and things you had never even considered possible might also happen. Be prepared for this, and make sure not to leave your sense of humor behind. Hey, as long as you have your passports, money, tickets and yourselves of course, everything will be just fine in the end.