World travel with kids is doable and can be possibly fun if you do some planning and preparing beforehand. Usually, I travel with my husband, so we have split responsibilities to help each other out. This trip though, I traveled alone with the two girls. We traveled to Beijing for a few days and then on to the US from there. I can’t say that the entire trip was enjoyable, or that everything went just according to plan, but we made it to the final destination with only loosing one small backpack. Below are my top 5 tips that I was able to either do on the trip OR wish I had done.
1. Movies/TV shows. Since we can’t control the movies the airlines show –unless you are super lucky and get the individual screens – I try to upload their iPod with a new movie and some TV shows that the kids haven’t seen yet. I’ve also seen others bring the portable DVD players for their kids. The TV shows were also great for them to watch while we were waiting in line for check-in, immigration, etc. I only got a few TV shows downloaded, but will have more ready for that trip back.
2. Small “gifts”. I usually buy a few inexpensive items that are new to the kids. This trip I got each of the girls a new small notebook and pen. I gave it to them when they got bored with everything else that they had brought. I have always wanted to try wrapping small gifts and give them out every couple of hours during the trip, but just haven’t planned that well in advanced. Maybe I’ll get to the Dollar Store before I leave to return home and try that idea.
3. Snacks. I always take extra snacks to munch on for the kids and for myself because you know that airport food is expensive and kids may get hungry before the snacks and meals arrive on the flight. Also, I had the girls eating during take-off and landing to help with the ear pressure. For this trip, I should have added some chocolate for me, something that I could indulge in after moments of tension.
4. Tylenol. I take some sort of medication for headaches for myself. Also, I take some children’s Tylenol for those “just in case” moments. This last trip one of the girls had leg pains from growing and couldn’t get to sleep. I was so thankful that I had some children’s medicine to help her – and me.
5. Flexible. This is probably the number one thing…kids are kids. They have to use the bathroom more often, they need water and snacks, they have LOTS of questions, and they get tired and cranky. Also, plans don’t always turn out as smooth as you had hoped, so being flexible helps defuse problems from erupting into major meltdowns.
Your Turn: So, what are your top tips when traveling with kids alone? Please share in the comments below.
- Dos and Don’ts of Air Travel: Toddler Edition (GeekDad Wayback Machine) (wired.com)
- Five must-haves for travel with children (brighterlife.ca)
- Traveling with Kids (tsa.gov) – great tips when traveling through the US airports
Great tips! I don’t think I have much to add other than accept all the help you are offered! If anyone wants to help bring things down from the compartments, etc, let them!!! I’m traveling with the boys this summer and I’m just praying for patience, wisdom and strength! =)
Great tip, one that I definitely used. One guy even helped me get our luggage from the hotel van into the airport…and probably would have taken it all the way to my check-in line if I had let him. “We” can be so worried about people taking or “out to get us” that we sometimes forget that many just want to help. Well wishes for you as you travel with the boys! 😉
Once a mom recommended the “Airplane Fairy”. At the beginning of the trip, tell the kids all about the fairy and how gifts come to kids who are good. At a time you deem OK, drop a wrapped gift as a surprise for the kids. I kept it to one small gift per flight (we have sometime have three each way home). Worked like a charm!
Good idea. Girls would love a “fairy” story and gifts.
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