Written By: DadsTO
We recently returned from two weeks in sunny Curacao with two kids, ages 4 and 9 months. The trip was wonderful and we spent some fantastic family time together. Breaking the home routine can be difficult and scary but it’s necessary. I’m the first to admit that we were nervous about a beach vacation and keeping the kids occupied, but we discovered that our children are fish – they wanted to spend as much time in the water as possible. Plus, our kids are great eaters so we don’t have the same restaurant anxiety many other parents have. Once we realized that, traveling became a breeze! Airports are going to be difficult no matter what but with some iPads and a HUGE bag of Love Ducks, we managed to make it through relatively unscathed. I’m not sure we’re ready to travel Europe just yet, but a relaxing beach vacation with two kids in tow is very doable and we can’t wait to do it again!
Don’t let having kids keep you from traveling, it’s beneficial for kids to have some experience traveling and it really can be fun for the whole family!
Here’s my family’s top 4 strategies for successfully traveling with kids:
1. Be open to the possibility that anything could happen when traveling with kids – you won’t be able to prepare for every situation and that’s ok
There are few situations more stressful than traveling with kids….the packing, the airport, the plane etc. In fact, we have many friends that don’t call it vacation anymore, they just say they’re parenting in the sun (with a sad look on their face). There are so many things that can go wrong and no possible way to prepare for every situation but there are a few key times when those extra steps really make the difference.
2. Get through airport security like a pro
If you have an infant, get used to the idea of hauling the baby around on your chest. It frees up your hands to swiftly organize all of your belongings at security. I recommend making sure the kids’ water bottles are empty – we like to empty them out as soon as we get out of the car so that we don’t forget. To make getting through security a breeze, I always make sure all the kiddos snacks are in one bag.
3. Bring extra clothes and extra snacks on the plane
Kids throw up on everything, especially when you don’t want them to. Bring an extra change of clothes for each kid and one for mom and dad too. You will definitely get wet/dirty on the plane and it will likely happen 10 minutes into the flight (isn’t that always the case?!). I also recommend bringing lots of wipes and hand sanitizer because not only do you never know who was the last person to sit in your seat, but you also want to make sure you don’t leave a sticky mess behind!
My family loves to load our bags up with tons of snacks. You never want to be stuck on a plane with only the airlines food options to fill your kids grumbly tummies. We love the Love Child Organic pouches, Love Ducks and Oaty Chomp Snack Bars – they are a hit for both of our kids (and parents too!).
4. Be mindful of how traveling will affect your child’s sleep schedule
Bring some of the comforts from home to make the transition easier for the kids: a sound machine, a favourite stuffed animal and a blanket will make your kids more comfortable when traveling to new and exotic places.
I’m also a firm believer in putting the kids to bed at bed-time, irrespective of time zone. Skip an afternoon nap if necessary to make sure the kids are exhausted come 7:30 pm.
Finally, remember to take a few DEEP breaths whenever you can. Cherish the good times with the people you love most and remember when you wear a watch on an airplane, time flies!