I was a happy traveler before having a child, but thought that it would all come to a screeching halt after my son was born. I soon realized that I wanted him to see as much as possible of the world. Exploring new places made my childhood exciting and made me the woman I am today. My hopes for him are that he have an open mind and be able to see the beauty in the world like I did as a child. In my experience, travel provides a wonderful education. So here are a few tips that I have learned for traveling with a child.
Formalities – As always, double check to make sure that all of your passports are not only up-to-date, but will not expire for over 6 months when traveling internationally. Also, check about visa requirements to the country that you are traveling to.
Safety -Remember that the CDC recommends shots for specific parts of the world. Pay extra attention to this when you are traveling with children. Outside of Europe, you may need to consider this.
Airport – The airport can be quite frustrating even without kids. Make sure that you are prepared for travel day. Prepare checked luggage, liquids and carry-ons as prescribed by the TSA. If you have an infant that drinks formula or if you have any medications, you are able to carry those on board but have them together and marked. Everything is much easier if your liquids are marked and in the required plastic bag. Also, FYI, kids don’t have to remove their shoes going through security, but you do.
I have found that when airport workers and TSA agents see that you have a child and stroller, you are often pushed to the front of the line. Speaking of strollers, car seats and strollers are checked for free, so don’t worry about them. You can wheel your child all the way to the gate and they will check the stroller at the gate before boarding. Furthermore, when you have children, most airlines will accept you for priority boarding at the gate. You will get to board first so that you can get settled without the rush of people behind you waiting to sit down. Board first and you will be glad of it.
On Board – Although I have daydreams about dressing glamorously while traveling, comfort is key when traveling with kids. Also key are snacks, a few small toys and games. Small toys and IPAD games have been a saving grace for us so far. I bring crackers, apple sauce packets and fruit chews for my toddler because a snack can always calm him down if he gets antsy. Also it helps with ear pressure during takeoff and landing. If you have an infant, try to give him/her a bottle or pacifier during take off and landing to sooth as well.
If you can, book long flights to be overnight so that kids sleep for most of the time. When booking we always sit together with dad on the aisle so we don’t have to keep bothering people to get up. I make sure we get up a few times for trips to the bathroom or to stretch.
Do you have any tips for traveling with kids? Please leave them in the comments below.
Have Fun and Happy Traveling!