No matter how you travel with kids, a good preparation is vital to minimize tantrums and frustrations and lead the way to a fun family holiday.
#1 Travel Tip: Setting the right expectations: time has a different meaning
Time is very relative when traveling with kids. You will notice that they will give a different meaning to words like “hurry”, “right now” and “later”. When you want them to hurry they will acknowledge you -and in their own way they are hurrying- but first they’ll need to thoroughly observe that interesting cat that happens to cross the street and share with you this amassing moment. Once that is done, they will have time to hurry for you. On the other hand, when you’d like for them to have some patience they will just seem not to understand what that means.
“I had an aha-moment when I overheard my elders girl of 5 sharing with her brother of 3,5 her kiddie wisdom -When mommy says “wait a bit”, it means right now-she told him.” Time runs in different way when you’re a kid. So if you’re traveling with kids, having the right expectations is important! This is why take these 3 pieces of advice:
Plan 50% more time for all activities when you travel with kids:
Once you decided that you’ll travel with kids, the most important thing to remember is that you won’t be able to move as quickly or visiting as many “tourist” sites you’d like to. In other words, be prepared :
- To spend quite some time in parks and playgrounds,
- To have longer stops while traveling,
- And take stock with the fact that you won’t be listening to your favorite music or reading your books as much as you’d like.
To travel with kids means that you’ll need to adjust the time you’ll need for traveling and visiting. As a rule of thumb you should plan about 50% to double the amount of time you would otherwise have without kids.
The upside is that you’ll spend time bonding with your kids, experiencing the things that are special to them like: learning children songs, reading children books, discussing cartoon series or just watching the world pass by. And they will love you for this!
Don’t change (sleeping) location too often when traveling with kids
Moving around during family holidays can be stressful even when everything goes smoothly. When you travel with kids, every time you move there is some packing and unpacking needed and everybody needs to adjust to the new place. On a family vacation with young children, it is recommended to stay at least 3 nights in one place or if this is not possible then alternating long and short stays to avoid the feeling that you’re always on the run. And talking about sleeping, this is a nice article from Jack and Jill see the world about nap time during holidays.
The best time of the day to travel with kids is relative
That is a tough one, because the answer is: It depends.
The best time of the day differ depending on both kids and yourself but it generally is either during the sleeping time of the children, or during the time when they’re in a good mood and most likely to be cooperative. However if you’re traveling with more children of different ages forget about the perfect timing. Chances are they won’t be synchronized anyway, and on top if you are using public transportation you might not have too much of a choice as to when to travel. If you do have a choice, choose for direct flight and in terms of timing choose something that works best for you. You can :
- Chose to travel with kids during the late afternoon or during the night.
- This way you should (in theory) have an easier travel time, but the down side is that you’ll need to handle some energetic and refreshed kids the next morning.
- You can still ran the risk to be kept up all night by a very excited and overtired kids. And if this happens to you on a long intercontinental flight with a small kids or a baby it you won’t have an easy ride.
- Choose not to worry about the best traveling time and travel with kids when it is best possible for you. The point is that YOU are the expert on your own family and time it right if you can (or you think you can).
#2 Travel Tip: Prepare some games and activities for your travel with kids
No matter what you do, and how much you plan and prepare your family travel, you need to be prepared for some degree of “naughty” behavior. Don’t get stressed over it, kids are kids so it’s in their nature to test the boundaries from time to time. However you can prepare some children games and activities for the road that will help reduce the “tough times”. Make sure that the kids I have a set of games and activities suited for their age for them to draw, write, count, stimulate their creativity and brain development. A good mix of games and activities for the kids can help a lot to have a good time when traveling with kids.
#3 Travel Tip: How to make sure you don’t forget anything.
When you start planning for your travel with kids, make a packing list with all the items and quantities you need, this way when you’ll do the actual packing to travel with kids you’ll be sure not to forget stuff.
#4 Travel Tip: Pack in a smart way
When traveling with kids you should keep packing simple and flexible. It is better if you can not to do any major unpacking before you get to your final destination.