Travelling with children

Written by Saima Umair

Everyone loves travelling.

Whether it’s a hiking trips, a romantic holiday in a beach resort or going on a simple road trip, each holiday creates a wonderful memory.

Once you have kids, travelling can be a little challenging and overwhelming but it doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy it. You just need to be very organized to be able to enjoy your holiday and make unforgettable memories for them and yourselves.

Here are some tips to make your next trip more enjoyable and less stressful.

Plan and Organize Ahead of Time

Choose Your Travelling Time Wisely

Pick a suitable time in the day to begin your journey. A good rule of thumb is to travel when you think your kids would be most comfortable.

I prefer to fly in the morning. A good night sleep and having breakfast at home before leaving sets a good tone for my children. This way they remain active and are able to enjoy their trip better.

Alternatively, many parents prefer night flights so that their children can sleep in the plane.

If you are planning a road trip, again, choose according to your preferences. You have more flexibility in terms of planning your toilet breaks and can even time your road trips to coincide arriving for breakfast or lunch at a particular town or café that you would like to try.

Where to Sit?

If you are travelling in a plane and have a baby younger than 24 months, you can request for seats that offer baby bassinets. These seats are also often closer to the lavatory and aircraft galley.

Should one of your children need to go to the toilet, it is easily accessible while you can keep an eye on your other children. You can also easily catch a flight attendant’s attention if you need assistance.

Trains usually have seats in group of 4 where passengers can sit together facing each other. Some of these seats even come with the table in the middle. If you are travelling with more than one child, try to book these seats.

Make a List

Make a list of all the things you will be needing during your trip so that you don’t forget anything at the very last moment.

Based on this list, you know ahead the things you need to buy and prepare before packing day, including taking note on other things you need to do before your trip. When it is packing time, you will have everything ready and there is one less thing to worry about.

For example, if you will be travelling in a plane with a baby, you need to prepare a complete baby bag with extra diapers, feeding bottles or a breast feeding cover, rash cream, extra pair of clothes and baby wipes that you can take with you in your cabin bag.

If you are travelling with toddlers or older children, you need to pack according to their needs, for example, snacks, change of clothes and definitely something to keep them entertained.

You may not be needing a separate bag when you travel by road as you will have access to all your bags, but be mindful to pack them the last so you can easily pull out things you need.

Make an Itinerary

Plan each day of your trip.

Go all the way by making an excel sheet or simply plan each day that shows places that you will be visiting and activities that are planned. Take into account transportation, hours of openings, duration and cost.

This way you will know how to get to the next attraction, how long will it take you to get to the next location and how much it’s going to cost you in terms of transportation and entrance fees.

Give an outline of the trip to your children to keep them involved and excited.

Making an itinerary will save you the hassle of trying to make on the spot decisions and help you manage cost and time effectively especially when you have children who still require day naps and rigid meal times.

Online Bookings

Wherever you can make bookings online in advance. Once you have your hotels bookings done, don’t stop there.

Book tickets for amusement parks, museums, sightseeing, tour buses and other attractions that you are planning to visit so that you can avoid waiting lines and have more time to relax and enjoy your holiday.

Baby Carrier or Stroller

Going on a trip with a baby or a toddler adds up to your luggage. Strollers and car seats are not only heavy; they are bulky and they take a lot of space.

Think of your destination. If you are planning a visit to an old historic town which has cobbled streets or planning a hiking trip, then it’s best to ditch the stroller and opt for a baby carrier.

Stroller will be a good option in a big city with pedestrian walkways.

A lightweight cabin size stroller would be the best. If you are flying, most airline allows you to bring a compact stroller into the cabin. This way you will have access to a stroller all the time.

If you are on a road trip, these strollers also take less space.

Some destination offers facilities that allow you to rent strollers and car seats. Perhaps explore if that option is possible on your trip. Please remember to rent car seats from reputable source to ensure you can trust that their car seat is accident free and meets all the safety regulations.

Entertainment to Keep Children Occupied

Children of all age groups need something to do on their trip to keep them from getting bored. Make sure to prepare enough material and toys to keep you children entertain if they get bored at any point of time.

My older daughter likes to watch cartoons. She also downloads some of her favorite cartoons and games on the tablet before every trip. This can become handy in case there are no movie screens offered in the plane or train.

My 6-year-old is not very fond of tablet, so she packs her small bag pack with toys, color pencils and blank white sheets. For my toddler, I download his favorite educational games and videos. I also pack a few of his favorite books.

Things to Remember Before Leaving the House

Pack Snacks

Children can get difficult when they are hungry.

You also run a risk that they may not like the meal offered in the plane or train. Or if you are on a road trip, you may not reach the nearest restaurant before hell breaks loose.

I always pack enough snacks like healthy chips, nuggets, vegetable sticks, cheese sticks, homemade pancakes or sandwiches. Don’t forget to bring their water bottles and enough water to keep everyone hydrated.