Traveling with kids can be a daunting thing to imagine. Particularly when it’s a transcontinental journey. Many parents opt to skip it altogether out of the fear of the multiple ways things could possibly go wrong. What if they throw a fit in line at the airport? What if they cry the entire flight? What happens if they poop or pee their pants mid-journey? How am I possibly going to entertain a toddler on a 12-hour flight? Well believe it or not for every question, there is an answer. Follow these tried and true parent tricks and be certain that your travel experience will be a million times easier.
Make Sure Your Passengers Are Healthy
Leaving on an international journey with sick kids is no fun. Avoid at all costs. I repeat: avoid at all costs. Ensure that your little traveler or travelers get a clean bill of health before hopping on a plane. If you have to postpone your trip, err on the side of caution and do so rather than risking a traumatic experience. Traveling with kids is hard enough as it is. But double that stress with an illness? No bueno. In addition, make sure you receive any immunizations and vaccines required for your destination are taken care of way ahead of time. Preparedness is key.
This one I cannot stress enough. Arriving “early” with children when traveling abroad isn’t as simple as adding 20 minutes or even 30 minutes to your schedule. It requires a simple equation. Take the amount of time you think it will take you to get to the gate, then double it. That is exactly how early you want to arrive at the airport, train station, car rental office, or whatever your form of transportation may be. You never know when a child might have to make an emergency bathroom stop, get hungry, or worse, throw a fit in the middle of the journey there. Arriving early is extra insurance that whatever life may throw that you, you can handle, and still arrive at your destination on time and in one piece with time to spare.
Pack 2 Pairs of Everything
Kids are famous for spilling juice down their shirt or falling in a puddle at the worst possible moment. The only thing better than packing an extra pair of pants is packing two pairs of pants. The same goes for shoes, and socks. When your journey can be as long as 24 hours (or longer) when traveling abroad, two is better than one.
Pack a Surprise Pack
The “Surprise Pack” is a traveling mom’s favorite. Instead of merely packing a bag of toys and giving them to a child all at once, go to the dollar store or any discounted store of your choice, and buy “grab bag” items. These items can be pulled out every 1-2 hours as a surprise. The child gets excited and engrossed in an activity, then before they have time to get bored, you pull a new item out of the surprise pack. This is a must have with smaller children!