One of the greatest gifts of God to mankind – ‘kids’ are an utter delight; they never lie, manipulate or betray, but yeah, they whine. Along with joy, happiness and innocence, these munchkins bring lots of responsibilities with them which make being a parent or guardian, the most difficult job on this planet. Well, the situation worsens during travelling.
To help you survive your first trip with kids, here is an expert travel guide for parents to ensure a safe and fun vacation with your little bundle of joy:
1. Acknowledge the hassles
It is appreciable to stay mentally prepared for unexpected loo breaks, unnecessary whining, extra luggage and the smell of baby food. And more importantly, you need to acknowledge the fact that one or the other thing will not go as planned while travelling with kids. It will help you in staying sane even during the most frustrating times.
2. Be Patient
It is very important for you to keep calm while dealing with kids; especially if they seek attention. Instead of wasting your energy on yelling or cursing (yourself, of course), try to channelize your energy towards pacifying them with games, interesting food and travel maps.
3. Pack smartly
When travelling with a toddler, packing becomes one heck of a task. You must not forget baby food, diapers, toys, gadgets, spare clothes, footwear, medicines, milk bottles, stroller, etc. While these items are undoubtedly important, avoid over-packing as you can easily buy these at the destination in case needed.
4. Choose your destination wisely
Do sufficient research about the place that you are going to visit. If you’re unfamiliar with the mother tongue of that place, then make sure that you carry a picture of all the important places and items as a reference. Also, different countries have different protocols for kids entering their state which you must be aware of.
5. Book it all
You have your travel tickets and hotel booked, that’s great! But you must not stop there. You must make sure to pre-book entry passes for attractions and entertainment zones too so that there’s no last-minute hassle. Further, some of the most revered fine-dining restaurants require pre-booking a table which often gets neglected and leads to standing in a waiting room (WITH KIDS).
6. Track your kids
Not all kids are lazy and shy; there are a few who like to explore new places and meet new people (which may not be as good for them as it sounds). Losing your kid on a trip is the worst thing to happen. To make sure that you never lose hold of your younger ones, you must invest in a portable GPS tracking device which will help you in tracking the notorious ones.
7. Don’t go for LCCs
Budget-friendly travel is always a good idea but not while comprising with comfort. If you are planning to opt for a low-cost carrier (LCC) instead of a full-service airline, then you must be prepared for the lack of space, comfort and assistance which are immensely important while travelling with kids. Therefore, spending a little more for ensuring mental peace and comfort is not a bad option.
8. Ask for child discounts
Not everyone is comfortable with asking for discounts at unknown places. However, efficient travelling isn’t incomplete without a few smart tricks. Numerous restaurants, entertainment zones and attractions allow a special ‘child discount’ using which you can save a handsome amount of money.
9. Give contact information to kids
As mentioned above, if you are going to a place where people speak a foreign language, then you must keep ‘contact details tag’ in their pockets as well as bags. Also making them memorise your details is a good way to stay prepared for the worst.
10. Provide a learning experience
This whole trick is to divert the mind and energy of your kids towards creativity and nature. You must give your kid a camera or cell phone for clicking pictures or a travel journal for keeping them intrigued. You must discuss your travel plans with them for evoking their interest in the trip.
11. Give time to yourself
After sleepless nights and tiring days, parents become deprived of self-care and freedom. Do not let this happen on your vacation and try to give yourself time and importance that you deserve. The trick is to keep the kids engaged at play zones, adventure parks or a small pool while you cherish some ‘Me Time’ in the midst of nowhere.
Not every travel plan with kids turns into a nightmare; with appropriate research and planning, you can easily manage to take care of your offspring and yet, spend quality time with yourself.