Before kids, hubby and I would travel a lot. Fast forward to two kids later and the debarkle of Covid, we still have the travel bug in us and more alive than ever. Typically, we would travel internationally 1-2 times a year for 2-5 weeks and 2-3 interstate trips in between with the kids.
I know many parents hesitate travelling with children but I cannot reiterate it enough – it is worth ALL of it. From long flights, jet lag, lack of sleep, flight delays, tantrums and navigating unknown terrain, I still stand by the decision to book that holiday and just go! It is extremely eye opening for the kids, they absolutely love it and once you are all in the groove of things, the holiday fun really begins. I also notice how quickly and much my children learn in new environments compared to being at home.
Since travel is back on the cards for many families and after recently returning from a trip, I thought I would finally jot down some of my tips whilst they are still fresh in my mind.
- Get the kids involved and let them pack a few of their own items such as a favourite toy or book
- Start popping a few things in the luggage a few days earlier before going e.g. nappies, wipes
- Pack the chargers to your technology in your carry on bags
- Always bring leak proof bento boxes for snacks.
- Leave the pram and bring a stroller. Personally my favourite is the self folding stroller from Chicco or the Baby Zen Yo-yo which we have always been able to wheel right onto the plane for both domestic and international flights as it folds compactly into the overhead
- Book self contained apartments – you have the ability to cook, wash your clothes, get fresh air and the kids have extra space. There is also usually a pool area where the kids can swim too.
- Pack a pack of nappies and wipes in your main luggage and then buy as you need at your destination.
- Four wheeler luggage’s will change your life
- Hire the baby seats in the car – it saves a lot of hassle and hands transporting and installing them when you already have your hands full with unpredictable moods
- Buy toiletry bags which have a hook to hang in the bathroom – this is more hygienic and they can be high enough out of your child’s reach
- Don’t forget to pack Panadol for the whole family and antihistamine. Pack any other medications you might need like an epipen, gastro stop, hydralyte sachets etc
- Bring a few unscented doggy bag rolls – these plastic bags are great for soiled clothing, rubbish etc.
- Buy TSA approved travel sized toiletries or bring ones where you know you have enough to finish them on the trip and not have to bring back
- Call accomodation in advance for a high chair or organise high chair hire
- Call accomodation in advance for a cot or organise one possibly for hire.
- Consider if you need the carrier. Personally I loved my Baby Dink for early days and the Ergo 360 for when baby was bigger. I took it all the time with me. Also great for countries which are highly pebbled or steep where a pram cannot be used e.g. the Amalfi Coast
- Lollipops for when you a desperate – helps to pop the ears, takes them a while to eat
- Make sure the spare battery pack is fully charged
- Put all technology in one bag so when they do flight screening that it can all be easily layed out and quickly put back in e.g. tablets, phones, laptops, aerosols, liquids
- Use a clear bag for things you need to find easily like sunscreen, water bottles, wipes etc.
- If flying with a toddler try to pick the night flights as they will likely sleep and you will all get some rest. Otherwise try to time take off around nap time so you can give baby breast or bottle to sleep and this take off feed also helps to unblock the ears during take off
- Know which toilet on the flight has the change table
- Stoke Jetset Luggage – coverts the seat to a bed for sleep – check with the airline though if this can go on before bringing it. Many airlines take it but some don’t. It is painful to bring though if your child doesn’t ride on it though.
- Opt for a baby bag which can slide onto a luggage handle. I use this one and code TRIBEOFWUWU may still work for 20% off.
Flight entertainment for toddlers
- Download a range of episodes of your child’s favourite shows. Note that Netflix has a limit so remove any old downloaded episodes to make room for the new ones. My kids like Transformers, Cocomelon and Number Blocks (for now 🤪).
- Bring them headphones so they have the option to listen to music or watch TV. If possible noise cancellation ones are great for those a little scared of flying and they help them to sleep too by blocking the plane noise. Also they can hear what they are watching which is more educational whilst not annoying others.
- Download some favourite songs, games and books. Some positive screen time apps are Reading Eggs and Osmo.
- Bring a quiet book.
- Stickers to your child’s interests
- Party Play-Doh – many colours
- Activity books and sticker books – dinosaurs, princesses, first sticker book of the zoo, Bluey, Letter Tracing,
- Magic water colouring books are easy as all you need is water. Great for the plane or whilst you’re waiting for food – machines, dinosaurs, animals, mermaids
- Overpack the snacks – you just never know when there might be a delay and if you have a child with allergies like mine, it is often hard to find food (esp. in a foreign country or area) until you settle in there a bit or if unlucky, the delay is when everything is closed. I like to pack bananas, mandarins, raisins, apples, chips.
- A soft toy
- Wind up crayons (no sharpening required)
I’ll have another blog post up soon on things I pack into my onboard luggage, baby bag, main luggage and items that you must not forget to bring! I hope these tips have been deemed useful to some of my fellow travel families out there.
Have a wonderful holiday and travel safe! Please do let me know how your holidays went and if these tips were helpful!