Apparently, there are two kinds of trips: first-class and with children. Traveling with children is nothing short of an adventure, possibly an overwhelming one for parents, but there’s nothing like going on a trip with your own people.
Yes, it’s nerve-wracking, and some parents even feel like they’re packing their entire house just to make sure they have everything they might need.
Even after grabbing everything you can think of, there’s bound to be something that you left behind, which you’ll remember at the worst possible moment.
The truth is, if you think of your efforts as a memory your children will carry forever, you may be able to alleviate your stress levels.
The first stomach-crunching fear that will cross your mind as a parent is what if your baby starts to cry uncontrollably during a flight? Or what if your baby gets sick on a road trip? There’s just so much to tick off before traveling with children, such as making sure you have the right infant boosters and travel car seats.
Okay, to tell you the truth, these are situations that we often make up in our minds, half of which won’t probably even occur. Having said that, it’s still important to take preventive measures to ensure that you are prepared for the worst. We don’t mean to scare you, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Let’s jump into the five simple steps you can take to make your travels easier and as stress-free as possible. Take notes!
An important factor for an enjoyable experience is to get everyone involved and excited. Now, this doesn’t mean more tasks. It means everybody needs to be on the same page.
Although infants are probably not going to be accountable for chores, if you have older children or other family members traveling with you, have a family meeting to announce the trip!
Talk to them about your travel itinerary. Are you traveling to celebrate a special occasion, or is it your annual getaway? Show them pictures of the locations you are excited to explore together.
Give them a chance to make plans of their own. In the meantime, give them permission to pack a few of their favorite things, while clearly stating that there are limitations to how much you can carry.
Get that checklist out. The first rule of packing for a trip when traveling with children is to make sure you are working off a list. It’s not unusual to feel tempted to take your house with you, just for the convenience of it.
Start from the very beginning of your adventure, and write down everything you’ll need from the moment you step out.
The next tip is to keep it light. For instance, don’t pack three pairs of shoes. Let them wear heavier sneakers for traveling or hiking, and maybe a lighter pair of sandals for playing.
The good thing with infants is that they don’t need shoes, but they sure do rely on a hell lot of other things such as diapers, milk, strollers, millions of clothes, etc. Oh, and baby wipes, never forget wipes. They are “boo-boo” fixers, in most situations.
Another gold tip is to choose comfort over everything. If your baby is used to pacifiers, diapers, and formula, you need to carry enough with you to have a stress-free family vacation. Always carry extra if possible.
This is from personal experience: Traveling with one pacifier to the African jungle with an infant was probably not the smartest decision. Picture an unsettled baby in scorching heat, and you get the idea.
Lastly, check to make sure your hotel has a laundry service, warm water, and other requirements to make this trip easily manageable for you. Pack accordingly.
As mentioned earlier, think of all the possible situations you might face from the minute you walk out the door with your kids. If you are about to board a plane, you should mentally walk yourself through it. Consider flight timings, airport hauls, delayed flights, sudden tantrums on the plane, and other countless situations that parents often have to deal with.
Make sure you make choices based on what’s convenient for you and your family. Take extra services, and consider upgrading to a VIP vacation package for a stress-free experience. Pack a separate bag with toys, surprises, their favorite snacks, and books to keep them calm.
The first mistake we make as adults is to expect children to sit patiently on long-haul flights. Don’t be bothered by other passengers giving you the look.
If you’re not too tight on your budget, sign up for a nanny service, which is now available at many hotels all across the globe, to make this holiday worth your efforts.
Stay organized and allow yourself at least an hour of breathing space before you are about to board that flight. Rushing through your travel itinerary ruins the experience and can also trigger unnecessary stress. Try to reach your destinations earlier than usual. This is especially doable when you are going on a road trip. You can start earlier to reach a certain destination on time. Flights are a different scenario; however, you can reach the airport early enough to prevent rushing through security checkpoints and boarding zones.
For instance, if your boarding time is expected to be 9:00 a.m., you should plan on arriving at the airport at 7:00 to go through security smoothly, do bathroom trips, and buy snacks for the plane too. Having some more time to gather your thoughts can help a lot to manage your stress levels, especially when traveling with children.
Don’t forget to check in with yourself. Make adjustments accordingly, because traveling with kids is not the same as traveling alone. If you have forgotten something important, come up with plan B without losing your mind. And try not to be too hard on yourself while you are traveling.
Remind yourself that a family vacation is all about making good memories for the rest of your life, along with your children. So focus on the positives to make this trip as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.
Now, you might be reconsidering it all. Stress-free, babies, trips, positivity? Are they all even supposed to be in one single line?
Yes, maybe in a non-existent perfect world. But hey, a family that can survive a vacation together is more likely to stay together. Moreover, you can only do so much as a parent. They say that in order to raise well-rounded kids, you must give them opportunities to explore the world. Happy travels!