Travelling with kids includes so much more than just seeking out family-friendly resorts and places to visit. The planning and packing involved can begin as early as weeks and months before the trip. And that might just be the easiest part of the trip!
Before you even reach the destination, your little one might have gone through a lot already! So what’s a mum to do? The good news is, there are myriads of tips and tricks on keeping your kids calm while on a trip that well-traveled parents have shared.
Tips for travelling with kids: How to make it easy (and fun!)
1. Have comfort measures in place
Tips for travelling with kids: Use a pacifier if needed!
Your child may have a favourite item such as blanket, teddy bear, pacifier or storybook that they love. Bring it along, and make sure this item is within your reach – take it out of your carry-on luggage before stowing it away on the plane.
Also make sure that your baby’s bottle is ready or be ready to nurse at take-off and landing to ease inner ear pressure. For older kids, try a lollipop or some water and encourage them to swallow.
2. Anticipate their needs in advance
Experienced mummies use this trick to make travelling with kids easier – they always try to stay one step ahead of their little ones. Remember, you know your child best; read the signals and be prepared to handle them.
You may choose to relax some rules in the name of comfort for all involved, including the other passengers on the plane.
Travelling is also not a good time to initiate something new, such as weaning or potty training.
3. Pack baby-care essentials in advance
Tips for travelling with kids: Don’t forget kiddie essentials
When travelling with a little one, being organised is key to ensuring a good trip. One way to do this is to make sure all baby essentials are packed early on. These include a good, baby-friendly sunscreen if you’re travelling to a hot climate (we LOVE Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sunscreen Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 50); baby toiletries (shampoo, baby wash, body lotion); and a first-aid kit (don’t forget to add baby fever relief medication and a thermometer).
4. Essential oils are your best friend
Natural remedies such as therapeutic grade Lavender and Peppermint essential oil are great for a travelling family! Lavender helps to calm and soothe ragged nerves (yes, for you and your child) and can is safe enough to put children to sleep. Peppermint is a great all-purpose cure to soothe upset tummies, calm a raging fever or massage on aching necks and shoulders.
Get a good brand that’s completely safe for direct topical use, like Young Living’s essential oils.
5. Choose good flight timings
Choose flights that fit your children’s sleep schedule, and even consider paying a little more for it! Try avoiding flights that are disruptive to your child’s sleep schedule as it can cause major crankiness.
If you have no choice but to take a redeye flight, then try moving your kids along from bed to airport with as little disruptions as possible. For example, put your kids to bed in their travel clothes so you wake them up to get ready.
Also avoid last minute rushing, and give yourself ample time to get to your destination early, which will prevent the overall stress of travel.
6. Invest in a good travel pillow
The Bed Box Airplane bed is a hand luggage which converts to a travel pillow. It is suitable for kids up to 35kg and retails for $269.
Cheaper alternatives include 1st class kid travel pillow, which retails for $60 and Plane Pal pillow at $80.
7. Pack their favourite snacks
Remember to bring food or snacks for your child when they get hungry. Though most airlines may serve snacks or meals on board, it’s ideal to have food that your baby or kid enjoys. You can bring your own food, bowl and utensils for your infant.
Don’t bring juice, yogurt or sauces which tend to be messy as they cause leaks and spills. If you need to bring liquids, do check if you can bring or if the airline provides it on board.
8. Lots of games
iPad, toys and books, you name it! Keep them in your carry on luggage. In this way, you won’t have to come up with ways to keep them entertained. For my toddler, lots of paper, crayon and stickers are the best way to keep her entertained for hours
9. Keep yourself calm
This is perhaps the most important thing to remember. Children mirror their parents behaviour most of the time and are excellent readers of mood. Whether you’re feeling frazzled, angry or miserable, they tend to amplify your emotions – either by mimicking your emotions or pressing your buttons to test boundaries.
So if despite all best intentions, you child throws a hissy fit, go to the other Zen extreme even while trying to handle the situation – with distraction tactics, a change of scenery or even moving from one end of the aisle of the plane to another.
Keep these tips and tricks in mind, and most importantly, have fun!