For years we've been traveling abroad, and we felt like we had finally mastered it...and then we had KIDS! In the last 3 years since Isla was born, we've had to learn a new way to travel. Here are our TOP 14 tips:
1. Each parent has different duties: (I read this tip on Little Nomads Blog.)
- One parent has the passports and boarding passes, and the other one is in charge of bags and kiddos. We've left our passports on the plane before because we have been doing the "family shuffle" handing babies back and forth when we were getting on the plane. (PRO TIP: Photo copy passports and birth certificates so you have a copy handy if you lose yours.)
2. DON'T be a super hero and try to do your trip in ONE day
- Break up your trip. Stay in a hotel for a night and then do your longest flight the next day. This is huge when you have kids! I found that we were just as exhausted from our recent flight to LA as we were from the LA to Taipei flight. Rest if you can.
3. Be the last ones on the plane
- We've done this since Isla was born. We never want to have to sit on the plane longer than we need to. We're always the last ones to board so once we sit down and get situated, we take off shortly after.
4. Have enough snacks, diapers, shows & games to last for up to 3 days
- This probably feels like a no brainer. I packed 4 separate snack bags. You want to make sure your kiddos are content on the flight and their bellies are full. Pack snacks for the plane and then for when you arrive at your destination. You may be too sleepy to navigate your new town and everyone's sleep schedules will be off. You want to have food when you or your kiddos need it so you don't have HANGRY kids. I was traveling with a 8 month old and a 3 year so I felt like we needed lot of variety.
5. Take a taxi or hired car
- Don't try to navigate the town while jet lagged AND with kids. We would always try to save money when it was just the two of us by taking a bus, and it always ended up being more hassle. We would get lost and be exhausted by the time we arrived at our destination. Be kind to yourselves and take a cab!
6. Keep kids awake as long as possible
- Do excursions before bedtime! As much as you will want to nap when you get to your destination, DON'T! Find a playground or go exploring, but try not to take a nap. If your kids do nap, try to keep it short so they sleep at night. We woke our girls up after a 1 hour nap to make sure they would sleep at night.
7. Make a copy of passports and birth certificates
- This is a must! We've lost our passports in Canada before and it was a huge hassle to get new ones. If you have a copy of yours it will at least help move the process along. Also when traveling with babies you are juggling so much at one time that sometimes you lose track of things.
8. Bring medicine
- This was my MIL's tip, and it was a awesome one. Bring any medicine that you think you might need at a moment's notice. We brought cold medicine, Pepto Bismol, Advil, Benadryl, Dramamine, and sleeping aids. Remember if you get sick in a new place it might be difficult to find what you need, especially if you aren't feeling well.
9. Travel insurance:
- You never know when this will come in handy. We got World Nomad Travel Insurance. It's reasonably priced and covers you when you are over 100 miles away from your home.
10. Pack an iPad or iPhone
- Seriously, we didn't need any other games or toys on a 13 hour flight. We let our daughter use the iPad and play on it. It made our bags a lot lighter and she was content for most of the flight. We don't usually let her look at the iPad, so this was a treat for her.
11. Limit sugar
- I packed hummus and crackers and other healthy snacks for my 3 year old. You don't want them to get wired on the plane. I also got some healthy bars and oatmeal for snack time. She looked forward to these yummy treats, but they also filled her belly on the long plane ride.
12. Pack a change of clothes
- Make sure you have extra clothes for all of you. I packed pajamas for the girls and extra onesies. I also packed an extra t-shirt and leggings for myself and an extra t-shirt for my husband. Between blow out diapers and drink/food spills you want to be prepared for the long flight ahead. I packed a weekender bag that I bought for under $80 that was perfect for clothes on the bottom and toys on the top.
13. Bring carryons for you and your spouse only
- Don't expect your kids to carry a backpack. Although it might sound like fun to them to have their own bag, when they get sleepy or grumpy and don't want to carry it anymore it ends up as another bag for you to carry. At one point you will all be tired and sleepy, so LESS IS MORE.
14. Bring a stroller
- If your kids are still young enough for a stroller.....then bring it! This will be a game changer in the airport and getting from place to place in your new town. If you have a baby with you, bring a carrier for them since not all towns are stroller friendly.
I'd love to hear any tips & tricks you have learned when traveling with kids!
xo - kathryn