It is not unusual to see families with young children in airports traveling together. Some believe that it is good practice to travel with children from a young age, as a way to broaden their minds. This exposes them to new experiences and diverse cultures.
Traveling with children can however be a challenge. It presents certain obstacles; hence, here are some useful tips for traveling with kids.
- When packing, try to limit your luggage to essentials only. If need be, you can shop for other items on arrival. The less you bring, the more prepared you will be to carry one of the children if the need arises.
- Book direct flights where possible, to avoid layovers.
- Verify with the airline whether your family has been allocated seats together. As you do so, confirm that a bassinet has been requested if you are travelling with an infant and that meals for the toddlers are confirmed.
- Reconfirm hotel, transfer, and tour bookings to avoid inconveniences on arrival. Remind the hotel that you will need connecting rooms and a crib if necessary.
- Run through the itinerary with the older kids to put them at ease, so that they know what to expect.
- It is a good idea to get to the airport earlier than necessary.
On board the flight
Children get restless on planes; therefore it is important to keep them entertained. Personal tablets and smartphones will keep the kids happy. Remember to download the relevant content such as movies, apps and games in advance. Headphones and backup power for electronic devises are essential.
You will need to pack plenty of diapers for the babies and toddlers as well as changes in clothing and formulae. Remember to carry a puke bag and a change of clothing for yourself as well.
Carry an emergency kit with basic over the counter medicine to take care of upset tummies, allergies, and other ailments.
When you arrive at the destination
It is important to keep an eye on the children to know where they are at all times. Adults traveling together can take it in turn to watch the kids. As an added precaution, stick a contact card in their pockets with your name and cell phone number so that you can be contacted in the event they get lost.
Infants and toddlers
Babies under the age of 2 are usually content as long as they are dry, fed and their routine is maintained. Toddlers on the other hand need outlets for their boundless energy, hence it is important to schedule playtime accordingly and give them an opportunity to run around.
Older kids appreciate having a say in the daily program; involve them in decision making. Teenagers may wish to do some exploring on their own. This can be permitted depending on the circumstances and within reason.
Traveling with kids is a challenge, but the rewards are worth it when you watch them adapting effortlessly to new environments and adapting to a new cuisine. You will doubtlessly treasure the quality time that you spend with them.