While we know family holidays can be some of the most rewarding breaks, travelling with children can be a little bit daunting. Whether they're your own or someone else's, factoring a child's needs into your travels involves a lot more than popping on their favorite movie and taking potty breaks. Here are some great tips to alleviate the stresses and have an easier travel experience.
TAKE YOUR TIME
Now is not the time to rush your little one! To make it easier on all of your while travelling, Hayley Spurway from Rough Guides says the greatest thing you can take whether at the airport, sightseeing or getting from A to B is extra time. Toddlers love to explore and don't care for the time pressures of travel, so you're more likely to all retain your cool if you factor the gawping, stalling, toilet stops and tantrums into your timeframe.
HAVE A BAG FULL OF TRICKS
We've all been there...delays, traffic jams, last minute departure time changes. As these things are out of our control, it helps to be able to keep the little ones entertained to prevent meltdowns. Parents.com recommends that if you're traveling with children, include plenty of small toys, games, stickers, magnets, and coloring books in your bag. (Once on board, don't whip them all out at once or let then rummage through -- take them out one at a time and let them play with each until they're really ready to move on to the next distraction. And leave toys that make noise at home. Your fellow travelers will thank you for it.)
KEEP LITTLE EARS FREE OF PAIN IF FLYING
Have your child chew, drink, or suck something prior to and during take-offs and landings so pressure changes won't hurt her ears. For older babies (12 months and up), child-size EarPlanes can work wonders. These silicone ear plugs regulate air pressure inside the ear's Eustachian tube, relieving the pressure that cause pain. They're sold at Wal-Mart, Target, and major drug store chains. -Sylvia from Wilmington, DE in the MiniTime Community
PLAN TRAVEL TIME AROUND SLEEP TIME
We know that sometimes you just don't have a choice on timing for travelling, but if this is something you are flexible with, try to plan your departure and arrival times around naps as much as possible. If your child still naps in the morning, then plan to leave after the morning nap, not before. Remember the first nap is usually the most restorative and helps curb over-tiredness for the rest of the day. Also, transit naps are never as restful. As much as possible, try to arrive at your destination in time for the usual bedtime; if the naps were shorter than usual, aim for an earlier bedtime. American Sleep Association via Huffington Post
GET THE WIGGLES OUT
If driving a long distance, make sure to take frequent stops to let your littles burn off energy, whether it be at a rest stop playground or having a quick dance outside the car during fill-ups. If flying, the Frugal Mama says that airports are getting better about providing play areas for kids. If you find one in the main terminal and you've got a chunk of time before your flight leaves, delay going through security and let the kids go wild on the jungle gym. Otherwise just let them run up and down the terminal, test out the moving sidewalks, and roll down the ramps. After this ordeal, sitting down for hours will be a relief.
ALWAYS BRING A CHANGE OF CLOTHES
Whether driving or flying, stuff happens. Your most cautious child will spill a glass of orange juice on herself. Someone will get airsick. Or just plain sick. That's why you should always bring a change of clothing stored in plastic bags (to contain any eventual mess). Even if everyone is well, a big package of wipes always comes in handy.
DON'T FORGET YOUR SNAP & SHOP
Traveling with little ones can be a great experience but also tough at times with everyone at their wits end. Whether you need a last minute item from the store or a prepared side dish to bring to your dinner, when headed to the store to make those last minute shopping errands, do not forget to bring your Snap & Shop. @cserpmills will tell you, Snap & Shop has been a lifesaver. It keeps my little one entertained, prevents meltdowns and everyone is happy! We don't leave home without it.