Monica and her husband had been wanting to go for a trip for quite some time, but being new parents, they would often drop the idea as traveling with their 6-month-old made them nervous about his well-being and most importantly, they were clueless on how to do traveling with a small child for the first time. But they needed a getaway badly, which is why the couple decided to talk to their family members who had children so that they could get some practical and real-time tips on how to make traveling with children safe and easy.
Let’s dive in to what the experienced couples advised Monica and her husband Sam-
If you have been one of those who tend to catch a flight or jump onto the moving train at the last minute, then you would have to change this habit. Traveling with a child means you need to be on time or most preferably, before time. One must ensure that you have enough time to clear the security and handle the luggage and stroller along with the child. Having some extra time on hand, allows you to clear all the formalities so that you can show around your child and make them understand the what’s and how’s about planes, pilots, trains, buses, etc.
Yes, we know that you want your child to have everything they need for their daily use or entertainment at all times but mind you, you are not moving across cities forever but just traveling (for a few days or weeks) and eventually, you will be coming back home and most importantly, unless your child is not old enough to walk properly there will be a time during the trip where you’ll have to carry him or her. Therefore, it is advised to pack the “real” necessities for your child and not the things that “seem necessary”. Pack things which are really essential for them for the whole trip rather than stuffing up extras just for the sake of “in-case time”.
This is a reality check - you can no longer check in last-minute or crash in a hostel, since you have a child with you. As a parent, you need to make sure that the place where you are staying with your child is safe and hygienic. You must book the accommodation in advance, keeping in mind that rooms must be baby-friendly and hotels must be family-friendly. Furthermore, pre-booking the places you want to visit in the new town with your child is also essential as it will save you from last-minute problems such as standing in long lines or worse, not getting in.
Note- Kindly keep the card from which you have paid for the bookings with you at all times in case there is any confusion you can always get things sorted out instantly.
Now, if you are traveling with a toddler then all you can hope is that he or she has a happy traveling experience (some parents wish that their child sleeps through most of the trip). But, in case you have a child who is of the age where they know what’s happening around them, then you must talk to them before they travel. You can explain to them what all they might be seeing or feeling such as if traveling by plane, then they would feel ear pain or nausea and when they feel that they should inform you immediately. On the other hand, tell them things that will help them to be distracted in a good way such as how the plane flies, who flies them or in trains where is the engine and what all they can see outside the window.
Once you have given them all this information, their curiosity and excitement about the trip will make it easier for you to handle them during traveling.
Parents love to dress their kids up and it’s understandable. But, let’s try keeping all those fancy frocks and shirts for the trip and choose comfy and easy clothes for traveling. It is always a good choice to make children wear something with layers so that if there is any change in the temperature, it is easy for you to either make them wear or loosen up the layer. Just a casual tee with a jacket is always a good option for kids and even adults while traveling. Furthermore, when it comes to footwear, select anything that isn’t with laces. Remember, your child is curious and they would want to roam, jump or lay down which is why easy slips-on or sandals are the perfect choices for your young ones to travel comfortably.
This one is extremely important which is why it is a must that you do not falter on it. If you are expecting that because you have chosen your meal on your plane or train and you wouldn’t need to carry extra snacks, then you are highly mistaken. Planes and trains have very limited options of food and all the more very less options of food that would excite a child. Therefore, stock up your snack bag with the food your child likes to eat. (For a few hours, let them have those chips you usually don’t let them have).
When it comes to keeping your child entertained during the traveling , you would want to pre-download some of their favorite cartoons or rhymes, so that they are hooked on them for most of the journey. Or else, bring some colors and white paper, so that they can draw and be occupied.
You would want to pack a minimum of two toys with you, one old and another new one. Why? Considering that this would be your child’s first or second journey, it is important that they feel comfortable in this new experience. Now to ensure that your child’s traveling experience doesn’t become a nightmare for them, yourself, and other passengers as well, you would want to keep them busy with something new such as a new toy, while also making them feel comfortable with a toy they are already familiar with. This way, the child would not get too anxious with everything new around him or her.
We know that you have packed your child’s medicines, but the question is where have you kept them? Packing medicines in your luggage that you won’t be able to access easily while traveling isn’t a great option. You must keep these medicines in your handbag or the child’s bag so that, if they start feeling any kind of discomfort you can instantly care for them rather than handling an uneased child while doing a treasure hunt in your big luggage cases.
This is a tip that many parents think doesn’t really matter much but hang on for a minute with us here. The reason this tip must be given a lot of consideration is that it can make your travel a lot easier than you think.
For example- You book an early morning flight or train, now this can help you in two ways- a) usually early morning flights or trains aren’t super crowded, so this will help you and your child to travel peacefully, rather than making your child anxious with too many unfamiliar faces around them. Secondly, considering it is an early morning time, that means it is the time (on regular days) when your child is already accustomed to sleeping therefore, early morning travels will help you to cover your major time of travel while your child is still sleeping.
Yes, we know this tip isn’t something we should be teaching you because your child’s safety is paramount to you and you wouldn’t do a thing that would risk it. But, we also want to make you cautious about the fact, that parents are after all humans,l and they can do some errors too; there can be instances where for a minute (just a minute), your attention would shift from your child, maybe just to look over the travel schedule or tickets and the next minute, you wouldn’t be able to see your child standing next to you. (We don’t intend to cause panic for you).
Thus, to avoid such situations, you must keep a piece of paper in your child's pocket with all your personal details like your name and phone number, so that if by chance your child wanders into a nearby shop, someone will be able to reach you to inform you of your child's whereabouts.
FYI- There are also many people who have started putting their young ones on a child leash so that they are always within reach, even if they wander around. Although this idea and practice are subjective, as many parents do not feel comfortable putting their children on a leash. We would let you decide on this by yourself.
So, now that you learned all the 10 tips to keep in mind while traveling with children- real-time pieces of advice given by veteran parents, we are sure you must be feeling a bit confident on this one. But, hang on, there is one last tip that you must know while traveling with a child i.e., -
Do not misunderstand us, we are not saying that we want things to go bad for you and your child, but rather that as a parent you would always want to do the best for them, but even then you might feel short. However, don't let the travel hiccups ruin your holiday mood as this would be one of the best memories you and your child will have.
Therefore, expect things to not be perfect and right all the time but just remember that this traveling time with your child is a new adventure for both of you and this trip will be a memory that shall be etched in your and your child’s heart for times to come, so make this time worthwhile by enjoying with each other rather than worrying too much.