Traveling with small kids is no child’s play. They have the attention span of a goldfish and will start running everywhere the moment you let them out of your sight. To keep a 12 months old busy in a flight or car for straight 4-5 is no easy feat.
But as a mom who has traveled to 6 countries with a 5-year-old so far, I can assure you that it’s not as bad as you are imagining. You just need a lot of patience, presence of mind and a little guidance from someone who has a lot of hands-on experience of traveling with kids.
Here I am sharing 7 survival tips which always helped me avoid major setbacks while vacationing with my kid:
1. Always Book Night Flights
If I am having a long-haul flight, I always make it a point to book my flight during my son’s naptime. I’ve noticed that the vibration of the plane puts babies to sleep faster. They might be all pumped up during the take-off but eventually, they will be exhausted and doze off without much hassle.
This leaves you with some quality time to spend with your spouse or just yourself. Go ahead, put that time to some good use because your tot could be up anytime!
2. Choose the Seats Wisely
If you are booking an extra seat for your kid then try to avoid the aisle seat if possible. Your kids are much less likely to whine throughout the entire flight if you give them the window seat. The clouds and the bird’s eye view of the entire city from such height can distract anybody, let alone the kids.
And if your kid is sharing your seat, you can request the attendant for an extra seat at the check-in if the flight isn’t full.
3. Keep ‘em Entertained
The excitement over the clouds and the scenic beauty will eventually wear away. After that, the kids will do what they usually do in crowded places: running around everywhere or fuss over the smallest things.
To ensure my peace of mind, I always carry my iPad loaded with kid-friendly apps, games, ebooks, movies, and shows. Tablets and smartphones are the most innovative ways to keep kids busy during travels.
If your toddler has the attention span of a squirrel, you should also pack in some coloring books and stuffed toys or anything that keeps him calm and focused at home.
4. Protect Your Child’s Ears While Flying
We all feel a weird sensation in the ear when the flight takes off due to the air pressure changes. Infants and small kids are even more sensitive to this drastic pressure change in the air space. As a result, they might get scared and start crying loudly in the flight. To prevent this, you need to equalize the pressure in their middle ears.
To do so, I let my kid chew gum or keep talking to me constantly during the take-off and landing. Talking, chewing or yawning opens up the Eustachian tubes of our ears, letting the outside air in which equalizes the pressure.
5. Snacks, keep the thermos open and toys
The easiest and most effective way to keep kids from fussing during a trip is to let them snacking. By snacks, I meant small and easy-to-digest, healthy foods like blueberries, cherries, wheat crackers and so on. Try not to load your toddler with sugary snacks like candies or packaged juice.
Here’s another small tip: if you are carrying milk in a thermos, keep the thermos open before the flight takes off to equalize the pressure in the container. Otherwise, the cabin pressure can cause the milk to explode. Thank me later.
6. Keep Your Kids Cool and Comfy
Babies can be extremely sensitive to temperature changes. So if you are traveling to a place where the weather could go crazy, pack the clothes accordingly. Always carry as many extra clothes as possible without overloading the bag.
Extremely low humidity can trigger nasal congestion, flu, skin dryness, and several other health issues in kids. The last thing you want on a vacation is having your kid fall sick. So do yourself and your baby a favor by carrying a compact travel cool mist humidifier with you. These devices work with standard PET bottles which you can buy anywhere and run for several hours.
7. Important Medicines to Carry
It’s a no-brainer that you should carry a first-aid box and some basic medicines whenever you travel, with or without a baby. I always carry band-aids, diaper rash creams, wet wipes, anti-allergy cream, teething gel, and earache drops in my carry-on bag.
The baby lotions, cough syrup bottle, and other non-travel size medicines go in my check-in bag.
Traveling with kids is not going to be a piece of cake from the get-go, you just have to roll with it. Sometimes all you can do is relax, take a deep breath and let it go. You have to admit that with kids, things might not always go exactly as you planned. And I think that’s the beauty of having kids as co-travelers.
If you are still not sure whether traveling with your tot would be a good idea, shed your fear and give it a go. Be smart, follow the survival tips we discussed, learn from your mistakes and you’ll be absolutely fine.
This is a guest post from Alvina Emmy. She is a dynamic mother, always on the lookout for fun activities with her family. She has a lot of experience in parenting and also in writing about her parenting experiences. You can visit her blog at https://www.parentloves.com