Travelling with kids is not easy. It's different from travelling in the past when you were single; you're parenting still, but just in an unfamiliar location. You have to contend with unusual foods, disrupted sleeping habits, a different climate and strange situations. Yet, travelling offers lots of benefits to your children to broaden their knowledge of the world and people around them.
Prepare yourself for travelling with children so you can cope better and still have some fun.
Tips to Help with Your Kids
Use the restroom before boarding the plane: This is pretty self-explanatory and every parent knows that - no I don't need to use the toilet - often turns into a mad dash five minutes later.
Hotel or holiday rental? A rental means you can cook your own meals and be able to do everything you could do at home. This might be useful to you if your child is on a special diet or has a set routine. Hotels, on the on the other hand have perks like room service, baby-sitting and maids.
Take things slow: Travelling on your own often involves a rush to get to where you are headed. However, taking a child along will require that you slow down a bit and smell the roses along the way. Children get tired faster than adults, so stay a few days in each location.
Put an identifier or a child locator in place: In the event that you happen to get separated from your child, having your contact information placed on your kid/s will help officials to easily contact you. You could also get a GPS tracking device and attach it to your kid's backpack or wrist.
Decide on a meeting point in case of an emergency
Also, in every new place, make sure to designate a meeting point in case anyone is separated from the group. If you suspect there's a even a tiny possibility this could happen especially if you're in a really dense crowd, you could promise everyone a reward for staying together. It's also a good idea to involve and engage the older kids in holiday planning and ask for their inputs.
Know your destination: Research the weather conditions, find out if there are any cultural issues that may cause problems and what types of food will be available for your children. Be sure you have the right insurance package to protect you against the unexpected. Air New Zealand insurance offers a range of packages to suit your needs.
Plan your flights: Flights are a nightmare even on your own, so with kids it's even more difficult. If you can plan your flights to fall in with the normal routine bedtime of your kids that will help. Ensure that you allow some additional time if you will be catching a connecting flight to avoid the stress of hurrying to meet it while dragging your kids along. Allowing enough time will also help you to enjoy your travels as you and your kids will have the time to relax, eat, take bathroom breaks, play and relax while you get ready for the next flight.
Seating arrangements on the flight: Some flights have cribs available if needed. If your children don't require cribs, sitting in the back row at the very end of the plane provides you and your kids with a somewhat personal space, where you will be less likely to disturb other passengers. The toilets are also close by, and you can also make use of the galley.
Health first: Don't forget to pack any medication which you or your children might require. Your destination may not have Pamol. Also remember to pack a first aid kit.
Check your kids" luggage: If your kids pack their own backpacks or luggage, it is important to check they have packed all that they need, and have not weighed themselves down with extra unnecessary "stuff".
Plan activities to keep busy: If the travel is going to span a large number of hours, it will help to plan activities for your kids to help keep them engaged, and allow you some time for yourself. You could pack colouring books, puzzles, and other toys for your kids.
No sugar rush: Avoid feeding your kids too much sugar on your trip. Instead, pack some healthy food and snacks to keep them well fed without the sugar high.
Keep germs away: Take along antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer, in case you run into a situation where thereā?Ts no facility to wash their hands.
Stick to the normal routine: Follow your normal routine while travelling. Keep the same bedtime routines and activities such as taking a shower and brushing their teeth.
TV privileges: Download your kids" favourite TV shows onto a device and use it to keep them busy and allow you to have some quiet time for yourself.
Tips to take care of you
Check the charges for different airlines: Different airlines have their own charges for children. Under a certain age they may be free to travel, or at a reduced rate.
Avoid over packing: You can get almost everything you need on the road. Pack the basic essentials, and buy anything else you need when you're on the road. Remember that you already have your hands full by taking your kids along, you don't need more luggage!
Is it worth going for low cost?: Low- cost carriers often fly to remote airports where you will have to accept additional costs to shuttle from the airport to the city centre, along with the accompanying extra time and stress. It might be wiser to consider comfort and convenience, instead of aiming for the cheapest flight possible while travelling with your kids.
Check-in online: To avoid spending unnecessary time at the airport, check-in online and just drop your bags then head through security when you arrive.
Take care of yourself: While managing your kids, and making sure that they are okay and comfortable, don't forget to look after yourself as well. If you are flustered and stressed, your kids will be too.
Pay attention to their needs, and find a good balance between rest time and activities. Remember, kids get cranky quickly when bored and tired. Think back to when you were a kid and how you felt.