Smart Tips When You're Travelling with Kids
Let’s face it: Traveling with kids can be both exhilarating and terrifying. It’s exhilarating because it’s a blast to experience new things with the people you love the most, and terrifying because the process of getting there isn’t always easy. Here are a few tips from International Babysitters to help your next trip with your kids be more of an adventure.
Be smart about how and what you pack. Let each kid pack their own backpack with their favourite toys, stuffed animals, and activities. (You might want to check each one to make sure they’re not bringing 50 Hot Wheels, for example.) You can also bring a mystery bag with surprise goodies for them, such as new colouring books, games, small toys, candy, or other fun surprises. If you’re taking a road trip, have each kid bring their pillow and blanket for comfort. Keep a stocked first aid kit with you as well; it’s inevitable that someone will need a bandage at some point.
You always want to pack a few items to help keep your kids busy while on the road and at night when everyone is winding down. Now more than ever is the perfect time to use portable gaming devices, like the Nintendo Switch or DS. Now is also a great time to buy the family a tablet, but make sure it stays safe with a solid case. Consider a folio-style case, which enables tablets to sit upright on a tabletop (or airplane tray table) to make streaming videos and gaming simpler.
If your children prefer watching TV over playing video games, fear not. This can be accomplished from the car or hotel room. Set them up with a streaming stick that gets top marks, and add a streaming option through your current mobile data plan so they can watch anytime you're on the road. Plus, most streaming sticks allow you to use your phone as a remote, and by adding a few apps like Disney Now, PBS Kids and Nick to your streaming device, the kiddos will have access to their favorite shows and movies no matter where you travel. Of course, you can’t go wrong with old-fashioned travel games like Connect 4 or Hangman, or even books and graphic novels. The main goal is to keep everyone occupied so you can maintain your sanity and reach your destination no worse for the wear.
One of the biggest things to consider while you’re traveling is food. Deciding whether to eat out or pack your own food includes considerations about both cost and health. Fast food is convenient, but the cost adds up, and it’s not healthy. Packing your own food requires more work, but it’s cheaper and healthier. Consider doing a little of both, including some car-friendly meals that will keep your whole family healthy and happy. Examples of this kind of meal include standard PB sandwiches, crackers or vegetables with hummus, pita sandwiches, and dried fruit. If you have a big box of snacks, bring separate Ziploc bags to divide the snacks up for each kid. You may need a small cooler for cold items, and don’t forget that kids will drop and spill their food, so include napkins or paper towels, some baby wipes, and a trash bag for the car.
Tips for Road Trips
If you’re road-tripping for hours in the car, don’t be afraid to take a few breaks. Sure, it’ll add a little time to the trip, but your kids will be happier once they have gotten out of their cramped confines for a bit. Bring a few balls or frisbees to throw around while you stop. Devise an electronics strategy before you leave, and don’t be afraid to enforce it as parents. Too little access will make the kids whiny, but too much will leave them bored eventually.
Tips for Flying
If you’re flying with kids, make sure you arrive early enough to take advantage of early boarding. It’s much easier to get arranged with fewer people surrounding you. Be friendly with the flight attendants and other passengers. Chances are you’re going to need their help at some point on the flight. Those snacks we mentioned earlier? Bring plenty of them to satisfy your kids and keep them from complaining about the small bag of peanuts the airline gives you. Make sure your kids’ backpacks include activities to keep them busy. If you have a baby, be ready to take a walk up and down the aisle every hour or so to calm any fussiness. Also, pack saline nose drops or spray; traveling by air tends to dry out your nasal passages and compromise immune systems. Bring gum or hard candy to suck on (if your kids are old enough) to counteract the ear-popping effects of takeoffs and landings as well.
While you can’t control everything, following these simple tips can help your family’s travel experiences be fun instead of disastrous. Don’t be afraid to hit the road or the skies just because you have kids. They’ll often make the journey much better!
Are you looking for some alone time away from the kids during your travels? International Babysitters will come to your rescue! We offer childcare all over Europe and even offer flight-buddy services for children traveling solo. Contact us to learn more!
Article written by Amanda Henderson http://safechildren.info/
Photo from Unsplash