Traveling with Kids & Not Losing Your Sanity
Just do it
Getting there may feel overwhelming but you will get there and will survive. It may even go better than you think.
Take Your Time
One of the hardest things to do, especially when you are used to traveling alone or with other adults- it to take it slow. Those shortcuts you’ve developed over the years to getting through an airport and getting off the plane may not be as handy as they once were.
Keep in mind, if your child is used to an 8 o’clock bedtime, you may not want to veer too far from that even while out of town. They may be totally fine for an extra hour, but realize when the cranky sets in that it’s not just them being “bad” they are used to a routine. Sometimes, it’s the next day when the cranky sets in because things have changed and they were up later the night before.
Plan it- You don’t have to have an hour by hour schedule, but it’s a good idea to have a flexible plan. What are your must-see items? It is a good idea to try and reasonable plan out when you can hit those first and the best times. That being said, sometimes when you’re out of town you make exceptions to the regular rules and they may get a treat or extra screen time to help them adjust and help you keep your sanity.
Talk To Them about Traveling
Let the kids know what to expect. Tell them about somethings they’ll see and how much fun it is.
Tips on Flying
Fly early. The flights tend to be less crowded and many times the kids will want to fall back asleep
To buy the extra seat or not buy the extra seat
If your child is under 2, you aren’t required to buy a seat for them. While this is awesome, sometimes it’s worth it to buy the seat. I found a blog article on Good Housekeeping that referenced safety, which is completely valid. On top of that, it can be very stressful to have a baby who wants to move around and is feeling a little confined on your lap next to a stranger. There are times when you might luck out and have an empty seat next to you; however it is well worth it to have the seat so you have the option of letting the baby have some extra room.
Strollers are a helpful option, but it’s a good idea to bring a compact/umbrella stroller. Sometimes, you can’t avoid the bulky stroller especially if you’ve got a baby and a toddler (in which case the ability to keep the kids contained outweighs the hassle of dealing with the stroller on and off the plane.
Little kids with rolling suitcases is an adorable site. Little kids mad or tired and no longer wanting to pull their suitcase and a parent having to then get their bags and the kids bags while keeping a hold of the kids is often reality. Sometimes a backpack works better for kids and in the case of them refusing to carry it for some reason; it can be easier to slide over your luggage handle.
When you get to the boarding area, get a stroller tag to go ahead and put on the stroller so that it’s ready to go and you don’t get stuck trying to rush and do it when you try to board.
Layovers can be good. Thy can give your kids a chance to go to an actual bathroom, get up and stretch their legs and move around.
Let the kids have a window seat. This way their arms and legs stay inside and away from the aisle (what? Is that just my kids?) plus they’ll be able to look out.
During take-off and descent it’s a good idea to have a pacifier/bottle for babies and something for toddlers/kids to drink or even a sucker because the swallowing helps with the pressure. If they are old enough, gum works too.
Pack a snack, it’s a good idea to have a couple snack options but keep in mind you don’t want to over-pack as you will have to carry all of this with you and your bag can get heavy fast.
Check out this article “12 Strategies for Stress-Free Air Travel With Kids” from Parents!
Here are some suggestions for your packing list to make sure that you’ve got some necessities when traveling with kids.
Comfort Item (remember if it’s a pacifier, have an extra in case it gets thrown or lost.)
Smartphone/Tablet with kids games
Battery (extra charger)
Snacks (Cheerios, pretzels, cheese, nuts, crackers, granola bars)
Suckers (To help with take-off and descent)
Change of clothes
25 of the Best Tips for Travel with Kids– Y Travel Blog