Planning a family trip is never easy. There is a high chance of something going wrong somewhere (although touchwood), no matter how long you have been planning for this family trip. If you are done preparing for it and just waiting for the D-day, let this be your checklist – so you don’t miss anything important. If you haven’t started yet in the midst of planning, then this article will certainly be a good guide for you.
Keep a loose schedule
If you used to squeeze one city tour, two park strolls and three museums in a day when you were single, that will be almost impossible if you are travelling with young kids. The chances are they are going to have emergency toilet breaks, lose their toys or have their tantrums along the way. Hence, ensure that your schedule is loose enough so you have enough time to ‘conquer’ these challenges. Travelling with more than a child especially will require longer time at the airport and getting them ready in the morning, so never rush your visits.
Plus, it would be best to choose cities where the main attractions are within a walking distance from where you are staying or just a few subway ride away. That way, when you’re done for the day, it won’t be too tiring to get to your bed.
Bring snacks along
In order to prevent your child to become a hangry monster (hungry+angry), it’s best that you prepare some snacks before leaving home or the hotel. Your child might not get to eat their meals on time due to unforeseen circumstances like a flight delay or you getting lost because your husband doesn’t want to ask for directions, so it’s good to have something they can munch on in the meantime.
Make sure that your kids know your contact information
As much as we believe that you are a good parent (that’s why you are reading this), sometimes adults can be occupied with their surrounding too. If this happens, then you would want them to have your information available for them so they could get help. If they own a phone, get them to jot it down as a note. Or else, have them remember your phone number and the place that you’re staying at. Of course, you cannot expect toddlers to retain all this information, so brand your child. You can do this by attaching a band on their wrist or a necklace with your contacts on it. You can even invest in some GPS tracking device if you want too.
Be thrifty – ask for child discount
While we do not encourage you to haggle everything (some Asian moms are experts in this), there is no harm in enquiring if the services that you are going for have any discounts for your little ones. This is because sometimes this discounted pricing is not endorsed on the company’s site or brochure. One more, even though many airlines do not charge for a child below than two, you should always check in case they do. You can get penalised more for not having a ticket than getting one. Be smart, save money.
Bring along some entertainment
Boredom will highly likely to hit one, adult and children alike, during long travels. Thus, it would be wise to prepare some entertainment to keep them and yourself occupied. Download their go-to kids’ movies and apps, bring their favourite toys or get them a book to ease the journey.
Ask the bigger kids to be involved in planning the trip
To make a trip more rewarding for your children, why don’t you get them to play a role in the process of looking for activities to do and places to go? Well, maybe not plan the whole itinerary, but if you show them the options of places of interests they can visit, surely they’d be more than happy to give their opinions.
Babies and Toddlers
For a long flight, try getting a seat with a bassinet connection
Although usually, you can’t book the seats closest to the bassinet, you can actually call the airlines that you are opting for to ask for suggestions and check if it’s possible to reserve that seat. Nonetheless, a baby bassinet can often hold 9 to 13 kg of weight only. Therefore, if your baby is bigger than that, we would highly recommend that you buy a seat for your child and bring along a car-seat that you can place him/her in.
Get them protected from the sun
Babies need sun protection, yes, but avoid applying any sunscreen to those who are below 6 months old. This is because, at this age, our babies’ skin is not yet mature, therefore they may be at a higher risk of suffering the side effect of sunscreen that is otherwise harmless to older kids and adults. Instead, get them well shaded. You can use a brimmed hat or a thin blanket to cover their heads as an alternative. For the older babies, use a sunscreen that has higher SPF to give better protection from UV rays.
Bring a bib
For babies who are already eating, it’s best that you bring along a plastic bib with food catcher so you that the food won’t fall or spill onto their clothes. Plus, they’re easy to wipe and dry too!
Reduce the pressure
The reason why sometimes you would hear high-pitched shrieks from babies during takeoffs and landing is that unlike adults, their ears’ anatomy is not yet well developed to adapt to the change of air pressure, thus hurting them. A good way to reduce this pressure is by getting them to suck onto their pacifier, drink milk from the bottle or even breastfeeding. If you’re experiencing this yourself, then we’d suggest that you try chewing gum or drinking using a straw.
Bring spare diapers, wet wipes and spare clothes
Notice the plurals? Yes, that’s because just bringing one extra won’t do it. Travelling with babies who are not yet potty-trained basically means that you will need to bring more than enough diapers, wet wipes, as well as spare clothes for your child and YOURSELF. You don’t want to have to buy a set of clothes because your child had a diaper leak, vomited or spill their food on you.
Anyway, the main takeaway from this write-up is that you can NEVER BE TOO PREPARED. Make sure that you have everything you need so that not just your children, but you yourself are having a blast. Good luck on your next trip, and remember to have fun!
Parenting in the Digital Age
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