Traveling with kids can be an amazing bonding experience, or it can be a complete nightmare. When we become parents, we need to accept that we are going to make significant changes in our lives. Kids become the biggest priority and your Sunday sleep-ins will be exchanged with early morning breakfasts and play sessions. This is why traveling with kids will sometimes be a daunting task. The key to making these travels an enriching and wonderful experience is to be prepared. Today I am going to share with you my top four best tips for traveling with kids.
1. Picking the right destination
Even though you probably traveled a lot and you know how to pick the most amazing traveling destinations, things change once you have kids. You will now need to consider your new travel “companions” when making plans. While traveling through Europe and visiting old churches may seem like a dream vacation, this is not a very good idea if you are bringing your kids with you. They will not get the same satisfaction from architecture and to be honest with you, they don’t really care about it either.
You may be wondering if visiting “must-see” locations from all over the world is a bad idea when traveling with kids, then what is a good idea instead? The best thing that you can do is to take them to parks. Your kids will love Disneyland or Sea World! Although, this doesn’t mean that you need to spend all your precious vacation time in theme parks. You can spend one day in a theme park and the other visiting the local nature or top sightseeing spots.
2. Don’t run a tight schedule!
One of the first lessons that moms learn the hard way when traveling with their kids is that you should never run a tight schedule. Even though you might think that fifteen minutes is more than enough time for you and the little ones to get through airport security and walk to the gate, your kids might have different plans. Make sure to always get to the airport at least one hour earlier than the scheduled time!
This tip is great to keep in mind during the entire vacation. Having an extra half an hour will give you enough time to push the strollers, fill the bottles and take care all the other needs that your kids might have. Not only that, but kids don’t like to be rushed. My babysitting days have taught me that kids are the grumpiest when they are tired!
3. What to pack for babies and toddlers?
Finding out what to pack for babies and toddlers is the biggest problem that every mom has to face when it is time start packing. Here is where I come in! I have talked with dozens of busy moms and asked them what are their essentials for traveling with kids so that you don’t have to find out by trial and error.
The one thing that should never miss from your bags is protection from the sun. Using sun protection lotion on your kids will save you lots of trouble and, more importantly, they will not have to deal with the pain of being sun kissed. Additionally, sunshade will make babies and toddlers fall asleep in an instant!
Even if your kids like to walk everywhere, it’s not a bad idea to bring a buggy with you. Traveling can be difficult at times and the buggy will be there to save the day. Otherwise, you and your husband will have to carry the kids once their get tired. I should also mention that most buggy models can be folded to fit a regular bag.
What better way to keep kids busy other than with an iPad? Download and install some fun games on your iPad so that the kids have what to do when traveling gets boring such as sitting in the airplane for hours. You can also install educational games that will prepare your kids for school.
4. Dealing with jet lag
The most annoying thing about traveling long distances is dealing with jet lag. Adjusting to the new time zone is never easy and kids usually have an even more difficult time. Be prepared because you will not be able to put them to sleep at bed time! The best way to deal with this problem is to spend the first day staying up late. My advice is to go out the hotel room and visit a playground or a park. This will get the kids tired and they will want nothing else but to fall asleep.
Another great idea of what to do in order to keep everyone active so that they can adjust with the new time zone is to do some groceries shopping. Even though the hotel might have room service, it will not hurt to have everything you need to prepare a sandwich when your kids start feeling hungry. You will also end up saving a good amount of money.