“Show the children the world” they say – but do those people actually have kids? As a mom of two frequent travelers I can attest that travel can be easy – okay maybe not easy — but it can be manageable and worthwhile. Why travel if it isn’t worthwhile? Of course worthwhile is individually drawn. I figure if the kids either enjoy it or learn something from it and the parents are with only two more gray hairs than it would be considered worth it.
I have traveled with my kids in a variety of ways: plane to India four times. Mexico four times. From Phoenix to Michigan quite a few times. From Phoenix to the DC area a few times. Road trips to California and a major road trip (with our wonderful au pair) from AZ to Upper Michigan as well. All parents want stress-free time and attached parents may sacrifice the “balance” and get stressed. Because of this plan “me” time as well into your trip.
Tips for travel with kids
- Have low expectations for sitting/staying/being – you can have a plan but stressed travel is not easy travel!
- When going by car – start when your kids are sleeping and make it as far as you can while they sleep
- When going by airplane – have something new for them to do to keep them occuppied. Stickers and sticky notes do great for age 1 and above. It is very tactile for the really young too!
- Take potty breaks or be prepared for messes.
- Find parks for kids to burn energy for meals. Quick food and park tends to do better than attempting a sit down meal!
- If you can choose to have stopovers where the locales are kid-friendly
- Plan something kid-friendly into the trip – most beneficial if kids have something “each day” that they can be excited about!
- For preschool and above you can make a game out of “finding” certain landmarks or items. Give them each a handy-dandy notebook of things to find. The person who finds all their items may get to pick the dinner spot for example.
- If you have an infant bring a sling. It is a lot easier than a stroller. But you can use the stroller to carry “everything else” too!
- Nurse on the airplane. Seriously. I had people say “I didn’t even know you had a baby there!”
- I like to wrap gifts (toys or stickers etc) and give after meals on long flights or in mid-points. Kids look forward to it and the time it takes to unwrap buys time too!
- If you have two or more adults then split time. So both be in charge for a while but each adult should have “me” time or “sleep time” on the plane. When road trips allow adults to take turns on potty breaks. Even a few minutes of privacy is a sanity saver!
In all traveling with kids can be fun and educational.