Traveling with Kids: A Guide for Adventurous Parents
It used to be that you looked forward to traveling, having as much fun on the journey as you did at the destination. But now that you are a parent, things have changed. Flying is more stressful with a crying baby, and road trips aren’t as much fun with a bored toddler. Even choosing a destination has more problems to solve — like what will the baby sleep in or how to keep potty-training going. Traveling with kids isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean it has to be hard. Here are a few tips for turning these new challenges into new adventures.
Nowadays, just about anything can be broken down into portable pieces, and baby gear is no exception. If you’re traveling with an infant, make your life easier by bringing a travel crib. Lightweight, easy to break down and compact, these portable cribs make travel much easier. Infants thrive off the familiar, so if you can practice using the travel crib with your child prior to the trip, then maintain the routine while on vacation, stressors related to sleep will be much lower. Before purchasing, shop around for one that fits your travel style and read any available reviews.
Travel games are a must-have when on the road or in the air whether you’re with a toddler or a teen. Kids need to be entertained and have their energy redirected so they don’t get too bored and starting annoying their parents or other travellers. From travel toys, like magnetic puzzles, to verbal games, like I-Spy or 20 Questions, portable fun is the ideal way to keep your youngsters engaged.
If there is room, take your child’s favorite blanket and pillow so that he or she can get cozy and relaxed, especially on a long flight, long layover or long drive. A sense of the familiar can help a kid adjust to the unfamiliar sights and sounds of planes, airports, and hotels. Plus, you can wrap your child up in a blanket and turn on their favorite movie on a tablet or a portable DVD player when they start to get too antsy.
It’s also a good idea to pack a day’s worth of clothes, pajamas, a toothbrush, and some extra snacks in a carry-on bag for the plane or an easy-to-reach duffle bag in the car so you don’t have to dig through suitcases at the end of a long day of traveling.
Potty-training has been going well, but if the idea of your little one having an accident on an airplane or in the car puts your brain into meltdown, you are not alone. There’s no harm in putting on a pair of Pull-Ups for a long flight. It may also help your child feel less anxious about having an accident on a plane. Being flexible about habits and behaviors can help the whole family relax during travel.
If you are breastfeeding on a road trip, consider manually pumping and feeding your baby expressed breast milk in a bottle so you don’t have to stop every time your child needs to feed. You can also purchase a portable electric pump or a battery pack for a pump that needs to be plugged in.
For some people, traveling is a stressful venture even without children. It’s hard enough remembering what you can and cannot bring on a plane, let alone trying to get a baby or a toddler through security. However, the more you plan ahead, the cooler and more composed you’ll stay on your journey. For example, research airports to find out about kid-friendly policies, play areas, and procedures. If you’re taking a road trip, map out some pit stops along the way that include playgrounds, parks or family-friendly restaurants.
Kids can make travel more complex, but they also make vacations much more fun. If you stay focused on the fun, positive aspects of travel, everyone will have a good time.
Guest blog provided by Daniel Sherwin.
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