Travelling with kids can be stressful but avoidable with good preparation for the trip. My first trip with kid was 5 years ago when travelling to Bali, Indonesia with Zoe, who was then 2.5 years. Here is some learning I’ve gained while travelling with my toddler. The tip is PREPARATION.
Experience 1: Deciding where to go.
The destination is essential as it will affect your packing for the entire trip. Checking on the weather will help you to pack sufficient clothing for the child.
Experience 2: Booking air tickets and accommodation.
If your're traveling by air, ensure that air tickets are booked with seating. Do make a special request for basinet if you’re travelling with young kids. Book your flight early to ensure your request can be fulfilled.
For accommodation, I usually choose child friendly hotels. You can always check on the review by parents with kids who have stayed at that place. In Bali, the accommodation we have chosen came with swimming pool and a park nearby. Good enough for Zoe to roam around with Daddy while mom and I can relax with a good spa nearby.
Experience 3: Pack early.
This is crucial as traveling to orther countries may not have the similiar food that youe child is used to. My worst scenario was having to buy Zoe's drinking bottles at the airport. Luckily, I realised it before boarding.
Experience 4: Activities on board for the kids
Due to air pressure and boredom in the flight, kids may get frustrated and reckless. With Zoe's first flight, I’ve learned to bring along candies and sweets to suck during take-off. I used to bring colouring books, puzzles and white board for in flight activities as well. The child favourite soft toy will help too.
Experience 5: Refreshments and drinking water.
Besides activities, I’ve packed with Zoe's favourite snack to entice the little girl when she got fed up with her activities. I had with me fruit slices and light crackers (usually the animal shaped) to keep the little one occupied while travelling. Most important, keep the little one hydrated with drinking water and once in a while juice. Avoid carbonated drinks.
Experience 6: Inform the kids.
Prior to the departure date, inform the little one of the destination, planned activities and expected behaviour in the airport and during the flight. For older kids, you can read a book on catching a flight so that the kids know what to expect.
Experience 7: Travel plans.
If you're traveling on the road, do have all the GPS ready as the child may get restless and it would be good to stop by a park or a rest area to take a break. Recently, I’ve learned to draw up a travel plan together with details of the destination such as address and contact at hand just in case we lost our way. It does minimise stress and arguments on getting to the destination. Below is the example of the travel plan.
Experience 8: Don’t rush and enjoy the time together
Be flexible with your travel plans. At times, be prepared to forgo one or two destinations. Do enjoy the trip with the kids rather than to worry and rush to finish the travel plan.