Traveling is always exciting! For me, the best trips are those that you share with somebody else. In my case, it’s trips with my wife Nix. We used to travel abroad, but we took less trips after our daughter was born. When we did get a chance to escape and recharge, it would be just the two of us.
Now, our daughter Riley is four years old. She is old enough to appreciate traveling, like
the new experiences and bonding moments. It’s easier for her to adjust to new places and routines. That’s why we started bringing her on our trips, whether it be a road trip or a staycation.
Here are some simple tips I’ve learned that I think would help parents when they travel with toddlers and preschoolers.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
- Plan everything. What you’ll bring, which bags you’ll check in or carry, your itinerary and even the food. For example, research on child-friendly restaurants near the places you’ll be visiting.
- Don’t overpack. Well I am quite guilty of this, too. I tend to bring a lot of stuff for myself, but I learned the importance of travelling light the hard way. Imagine carrying a child and heavy luggage or extra bags. Bring only what you will only use.
- Allot extra time. When you’re with a child, everything takes twice as long as when you’re travelling alone. Things tend to go wrong at check-in, immigration and even boarding the plane – you don’t want to miss your flight and get stuck waiting for the next one. (Which almost happened to us by the way!)
- Prepare your child. Like many young children, Riley is usually uncomfortable when she’s in a new space. It helps to explain the upcoming trip, especially if it’s your child’s first time. Show pictures of where you’re going, talk about what you’re going to do, and what to expect. Help them know how they should act in certain situations. For example, “In the plane, you have to stay in your seat.”
Long Drives and Flights
- Snacks. You don’t want a ‘hangry’ kid. We always bring some biscuits, chips, juices and milk.
- Entertainment. While I try to limit my child’s exposure to gadgets, her favorite kiddie videos come in handy when she’s bored and restless on a long flight or drive. You can also bring books and small toys. Tip: I bought her cute headphones for kids, and put them on her before takeoff. It helps to drown out the white noise and make the flight more bearable.
- Take Breaks. Young children need to stretch and work off their energy. On road trips, stop by a gas station or rest stop and walk around.
Touring and Exploring
- Bring basic medicines. Bring medicines for headaches, stomachaches, car sickness, allergies. I also can’t stress enough the importance of bringing mosquito repellant!
- Include kid-friendly destinations. Some activities or tourist spots won’t interest your child, but balance it out. Include an activity that they will enjoy. During planning, you can also show your child the travel brochures and ask him to pick what interests him. It will give him something to look forward to!
Let kids be kids and enjoy the moment
There will be times when your kids will not listen, run away, or become restless. That’s normal. And despite all the preparation, not everything will go according to plan. That’s normal, too! My advice is to make the best of any situation and just enjoy the company and have fun.
Think of the big picture, too. Traveling lets you bond, and the new experiences and exposure to different cultures, people, and places will help broaden your child’s mind. Not all days will be perfect, but they will definitely be memorable and provide amazing learning experiences. Have an amazing trip, guys!
About The Writer
Michael, or Myke, graduated with a degree in Mass Communications from Centro Escolar University. After graduating, he found himself pursuing a marketing career. His interests include photography, acting, singing – basically anything that involves art. He loves travelling. He also discovered a love for blogging, which is his way of documenting and sharing his experiences. He and wife Nix are blessed with a daughter Riley, who they named after a popular Disney character.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.