10 PRO TIPS AND TRICKS FOR TRAVELING WITH KIDS
International and domestic travel can be grueling. Traveling is not only hard on most adults it can wreak havoc for most kids. We all know the culprits:
- Last minute flight delays;
- Gate changes;
- Time changes (even as simple as going from EST to CST);
- Unexpected traffic etc.
This is accompanied with groans from your child or children that they need a snack and/or beverage. And continued by or in tandem with the need to: go to the bathroom as you attempt to leave the house on time, board the plane, train, or as you leave the gas station etc. Most children are accustomed to a set routine, sleep schedule, eating schedule etc. and when this is disrupted all hell breaks loose.
Since the ripe age of 2 months old our daughter has been a traveler. We moved twice for our jobs (see Habits of Success Career Nomads on this) all in the span of her first 14 months of life. And now at 3 years of age she has traveled over 45,000 miles in the car and racked up over 60,000 in airline miles.
In our exploration of the world via planes, trains, and automobile trips galore here are our 8 helpful tools & tricks to easier travel with a child:
- Ziploc bags! They are not only great for storing and arranging kids snacks while you are traveling but also for putting together your child’s outfits for your trip. Since she was born I’ve used the large Ziploc freezer bags to neatly organize our daughter’s outfits along with shoes, socks, and hair bows/hair ties etc. This way if you are in a hurry or your child spills something on their clothing and you need to change them you don’t have to figure out where you put what because the entire look is in one Ziploc bag.
- Make sure you change your child’s diaper prior to boarding the plane or leaving the house for your extensive road trip in the car. It seems like it is almost Murphy’s Law that as soon as you leave the house the diaper needs to be changed or your child has to go to the potty. It is also almost impossible to change a child’s diaper while in flight (been there done that).
- Bring tons of extra snacks and your child’s utensils. The snacks aboard airplanes are pricey. Even if you are sitting in the lauded “first class” make sure you bring snacks your child will love. Airplanes don’t have child size utensils so if you child is still using these make sure to pack them in your carry on. *** Make sure you know airport guidelines on snacks too because peanut butter and pudding are considered gels and can’t be carried on.
- Make sure you prepare for the worse. You child is more than likely going to become agitated, uncomfortable, and start to scream because of constant confinement etc. This has happened to us without fail. Everything goes smoothly and then there is a discomfort that needs to be remedied /handled. What has helped us get through these ordeals is outside of taking plenty of road stops, and getting up to stretch our legs on the plane etc. is to make sure you bring tons of activities for your child. Activities such as: DVD’s to watch, books, coloring books, iPad, crayons, their favorite toy(s), and new “something” they have never seen or played with before. The something new can be a book, coloring book, toy, movie etc. ***The key is to continue to rotate the activities as you are in route to your destination so that they don’t get old/boring.
- Pack extra clothing for your child/children in a carry on. They will more than likely spill something on that cute outfit that you dressed them in prior to leaving home
- Adding onto #5, pack “all seasons” clothing. The temperature in the airplane or train can fluctuate and become too hot or too cold for your child. The weather can also change at your destination and having an assortment of clothing to choose from will calm your nerves. ***Make sure to bring extra socks and shoes as well in the carry on.
- Adding onto #6, wear dark clothing because more than likely your child or children will end up spilling something on you. When you finally get to your destination you don’t want to look like you have been in a war.
- A first aid kit including band aids, nail clippers, baby wipes etc.
- Don’t underestimate the power of nursing. If you are still nursing use it to your advantage! Nursing helped me calm our daughter instantly when we were traveling. During an airplane flight it helped to relieve any pressure on her ears and put her to sleep. This allowed us to get some sleep too.
- The controversial use of Benadryl. **Ask your pediatrician about this first. I know some of you will shun using Benadryl but it worked for us traveling internationally. If you are thinking about using it make sure you test it out a week prior to your trip. Benadryl has been said to cause over excitement in some children while it obviously causes the majority of kids to want to go to sleep. For our daughter it caused her to want to sleep and it helped her to transition to the demanding time change when we traveled to Ireland and India.
Do you have any tools & tricks you have used to travel domestically or internationally with your child or children? Post a comment below and Subscribe.