The Ultimate Guide to Traveling with Children

 green01   October 12, 2012
How To Travel

Traveling solo can be a struggle, and traveling with children can be even more stressful; as you are not only looking after your own needs but the needs of your kids, as well. The good news is there are plenty of ways to make your trip enjoyable for both yourself and your child. Today, we are going to give you tips to save you time, money and stay safe so you can have a trip that you are going to remember for the rest of your life.

Proper Planning Is a Must

Kids in Car

Kids in Car – Source

In order to have a pleasant experience while traveling with children, it is important to plan ahead. Always bring toys with you to keep your little ones entertained and pack extra clothing because messes are bound to happen. Prepare your child before boarding the plane for takeoff and landing. Make it a fun experience for them. Give them something such as juice or a snack to chew on during these times so they do not become frightened or agitated when their ears begin to pop.

It is always a good idea to have extra diapers, baby wipes, snacks and toys just in case. There isn’t a ton of room on the plane to move around but if you keep everything with you in your carryon, and are properly organized, you should have no trouble at all.

You can never have too many distractions for your child during long flights. Bring a wide range of toys so they do not become bored. This can include coloring books, E-Readers or stuffed animals. Remember, if your child is to drop something on the plane, it can prove to be difficult to retrieve it. Whenever possible, have your child’s toys connected to one another so if they aren’t losing small pieces.

In order to save money on your travel bill, select your flight well in advance, the same goes with your hotel. Depending on the time of the year, there may be certain days of the week or of the month that are more expensive than others. If you can, tweak your schedule so that you can get the most out of your money.

Exploring the World with your Child

Kids with Maps

Kids with Maps

Get your child excited about the upcoming trip long before departure. Show them maps or photos of the places you are going to see and get them amped for the upcoming trip. Talk to them about how you are going to get around and what you are going to do. Make sure to plan fun things just for your child so they have something fun to look forward to. We all know children love to be surprised!

Give Yourself Extra Time

Enjoy with Kids

Enjoy with Kids – Source

Whenever you are out and about with your child, it is always a good idea to plan for everything to take a bit longer. It is hard to know when your child may become tired or sick or throw a tantrum. Give yourself plenty of time each day so that you are not stressed to get to certain locations on time. In order to fully enjoy your trip, plan your events around your child’s typical naptime and bedtime. If you are traveling with a significant other, take turns watching your child so each of you can enjoy a bit of a break.

Home Exchanges

Home Search

Home Search – Source

Instead of spending a ton of money on a hotel, why not look into home exchanges? You may just be able to find a family that has a home that would work perfect for you and your child. Can you imagine how much time and energy will be saved by staying in an already child-proofed home? There are a wide range of options online to choose from. More and more parents are choosing this as their go-to travel money and time saver.

Keep Well Fed and Hydrated

Snacks

Snacks – Source

This goes for not only your child but for yourself as well. It is very common for those who are traveling to get so caught up in the excitement of it all and completely forget to eat and drink on a regular basis. Talk to your doctor beforehand, if you do not already know, about how much your child should be drinking each day. As for adults, typically about 64 ounces of water is required. This is especially important while you are on a plane (as the air humidity is very low, which can lead to dehydration), or at a destination that is hotter than you were used to back home. It can be easy to confuse hunger and thirst so be sure to keep both covered throughout your trip.

Staying Safe During Travel

Teaching to Kids

Teaching to Kids – Source

Safety during travel is very important. Your children look up to you and they need your guidance to know what is and what is not allowed at the airport, during the flight, after the flight, at the hotel and so forth. Take a few moments to explain to them what is going to be happening and what is expected of them. This is going to make your trip that much easier; because both you and your child are going to be ready for anything that may come your way.

Keeping Your Child Seated

Seat Belt

Seat Belt – Source

It is very important to understand flight rules before boarding your plane. Depending on your child’s age, you may be required to purchase them their own seat and in that seat, you may have to have a child restraint. Typically for children under the age of two, they have the option of sitting on an adult’s lap. This is something you may want to consider, but if the flight is a long one; it could prove to be troublesome.

If you have your child on your lap, it is probably best that you select an aisle seat because you are probably going to be making multiple trips to the restroom during your flight. If a child is going to have their own seat, it is typically best to have them at a window seat. Not only is this going to keep them distracted as they can look outside but it will be easier for you to keep track of their toys and keep them in line.

Turbulence can happen completely out of the blue any time during your flight, so it’s extremely important to stay seated as often as you can. If you do need to get up with your child to head to the bathroom, having everything organized is the best way to get the job done quickly so you both can return back to your seats quickly and safely.

Know What To Do In Case of Emergencies

Emergency

Emergency – Source

Traveling with a child means more things to understand. Make sure you pay close attention to the flight attendant as they discuss what to do in case of various emergencies. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask. Your child’s safety is extremely important and there are plenty of people who can help you if something does not make sense. For example, be sure you know where life preservatives are which will work best for your child and if the oxygen masks are deployed, always put yours on first. If you try to put your child’s on first, you have a high chance of passing out and your child will not be able to do it themselves; putting both of you in danger.

If your child has special needs, this is something that you should inform the flight attendant of as you board the plane. This way, if a medical emergency comes up, they will know what to do to help.

Keep Copies of Personal Records

Certificates

Certificates – Source

Whenever travelling, but especially when traveling outside of the country with a child, be sure you have copies of all personal identifying information. Have a copy with you at all times and one back at the place you are staying. It’s also a great  idea to have a copy with a relative or close friend back home so that if anything is misplaced; you are still able to get back home safely and prove who you are.

Plan for Unexpected Events

Rain Coat for Children

Rain Coat for Children – Source

A lot of the time, you can have your whole trip planned out beautifully and something, such as a drastic change in the weather or an emergency can occur. Even when you have checked the local weather, it’s always a good idea to have extra clothing with you that will keep you warm (or cool) if there is a sudden change in the weather. Also, have a backup plan as to what you are going to do each day so that you are not stuck sitting around at the hotel without any idea where you should go.

Allow your child to be a part of the event planning. Maybe you want to place various ideas in a hat and let them choose what you are going to do each day. This can prove to be a great bonding experience and something your child will never forget.

About the Guest Blogger – Sarah McPherson is a travel blogger and works with OneMileBeach.com.au, a Port Stephens accommodation company. Sarah travels a lot and doesn’t always leave children behind.

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