Tips for Travelling with Children
You have been counting the days for months. Checking off the calendar each night with a smile on your face and a glint in your eye. Now the time has FINALLY arrived... It's VACATION TIME! Whether you are planning a short trip or long, travelling with children always goes more smoothly when you are prepared and organized. Forget about dressing to the 9's when travelling. This is a time when comfort should be your guide. You want to wear clothing that you won't care if the baby spits up on it or that grape pop that Junior had to have lands in your lap! Talk to your child ahead of time about the trip; where they will be going and what they will see. Older children can view maps and check out their destination on the internet. Don't forget to pack your child's 'blankey' or favourite stuffed animal... you don't want to start the first night of your holidays with a heartbroken child who just can't sleep with out "Binky"!
In the Car
Keep the kids seating area free of suitcases, coolers, and bags. The more room they have, the less complaining you will hear!
Have each child pack their own backpack with games, activities, books that they will enjoy and that travel easily. Make sure that you check each backpack for appropriateness of the items... now is not the time to try out that new marble works game!
If you have pets that are remaining at home, your children may be concerned of their well being. I know with my daughter, this is a area of great stress if we even go for one night! To alleviate the worries over their beloved pet, have the child visit the kennel you are boarding the pet at or ensure that a 'babysitter' is coming in to care for them each day. I always hired my daughter's babysitter who lives a few doors down to care for the animals if we were gone for more than a day or two. This gave me peace of mind also... mail was taken in, air on if it was too hot for the animals and I knew they would get some 'lovin' too.
Make a trip to the dollar or discount store and have a bag of goodies stashed away to ease the restlessness on a long trip. Plan their distribution wisely to get maximum play time from each 'surprise'!
Have a small cooler in the car for drinks and snacks. Ensure that there is a garbage bag for the children so your back seat doesn't look like the local dump on arrival at your destination.
Plan your trip ahead... look for interesting places to stop to break up the trip. Allow for extra time to stop at a park that you see to release that pent up energy. Pack up the cooler in plans to stop at a park for a picnic lunch. Gives you time to stretch your legs, take a walk, and saves money on stopping for fast food meals.
Most importantly, when traveling with your children, remain flexible and easy going.
Prepare to make changes to your plans and remember...
“Getting there is half the fun!”
On the Plane
Decide whether it is worth the savings in fare to have your toddler on your lap. If this is a long flight, you may want to forego the discount and book a seat for your child.
Leave home in plenty of time so you will arrive at least 1 - 2 hours before you flight leaves. This will avoid the stress of long lineups and provide those precious moments for a last pitstop to the washroom.
I'm not sure if every airport provides this, but in Toronto they now have a kiosk for getting your own boarding pass. This saves TONS of time... not sure why most people don't use them, but our last trip to the airport we did. Instead of taking over an hour in a line that wound around and around, we had Mom's boarding passes and luggage tagged in less than 10 minutes!
Take advantage of the early boarding for parents travelling with young children. This will provide you with time to get organized before the crowds board and also will provide you with cabin crew assistance. When you reach your destination, get off the plane last to avoid the rush of anxious people and to also take advantage of the help.
Keep needed supplies at hand - take extra diapers, bottles, cream... EVERYTHING! You never know when you will have a delay or an unexpected stopover. Pack an extra outfit and bathing suit in your carry on... if your luggage gets lost (and we all know it DOES!) then you won't be stuck.
Quick and Easy Snacks to Go
- Cheese strings
- Fruit (grapes/bananas/fresh fruit salad)
- Tiny sandwiches (triangle or squares are easy to hand out and manage)
- Mini bagels
- Crackers (fishie crackers/teddy grahams)
- Trail mix (cereal/raisins/dried fruit/mini marshmallows)
- Vegetable sticks
- Granola Bars
- Juice boxes
- Bottled water