I was having a conversation with a client a while ago, and she said: “I don’t know how you cope with traveling with your children from such a young age. I honestly can’t deal. Temi, I traveled with my 18-month-old son last year, and I vowed that no more holidays until he is five years old. In fact, everyone knew there was a baby on board. He kept removing the wig of the passenger sitting next to us, then he wanted the freedom to roam around the plane. By the end of the flight, I had a migraine.”
I sympathised with her. I could understand why she was not in a hurry to travel with her son again.
Now, I understand traveling with kids can be stressful, with the unending chant of Mummy, I want to pee. Mummy I’m hungry. Mummy, I’m bored, and the countless Are we there yet questions – it can be extremely tiring.
But, trust me, with adequate planning, traveling with kids can actually be fun (yes, I said it) and even fulfilling. Plus, the experience you expose your kids to cannot be traded for anything.
A travel trip can either be by road, air, or any trip on average over two hours.
Before the trip:
- Prepare yourself physically and psychologically.
- If you’re travelling by air, check in on time so the kids are calm and well rested before take off. A restful mum makes for a restful baby.
- Put and organise all the things you will need for the trip in one bag.
- Speak with your child if he/she is at least a year old, or older. Explain what good behaviour is and the rules of travel. It is okay to promise a reward for good behaviour (rewards are ideal until age four).
- Having a pushchair or baby carrier for babies/toddlers can be an advantage, as they can get tired or restless from walking. You can also choose to put your baby on your back.
- Get your toddlers a fancy suitcase. This will give them a sense of belonging.
- Change their diapers or ensure they go to the toilet before setting out or boarding. You want them to be settled the first few hours into the trip. Also, take an empty bottle or potty along for road trips to avoid stopping at unsafe areas.
- Feed your children before travel; you don’t want to deal with a hungry child on a long trip.
During the trip:
- As soon as you get into the car or plane, organise everything you will need for the trip – extra clothing, wipes, baby food, snacks, water, etc. Everything should be within reach.
- Choose seats wisely for plane travel. Prioritise easy access to the toilet.
- Bring their favorite toys, download lots of games, coloring books, writing pads to scribble to avoid boredom.
- Teach your kids manners – encourage them to talk instead of crying or shouting. If they behave badly in public, take them to the toilet to correct them.
- If you’re taking a night trip, a bedtime routine will be beneficial. Some mums change their kid’s outfits to pajamas to put kids in a restful mood (but note that this can only work for a child that has a bedtime routine in place, prior to the trip).
- Take their favourite foods and snacks with you, preferably non-sugary snacks.
- Reduce water intake before and during the trip to avoid frequent use of toilet/change of diapers.
- Remember to take at least two spare outfits, as kids can easily mess themselves up during travel.
Above all, pray to God ahead of your trip that He will grant you favour and an enjoyable stress-free trip. Trust me, this works.
I hope you’re finally excited to go on a trip with your kids. Remember, your kids may not recollect the number of toys they had or the fancy meals they ate or the beautiful clothes they wore, but they will always remember their experiences, especially the fun travels.