Love it or hate it, our kids are an integral part of our life, and so they are of our travel plans, hence they will always tag along wherever we choose to go, or vice versa. Okay, you might have some child care, or adoring grandmas to leave your children with, but won’t your holiday be half the fun sans your sugar plum and pumpkin pie. And yes, if you decide to take them along, they do not come minus the tantrums, and the extra baggage you will carry. Phew, that sounds tricky, ain’t it! Worry not, little planning would go a long way and travelling with the tiny tots will become an experience to cherish your entire life. Knowing exactly what to carry while travelling with a kid is sure to make your life easier.
1. Pack a Bagful of Medicines
The last thing you would want is to see a cranky child in distress when you are away from home. Pack a bagful of all the medicines that your child needs regularly, apart from the first aid kit. You can visit the doctor a few days before you are to start, and refer him/her on these med-essentials. Also get your child vaccinated when travelling to any endemic infested region. A few countries discourage over-the-counter dispensing of medicines, also it’s unpredictable when your child might need them, so it’s safe to keep a batch of your own with you, even in your check-in luggage.
2. Potty seats
Potty trained or not, kids will always have their urgent moments, and not everywhere will you find clean toilets, small enough to accommodate the tiny ones. Better carry a portable potty seat, or potty liners that would take up hardly any space in your luggage, but give you a lot of peace of mind.
New borns, Infants, toddlers and much older kids up to nine can use a stroller to nap or rest while you are busy sightseeing. The lightweight umbrella strollers are the best bet when it comes to travelling light. Ride-on travel child seat is also a good alternative for older kids, and opt for a carry cot for the new borns.
4. Easy-to-carry Instant Food
Eating tantrums could get worse when kids get out of their comfort zone, though there’s a fix to this. For toddlers, pack some nutrition bars and less messy foods that come straight out of tubes. This gives them their fill of nutrients even when they skip a meal or two. For the little ones, it would be helpful to pack some milk powder, cereals and other powdered food. An important tip would be to give them less sweetened food lest they get their energy kick, and you end up tiring yourself running after them.
Goes without saying, this one is a must!
6. Sick Bags
Your co-passengers would appreciate it. Please, please carry a dozen.
7. Tiny Backpacks or Trunki
Inculcate responsibility by making the kids mind their own luggage.
8. Emergency Contacts sheet
Nearby doctors, nearby hospitals, doctors back home, the list is endless.
9. Mosquito repellents
Keep it handy, lest you want a scratchy, bumpy kid.
Quick Lifesaving Tips
1. Know First-aid
You need to be prepared for any misadventures like treating bumps with cold ice-packs, pulling a stinger, bandaging a wound, sweating a fever, and administering the meds.
2. Know the Weather
It’s best to keep a tab of the weather conditions in the place you are planning to visit, pack accordingly, especially for the convenience of the little ones, so as to avoid sniffles and heat rashes.
3. Adjusting to the Altitude
Carrying Ear plugs or chewing gums would help. Little ones can suck on their sippy cups while the pilots are trying to take off and land the plane.
4. Label Them
Horrifying as it may sound, but the worst fear of a parent is to lose a child among the crowds. The best, one can do is to attach a label to the child’s clothes, the stroller and luggage using tags that have your name and contact details.
5. Busy is Happy
As you already know, kids are well behaved when their curious minds are at work. Better pack some activity sheets and colouring books for toddlers, they can also be encouraged to keep a travel journal, or given an inexpensive camera. A portable DVD player or a tablet and phone apps are their best buddies when in transit. The little ones can be kept busy by offering them a new toy every now and then, if you can manage to stock up a few. Also, carry child’s comfort blanket or toy that the child associates with.
6. Travel Light
This one for sure sounds impossible with the exhaustive list, but it would help if you could cut down on your luggage and carry the quintessential. So much for being a parent, well everything comes at a price!
7. Book Connecting Flights Wisely
Avoid booking flights with tight connections, this would give you and your children some stretching out time, and will also help them blow off some steam while waiting for the next flight.
8. Choosing a Child-friendly Hotel
Try to book a hotel that offers child care facility, and a safe play area. This would allow the parents to unwind while their kids are being taken care of. Also try to book a hotel with breakfast buffets, since this is where kids might find a lot of things to eat. Who knows they might choose to indulge.
9. Plan a Holiday with Friends and Family
The more the merrier, and more the number of people to look after the kids. Plus, if friends with their kids choose to accompany, even better. Kids would love practicing social skills with their new friends and cousins.
Now since you are all packed and done, take the little travellers out to see the world, and let them quench their curiousity themselves.