We all look forward to our vacations, but if you are traveling with young children, it can be a stressful experience. Long journeys can seem daunting, especially if you are not a frequent traveler, and navigating airports with little ones in tow is not the easiest experience. Keeping your youngsters safe is the ultimate priority, followed by ensuring they are entertained. These five tips will make your journey more enjoyable for everyone.
In busy places such as airports, the worry of losing your child in a crowd can be very real. Place your contact details on your child – a wrist band with your phone number is an ideal option although a sticker can also work (but is more likely to fall off). If your child is slightly older, talk to them about what to do should they get separated from you. Tell them to ask staff for help and, if they have a good memory, teach them your phone number.
Keep your child entertained on a long journey with traditional games such as ‘I Spy’ and ‘My Grandma Went to Market’. Not only will these pass the time, but they are also great for honing observation skills and working on memory. Create a bingo card by printing out a pictorial list of things to spot on your journey. This might include a red car, a pilot or a branch of McDonald’s – anything you might see on your travels! These can be marked off when seen and a prize given for a full house. Fun for all the family, make these games a part of your vacation tradition.
There’s no denying that gadgets make traveling with children much easier. Download their favorite games and apps before you set off, so they are ready to be used when your child is restless. Favorite TV shows and music can also be accessed on a small tablet for kids. Remember to check your safety settings so anything they access is age-appropriate and always supervise your child as they use a tablet.
Snacks are a great distraction and a way to stave off irritability due to hunger. Carry a variety of snacks that can be easily stored (in Tupperware pots if possible so they can be resealed if necessary). Little and often is key, especially if your child is prone to motion sickness. Carry paper or plastic bags just in case your child is ill on the journey.
Travel at Night
Where possible, travel at night. Children will stick to their usual routine and for long car, plane or train journeys overnight travel can make life much easier. Get your child ready for bed and into their pajamas before you start traveling and if they use a stroller, recline it ready for them to rest. Be prepared to transfer them in their sleep if necessary.
Journeys can be challenging but focus on the reward that awaits you on your arrival at your destination. Whether that’s a beach house, the lights of the city or a hug with a loved one, it will all be worthwhile. Happy traveling.