By Lisa Pecos
Summer vacation is fast approaching, and while many parents are looking forward to getting away, the idea of travelling with children can be a little daunting to say the least. Fortunately, a little planning can help take the stress out of travelling with children and make vacations a lot easier on the whole family.
Keep it Simple
This is the best possible motto when planning a trip with children, especially younger children. The key is to plan trips that are as simple as can be, from reducing the number of items on your travel itinerary to avoiding flights with multiple connections.
Children have short attention spans, so especially long travel times or complicated plans can leave them tired and irritable. Keeping things simple can make all the difference.
Suggestions for Travelling with Kids
Here are few general tips for making travel with children easier and more enjoyable:
- Include a fair share of children-friendly activities. This doesn’t mean that you can’t visit nice restaurants or sightsee, but you want to make sure that you avoid dragging your children to too many adult-oriented attractions that will be of little interest to kids.
- Ask a travel agent for suggestions. If you’re flexible about where to go, a travel agent can suggest family-friendly destinations and accommodations that will appeal to everyone in the family.
- Look into daycare services. Many resorts and hotels offer day care and babysitting services. Opting for such a place can ensure that you get to enjoy some adult time while your children are otherwise entertained.
- Make a list. Packing lists are a must to ensure that you don’t forget any of the necessities when you travel. From clothing and shoes to toys and snacks; take the time to prepare a checklist so you’re properly prepared with everything your children need while away.
- Pack new toys and gadgets. There’s nothing like a new coloring book or toy to distract a fussy child. Pack a couple of new items they haven’t seen yet to keep them distracted on long drives or flights. Consider downloading new apps on a tablet or picking up a disposable camera for older children.
Tips for Healthy Travel
Keeping your children healthy is crucial when travelling, especially given that their bodies and immune systems are still developing.
The following are some important things to consider when you’re planning to travel with children:
- Check your government’s travel site. Your local government travel website lists any travel advisories and known risks around the world, as well as important emergency information, such as what to do in a crisis situation while away and how to handle medical emergencies away from home.
- Vaccines. Travelling to other countries increases the risk of many vaccine-preventable diseases. Talk to your healthcare provider to ensure that your child’s vaccines are up to date and whether or not they should receive any other vaccines before travelling. If you’re breastfeeding, ask about any vaccines that you should have before travel as well.
- Motion sickness. Whether travelling by car, air or any other form; motion sickness is very common, especially in kids aged 2 to 12. Avoiding reading or other activities in a moving car can prevent motion sickness and some children find that closing their eyes or focusing on something off in the horizon helps. You can also speak to your doctor about motion sickness tablets for your child before travelling.
- Jet lag. This is an unfortunate part of travelling between time zones and children are especially sensitive to it. You can make jet lag easier on your child by limiting day time naps so that they sleep better at night, as well as by following the local time schedule.
- Air travel. The change in pressure during takeoff and landing can cause ear pain. Older children should be encouraged to swallow, yawn or chew gum to avoid ear pain. Infants can be bottle or breastfed to help alleviate ear pain.
- Driving. Even though traffic laws in other parts of the world may not be a strict when it comes to the use of car seats and seat belts, using the same safety practices that you’re required to at home can help keep your child safe. Always travel with your children’s car seat or booster seat even if it’s not required by law in the country you’re visiting.
- Medications. It can be tricky finding medications in a foreign country or remote areas. Pack any prescription medication your child needs, along with medications for dealing with fever or allergies if the need should arise. Always ensure you have enough of a prescription to last the duration of your trip and a few extra doses for unforeseen circumstances.
With some advance planning, you can make travel with children more enjoyable and stress-free for you and your children.