I do not need to tell you that when traveling with children, you absolutely need to think of EVERYTHING: passports, diaper bags, snacks, beverages, games, suitcases, blankets, clothing, medications, soap, etc. One thing is sure, is that you don’t need to have to prepare everything alone.
Include your child in the travel arrangements:
- Involve him in the research of the destination
- Ask for his opinion: which activities he would like to do during the trip
- Educate him in the culture and history of the destination
- Explain to your child the difference between the currency used in that country and the one used in Canada
- Create a travel wallet for your child for him to become familiar with the currency
- Bring your child with you when you will exchange your currency and explain to him the necessity of this task
- Have your child pay for his things with his own wallet
- Let him make his own travel bag and manage it as he wants
- Allow your child to choose the clothes he wants to wear and pick the ones he wants to pack.
Involving your child in each step of the planning will ensure him to have a sense of belonging to the destination. He will learn how much organization it takes for a trip and will be much more involved and attached to going to this destination.
Depending on the means of transportation, the experience may be different. Here are my travel tips when traveling with kids.
If You’re Flying…
1. Prepare your children
It is important for a child to be mentally prepared for the upcoming outcomes. Thus, it is ideal to prepare your child to take the plane. Explain to him the importance to stay quiet and seated, the safety instructions, the purpose of each object, what are the different noises, etc. For your child’s adaptation to go well during the trip, you must avoid for him to be disturbed. Your child is used to his schedule and sometimes a trip can disrupt his daily routine. On the other hand, by preparing your child and telling him that there will be jet lag, a different climate, several means of transportation, it will avoid surprises and he will know what to expect.
2. Choose your seats wisely
When traveling with children it is important to book your plane tickets in advance and wisely. If it is necessary, perhaps separating from your loved one would be a good option for you. This will allow you to alternate so that one can sleep while the other takes care of the children and vice versa.
For your child, the location of his seat can set the mood for the rest of the flight. If sitting near the window is important to him and will make his experience more enjoyable, it would be important to consider this option. In case you have more than one child, you can alternate so that everyone can sit neat the window.
In addition, the chosen location of your seats on the plane is important. For example, if you choose the middle of the plane, there will be more room to play and more legroom but a little less storage space under the front and rear seats. Choosing seats in the front or back of the plane will ensure that you won’t bother people and that you can get up and get to the bathroom more easily. On the other hand, the benches will not incline as much and it will be a little noisier. In order to choose what is best for you, you must take in consideration the pros and cons of each location according to your needs. Window or corridor? Front or back? Space or storage?
3. Create out of the ordinary activities
We know that children get over their toys and games pretty quickly. That’s why it’s important for your child to have new games while he is on the plane. To enhance your child’s experience of sitting by the window, you could ask him to draw or write what he sees, experiences, expects, etc. It is important to choose games that are not too noisy, take up less space and are new so that your child can look forward to play with his new toys and have fun for a longer period of time.
If You're Driving…
1. Do not be in a hurry
The car trip is part of the trip. Above all, do not be in a hurry. If you pass near a tourist attraction, a restaurant, an event or anything else that catches your attention on your way, stop! This will help you stretch your legs, change your mind and create family memories.
2. Change the mood
The games, the movies, the conversations and the outings can change your mind but there is nothing better than to stop and say, “ok everybody let’s change places”. It is not only for children to change place but for the parents too. This will help change the mood, create a new atmosphere and spark new conversations.
3. Out With the Old, In With the New
When traveling by car, there is little space, and everyone breathes the same air. To make it all more exciting for your child, you can create multi-snack lunch boxes, backpacks with different animated game boxes and, especially, incorporate new games that your child is not used to play with.
Your child need recognition, especially during a new experience for him such as a trip. Praise your child for his good behaviors, without offering him gifts or rewards but simply by telling him. Your child will feel that his parents are proud of him and this will strengthen his self-confidence.
Don't Over Plan
At the time we live in, it is difficult to have quality time with our children and loved ones. This is why, during a trip, it is necessary to enjoy the family moments, think about the limits of everyone and do what makes you happy!