Travelling with children can be difficult to say the least, but in today’s world, it’s almost a necessity. Here are some tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years of travelling (in every mode of transportation and on every length of trip) with littles.
- An iPad or tablet does not make you a lazy parent.
If you’re travelling in an airplane, it’s good to note that smaller children may not be able to see the televisions on the seat in front of them. Even if they are taller, the angle on some of the screens prohibits them from being able to make out the details of the movie/show they’re watching. Bringing a tablet for them to hold is a great way to combat this. Same is true for a car ride. If you have children with differing ages, they probably won’t agree on what to watch, so options are always a good idea. And don’t forget to bring headphones!
- Snacks. Bring all of them.
You can never have enough snacks. Even though you might be able to stop on your journey to get snacks or food, it will not stop the request for them every 20 minutes - it just won’t. Bring a variety of snacks and start offering new snacks at different intervals during the trip. That way your child won’t get bored of the snacks you have and will be excited for each new type. Make sure you pack a Cambio Spoon for things like yogurt, as well. They are super easy to clean on the fly and you'll be glad you have something that can be rinsed and reused.
Pro tip: keep the sugar content low. You don’t want your kids bouncing off the walls when you’re all confined in a small space – trust us.
- Wrap and bring presents.
Yes, you read that correctly. All bets are off when you’re travelling. Before you leave for your trip, wrap some presents in wrapping paper and pack them for your trip. They don’t have to be new toys; they can be existing toys you already own or maybe toys your children haven’t seen in a while (the effectiveness of this obviously depends on the age of your child). For toddlers, coloring sheets and crayons are a great example of something simple and cheap you can wrap up and ‘gift’ to them every half hour/hour (depending on the length of your journey). Unwrapping the present is the exciting part for them, which takes away the pressure of putting something amazing in there. Books are a great idea too and easy to wrap.
- Naps aren’t a guarantee.
There is zero guarantee your child will nap in a car, bus, plane, etc. - literally zero. So plan for that. Create some quiet time activities like reading or listening to music that serve as a 'nap alternative' in case your child can’t get to sleep. Also, talk to your doctor about sleep aids like melatonin. They aren’t appropriate for all children and you really don’t want to find out your child has a bad reaction to them, mid-trip. Again, trust us.
- Don’t expect too much of them or yourself.
The worst thing you can do is set an expectation of how your child will travel. Some kids are amazing and love it, while some kids can’t handle the disruption in routine. Keep in mind that your journey may take longer than you planned, so leave wiggle room for that on either side of your trip. You may need to adjust your plans, allow for stops along the journey, or switch places with your partner for a while.
However your children travel, it’s all okay. Remember this is a "trip" and by literal definition can’t last forever. Have fun when you can and work with your children when you need to. Everyone will be a lot happier on the other end if everyone just takes things one breath at a time.
You’ve got this!