While most people hesitate to travel with young children, travelling as a family need not be a hassle. In fact, it can be an extremely rewarding experience. Travelling with small kids might have its challenges, but it creates lasting memories and can be tons of fun.
Tips for stress-free travelling with small kids:
1. Plan it together
The best way to get kids excited is to involve them in planning your trip. Let slightly older children choose activities and destinations that interest them as well. Make a game out of it so they feel just as excited about the trip as you and make travelling with your small kids that much easier.
2. Talk to your paediatrician before you go
This may seem like overkill, but it’s important to ensure that your child is up to date on vaccines, especially when going abroad. It’s also a good policy to visit your paediatrician if your child has a special medical condition. Getting their go-ahead will also give you peace of mind before you start your travels. Carry all the basic meds with you in any case.
3. Stay in a central area
Picking accommodation in a central area makes it easy to access, especially after a long day. It also often means that you’re located in a safe area. Central areas will also have plenty of access to general stores and restaurants so you can always quickly hop into one for any of your child’s needs.
4. Find a kid-friendly hotel
Travelling with small kids means ensuring they don’t get bored. Look for a hotel with kid-friendly features, such as a game room or a pool, as it will help keep them entertained and occupied. Alternatively, opt for an apartment, as it will give you more flexibility when it comes to food and space.
5. Bring along some home comforts
Keep a few comfort items from your homes, such as a favourite toy, a few books, or activity sets. This will keep your child from feeling too lost in a strange place. It also helps to follow your usual bedtime routine, wherever you may be, as often as possible.
6. Always keep snacks and water with you
Don’t assume that you’ll always be able to purchase snacks or water. Travelling with small kids means constant demands, especially in the food and drinks department. Kids can get hungry at any time, and this can often make them cranky, spoiling the day for everyone. So, it’s best to keep some food on hand at all times.
7. Don’t try to do too much
Slow down and don’t pack your day with activities. Travelling with small kids from place to place is much more difficult than travelling on your own or with friends; so try not to cram too many things in your itinerary.
8. Give them time to rest
While slowing down is important, it’s also important to give kids time to rest. When travelling with small kids you need to provide adequate time, not only for them to get a proper night’s sleep, but also to take a break between activities during the day. And you will require these breaks just as much as them.
9. Tell them what to expect
If your child is old enough to understand, prepare them for what to expect at your destination. Tell them if it will be too hot, or too cold, and also about any special customs and rules to be followed. If it’s their first time flying, tell them what to expect on the flight as well.
10. A surprise bag of toys
For smaller children and toddlers, long flights, or train and car rides can be challenging. Not only are they cooped up in a strange place, they can get bored, tired, and hungry. Keep a surprise bag of cheap toys and treats in your bag to whip out as a surprise to keep them entertained.
Flying with small kids is often thought of as a hassle. But it doesn’t have to be. Ease their fears before you take off, and continue to quietly comfort them if necessary. Before disembarking, take them to use the toilet, as baggage claim and customs can often take very long. Also, remember to keep a change of clothing for both you and your child in your carry-on.
Also read: Things to do in Lisbon with kids