We get constantly asked by friends on how we manage to travel so much with our kids.
“Isn’t it tiring? Isn’t it a lot of work?”
Perhaps, but not necessarily. Wouldn’t it be the same if we stayed at home?
The boys “reading” and colouring at Cafe Maiasmokk, the oldest cafe in Tallinn, Estonia
Here are my ten tips on traveling with kids:
1) Use only backpacks for hand luggage (we use Cabin Zero bags).
It frees up both hands to do everything else – push a stroller, pull your kid sat on JetKids, etc. We borrowed a friend’s JetKids on our holidays toand that worked wonders! Look at how the kids slept in the plane.
2) Pack light!
This is how much luggage we had with us on a 9 days 8 nights cruise. I managed to fit 90 diapers, 12 tops, 3 jeans, 2 lighter jackets (on top of their winter ones) and pajamas per kid, clothes for us adults, toiletries, some snacks, 3 pillows, toy cars, 5 books and more into 3 hand luggage bags – 2 being Cabin Zero bags.
3) Be organised.
Have a day pack always ready with all the essentials: diapers, wipes, change of clothes, water, food/snacks, small toys (a ball does wonders), a sticker book, plasters, etc.
4) Don’t stress.
I’ve heard people asking questions like “but where would they nap?” In Langkawi, Bangkok, St. Petersburg, the kids slept in the car while en-route from one stop to another. Not having a bed won’t stop them from getting the rest they need.
5) Plan to include some kid friendly activities during the day.
6) Be sensible.
I ensured that we stayed put for 5 nights in Paihia when we arrived after a door to door journey of 40 hours to New Zealand to deal with the jet lag which was quite bad as it was a 12 hour difference.
The kids would be asleep at 4pm, we would all be awake at 2am till about 5 or 6am, we would then sleep again till 8 or 9am. It took a good 3 days to get adjusted to the new time zone. I didn’t plan much for the first 5 days and we only explored areas about an hour’s drive away at most.
7) Get them excited about the little things.
When traveling from one point to another, get them to look out the window and spot other buses, birds, anything!
The kids on their first helicopter ride in New Zealand
8) Be flexible.
Just because the kids go to bed at 8pm on a normal day does not mean that you must enforce this while traveling. The world doesn’t end if they sleep at 10pm one night. Or at 12am on another.
If you have planned to go out shopping but suddenly the little one throws a major tantrum, perhaps shopping can wait another day.
9) Get them involved in your travel planning.
Show them where you are going to on a map before your big trip. Let the Geography lessons at home/on the road start at an early age.
He loves the inflatable globe ball, his globe light and there is another big world map on the wall behind him
10) Constantly talk about the things you will do there.
This could be anything from sitting on the top deck of the London bus to the big giant slide they will go down in the thermal baths or the big cruise ship they will sleep in or the yummy gelato they will eat when in Italy.
Kids learn so much during their travels – from new words like gracias in Spanish to roti canai as a breakfast meal when in Malaysia. Teach them all that and more. Make everything about the trip educational.
He could’ve ridden the buses in London all weekend
Any other tips you would add?