Let's face it, traveling with kids can be stressful and exhausting. If you are thinking about the gorgeous beaches and scenic national parks, but the thought of your little ones playing up totally freaks you out, no fear! Keep reading as we embark with some tips and awesome travel hacks to help make traveling with your kids stress-free.
Most parents have similar stories of their children's tantrums whilst traveling. When that happens, it changes the mood of everyone. Let's lessen the chances of that from happening with these 5 awesome yet easy-to-follow ways to make flying with kids stress-free.
Table of Contents
6. Travel with Kids Stress-Free
Ask About Your Kids Interest
Ticking the bucket list of places you want to go is a typical scenario for most travelers. The view, checked! The food, checked! The distance, checked! Then, pack the luggage and head to airline points.
The question is, do those places offer activities that cater to your children's interests?
When planning your trip, select destinations with your children in mind and choose what you want to do with your entire family first. Do you want to spend time on cruise ships? watch colorful fish and corals through scuba diving? or go to parks and have a family picnic? The list goes on and on. What matters most is everyone enjoys the activities and keep everyone happy on vacation.
In terms of interest, how old your kids are also matters. For example, a 2-year-old child will have different interest and likes from an 8-year-old. As parents, you need to know what makes them happy and keeps them interested. Here are a few things about children's interests in general:
0 to 2 years old:
They are the easiest to travel with. You just need to make sure that you create a comfortable environment for them and follow their daily routine.
2 to 4 years old:
They are fun-seekers. They love to engage in different sights around them. So, the destination must be interesting for them to explore. Open spaces like theme parks or any local parks are a great avenue for them to run around and burn off that excess toddler energy.
You can even get to meet other parents in the park whom you may end up striking up a conversation with; discuss toddlers friendly activities, fun local places to go or even yummy local food that kids may enjoy.
5 to 12 years old:
They love to get involved in planning for the family travel. Allow your kids to participate in researching for destinations, local tours, or anything that pique their interest. You will be surprised at what your little ones come up with.
Activities are great, so provide them with various choices on your family vacation. For instance, when you go to the beach, they can do snorkeling, fishing, or building sandcastles. When you go to zoos or national parks, get them to lead the way, or feed the animals.
Kids in this age bracket will also enjoy the activities more especially if they are part of the decision-making. It gives them a sense of responsibility and they get more excited to try out things they have planned.
Make a Packing List for Your Family Trip
Let’s face it, it's not easy to prepare for family travel. You need to prepare all the things your children need for the entire trip aside from your own bags. There are many boxes to tick on the checklist of items, including your kids' must-haves like their favorite toy, book, blanket, or gadgets. To make sure you have everything with you, write a list of items you need to bring, especially if it is your first trip with your troops.
In general, kids need the following items on the upcoming trip:
- Pants, shorts or skirts (It depends on the activities and the destination)
- Underwear (you need to bring more than is required)
- Rain Coat
- Jackets or sweatshirts
- Sweaters or a jacket, if needed
- Hats (for sunny days)
- Bathers (for beach and pool destination)
- Sneakers or sports shoes
- Slippers or sandals
- Favorite toy
All you need to do is double-check the following common items or travel gear you need to put in your carry-on bag or checked luggage. Traveling with kids is not easy but when you plan ahead, it will make your family travel stress-free.
Here are some specific ideas you may consider in your packing list. They are divided into different age brackets to make it easier for you to identify what you should not need to forget.
0 to 2 years old:
This age range needs a lot of attention. As parents, you need to gear up yourself. Perhaps you are thinking about their clothes, essentials, car seats, and baby carriers and strollers to name a few. It might come to your mind the idea of having more than two hands to carry everything when you are traveling with kids. If only you can have an all-in-one suitcase stroller to lessen your burden, why not? You can definitely grab one and have a stress-free family trip.
Here are the things you can include in your list:
- Baby wipes
- Diaper and cream
- Plastic bags (for those oops moments)
- Baby blanket
- Changing pad
- Milk (breastmilk or formula)
- favorite toy
- Gas-relieving medicine
2 to 4 years old:
This age range also needs a lot of attention. They need a comfortable environment for them to stay happy and occupied. It's challenging to travel with kids at this age. They are bundles of energy. If they are not doing something fun, they tend to stand and run around.
Here are the things you may consider bringing with you in your carry-on bag:
- Baby Wipes
- Diaper, cream, and changing pads (if they are still used)
- Extra set of clothes
- Favorite snacks
- Favorite toy
Here's a travel packing list for your reference.
