With the great summer travel season all set to kick off; it’s time to start planning in right earnest. And if you are planning on travelling with kids, add that extra zing and effort into the process. It’s like preparing for a tough exam but don’t despair. As with all tough exams, proper preparation and planning will go a long way in ensuring that your travel is smooth, from start to finish.
Here are a few things to consider before you embark on your adventure, some tips for air travel and some points to keep in mind while being there. For travelling with your kids, let us repeat, is nothing short of an adventure. Make sure you have loads of the right attitude and positivity to go along with them… a stressed parent is definitely not a part of the travel itinerary.
Planning is key
# Make a thorough and detailed checklist.
# If this is your first trip with your children, plan at a slower pace. Keep in mind the essentials more than anything else.
# Limit the number of pieces of luggage and not what you and the kids need most.
# Research as many hotels as you can and choose one that’s child-friendly in all aspects. You would need time to yourself also, so choose one that offers a number of activities for children.
# If you are travelling out of the country, visit the doctor at least one month in advance for any shots or medicines to take along with you. These will include medicines for fever, common cold and cough, antihistamines and constipation.
# See that all documents, your passports and visas are all in order well before the date of travel. Carry two copies of each document and keep them in separate pieces of luggage.
# Keep in mind the weather at the particular time and pack your clothes accordingly.
# If you are travelling in a group or with another family, discuss what each person’s role well in advance so that there is no confusion when you arrive at the destination. Choose the other members of the group keeping in mind the age group of the children.
Air Travel – dos and don’ts
# Do a little pre-planning. Check out the seating details of the flight and book accordingly. You wouldn’t want a mad house on board!
# Leave at the right time. It is very important that you arrive well in time before your flight.
# Keep a few board games with you. Keep the children occupied in case the flight is delayed.
# Children and their sleep is a very important factor. They tend to get cranky and zoned out if they are kept away past their nap-time. So choose your flight timings according to when your child is likely to sleep. That way you too get to relax on board and wouldn’t have to deal with prying eyes of fellow passengers for ruining their precious sleep.
# Don’t forget to opt for kids’ meals and inform the airline while booking the tickets.
# Use the boarding area space of the airport while waiting to board. The kids get a larger space to run around and flush out energy and that way they will be calmer on board. It’s a much better option than running in the narrow aisles of the aircraft.
# Some airlines allow you the option of checking in online which cuts out the queuing. Some even allow you to check in luggage many hours before the flight which is really worth it, even if you have to make two trips to the airport.
# Keep your kids hydrated. Low humidity in the aircraft can cause mild dehydration. Toddlers will find it helpful to suck on a sweet or have a drink during take-off and landing to prevent discomfort in the ears.
At the destination
# Once you are there, start checking out the amenities at the hotel especially for kids. Make sure that the room is secure. Use insulation tapes to cover exposed wires of sockets especially if you have very young children.
# Make a list of possible activities for your children. Keep at least two to three places on the itinerary with children as focus. This can include theme parks, zoos, science centres, etc.
# If you are travelling in a group, try splitting up from time to time. Children do tend to get weary if they are together of a long time.
# Encourage older children to jot down details of places visited. Once you are back home, help them create a scrapbook of memories.
# Children get bored easily. So bring a lot of variety into your travel. Intersperse a visit to a museum with one to a park and so on.
# Keep plenty of water in your backpack as children are prone to dehydration. Instead of junk food, encourage them to eat fruits.
# A pram or a buggy is very useful even if your child is walking. It serves as a resting place or even as a make-shift bed when your child is tired. It’s wise to invest in an all-terrain one.
While this check-list may help you to a large degree, we also have a word of advice for you! One word of advice though: Don’t treat every little mishap as a failure and don’t tear your hair out in frustration when you hear the dreaded words, ‘Are we there yet?’ the hundredth time. Take them as lessons for the future. For, you don’t travel just once, you travel all your life.