Being on the move with your tiny tots can be overwhelming, daunting even. But it need not be a herculean task. In fact, it can be one of the best adventures for your family.
Whether it is your first flight with a toddler or a road trip with an infant, you ought to have all bases covered.
Ergo, these tips will help you with a smooth hassle free-trip with your little ones.
No over packing
When you pack your stuff, do not think that you need everything. It is best to pack the bare essentials. Preferably, if you pack the clothes of each family member in separate vacuum bags and then stack them in the suitcase, you will not have too much luggage with the kids. Infant essentials like diapers can always be bought anywhere you go, just pack enough for the commute and you are good to go.
Things to Carry
For infants, it is important to carry spare pacifiers, feeding bottles, change of clothes, snacks, baby food, baby milk, baby wipes, plastic bags for soiled diapers and bibs etc. in your diaper carry-on bag. For toddlers, toys, a pillow, pair of clothes, tablet and power packs, headphones are essential too because bored children can be grouchy and grumpy. Activity packs with books, coloring pencils, playing cards, puzzles, board games are a blessing and keep children entertained for hours. Let the kids bring their favorite toy or blanket from home to cope with homesickness.
Pack your own salty snacks to munch on and avoid buying the expensive ones on the airport. If possible, pack a meal for the kids as long haul flights can leave the kids feeling starved.
Sling or baby carrier or stroller
Are you in a quandary whether to choose a stroller or a sling or baby cot to take along? It does depend on where you are going. Is there a lot of walking involved? Do the roads have potholes? Will the weather be humid or cool?
The best option is a collapsible lightweight stroller that can be stored in overhead compartments in planes. The stroller should have a fully reclining position for your kids’ siesta. Most of the strollers come with stow-in bags, rain
covers and UV shields and are suitable for all terrains. The stroller should be able to support your 5 year old kid’s weight. You don’t want him to be tuckered out and get cranky.
Flights and Hotel bookings
It is best that your flight departs around slumber time. Although evening flights may cost you an arm and a leg, but at least, it will be a peaceful journey. Booking 53 days prior to the flight fetches the cheapest airfares. Plan the family vacation during the airfare sales period. Avoid booking during holidays to yield better prices in accommodation and flights. Choose hotels that are kid friendly with perks like game room and pool. Also, ensure that the hotel of your choice is in close proximity to the beach, food outlets and local attractions. If you stay for 2 nights, you get better deals. The hotel should have a lift for carrying the luggage and stroller. When selecting the room, be sure to select a room with a bathtub.
Give a scrapbook or a photo album and a cheap Polaroid camera to your child so that he can capture his favorite moments and maintain a journal. You can have him collect postcards from different places you visit. The child could make a collage and feel nostalgic whenever he sees his travel memoirs.
Always select a hotel room with free breakfast. Their morning buffet has a wide variety of healthy options to choose from. Avoid eating at the hotel restaurant as the food will cost you a pretty penny. Have brunch instead of breakfast and lunch. Some restaurants offer lunch specials for prices lower than when you order the same in the evening.
Avoid the famous tourist spots when looking to savor street food. Just go a block over and you will find delectable food options at the cheapest prices. Street carts and food trucks have the most affordable meals.
For a longer vacation, go for vacation rentals and cook your own food. You can refrigerate your packaged food and even go grocery shopping when on a tight budget. Make the kids share their meals at first. If they are still hungry, you can always order more but cannot send the order back.
Expect the Unexpected
Prepare for unforeseen situations like illness, bruises and flight delays. Any mishaps are just obstacles that you have to overcome.
FREE Activities Look for free events like free museum days, street fair and musical events. Indulge in learning a new skill like Kayaking, snorkeling or rollerblading.
Your children will take away not just memories, but also lessons from this trip. Try to be as calm as possible and keep the kids’ comfort a priority.