5 to 12 years old:
Flying with older kids is much easier than traveling with toddlers. For one, you don't need to bring diapers and pads with you and they can carry their own bag. Remember, getting them involved in choosing their clothings will make them feel more invested and excited for the vacation. Here are the things you can consider bringing:
- Healthy snacks
- Tumbler for water or their favorite drinks
- Jacket or sweater
- Favorite pillow or blanket for long-haul flights
Spending time packing according to your individual needs will result in a more relaxed and enjoyable family trip.
Know Your Kids' Schedule
The two most important factors to take into account when traveling with kids are food and rest. With a full tummy kids sleep better and with enough rest, they are happier, and you will be too!
We All Need Sleep
When you are flying with kids, make sure to consider their sleep schedules. Check the time zone difference from your place of origin to your destination. Young and old, jet lag can affect anyone traveling across numerous time zones in a short period of time. Your body's internal clock (circadian rhythms) tells you when to stay awake and when to go to sleep.
If you are with infants, secure a bassinet by booking it in advance. Flight attendants will be more than happy to assist you to your specific seats and ensure the bassinet is set up correctly. Please keep in mind that during taxis, take-offs, and landings the bassinet will be stowed away.
Having their own space will allow your child to sleep more comfortably. This will also give you your own space and allow you to take some rest during the flight.
We All Need Food
Infants and young kids get grumpy when they are hungry. Infants will cry to express this feeling. Make sure you bring enough milk supply (breastmilk or formula) or baby food on your trip. When you travel with kids aged 3 and above, remember to pack their favorite snacks as this will help them settle during your trip.
Choose the Best Airline for Family Travel
There are various factors that travelers look for in an airline. In general, a safe and hassle-free flight is what everyone wants. Good amenities and friendly flight attendants will make a great trip memorable. Let's look into what needs to be taken into consideration when traveling with children.
Price and Convenience
Traveling as a family can quickly get expensive. Many choose low cost airlines due to budget. However, often budget airlines will end up more expensive as you have to pay for everything, from choosing seats to checked baggage. Instead, sign up to airlines' newsletters and get notified whenever they run promotions.
Also, research into family friendly airlines. For example, Etihad airways offers family only check in lines, priority boarding for families, complimentary children activity packs and more.
Emirates, on the other hand, offers baby food and baby formula on the plane. They also offer kids meals for older kids.
Apart from price, take into account convenience and ease. What's the use of a cheap flight that requires two layovers before arriving at your destination? If you are traveling with kids, getting to your destination with ease is important as the journey can make or break your mood for the whole vacation.
As parents, it is more convenient to check in online, especially if you have young toddlers. A travel stroller is a must to help you get from A to B around the airport and to your destination. It not only makes for a more seamless journey but helps with your sanity by reducing the need to carry your child, especially in unforeseen circumstances such as long delays and rushing to your gate. However, carrying a standard stroller with your luggage and small children can also be a hassle.
How can we make traveling with kids stress-free? An airplane travel stroller will make a great difference and simplify family travel. Your hand luggage doubles as your pram at the same time. It fits the plane's overhead bin so you don't need to worry about getting separated from your bag, stroller, and your baby. Have your belongings and your child safe by your side as you zoom through the airport the hero.
Keep Your Kids Entertained
Staying confined in the same place for extended periods of time is no fun; kids need activities to keep them occupied. Making sure that your child has something to do during the trip will give you time to rest and recuperate.
For infants, since they love to sleep during the flight, a cozy place to sleep like a soft blanket and sheets will make them feel relaxed. When they are awake, occupy them with sensory toys, textured balls, or soft dolls for them to hold, shake, or suck on.
For toddlers, you can bring magnetic board games or sensory toys to keep them entertained. Some airlines also provide kid's activity packs, so check with the flight attendants during your flight.
Children aged 2 to 5 years old love to grab things with their hands. Coloring kits provided by an airline would also be a fun activity for them, so be sure to ask the flight attendants if the airline provides such activites.
For older children, watching new movies or educational videos of their interest is an effective way to spend their time during the flight. They can download their favorite movies in advance or look through the movie library offered by the airline. They can also play their favorite games, read eBooks, write journals, and listen to favorite music. All making the trip much more enjoyable.
Travel with Kids Stress-Free
Making kids happy is a joy to every parent's heart. Before you go on your next family vacation, do some planning and research in advance. This will help reduce the stress of flying with kids.
Discover the world together and share your waves of laughter. Have a memorable stress-free family vacation.
Read up on our family travelers guide your next family getaway. Taking an international flight? Read our article on international travel with infant.