Travel with kids can be crazy at any age, but most parents agree trips with little ones is like a highway to the danger zone. Todd travel can be especially challenging because babies go from portable airplane pals to mischief-makers who get more curious, active and vocal by the day.
It’s at this point that many parents swear off flights and road trips with littles for a while. But just think of all the fun-filled vacas and memories you’d miss!
With just a few tips as you countdown to your next trip, you’ll be traveling like a pro and enjoying the ride with your Globetotters in no time.
1 Month Before: Train
If you’re worried your little ones won’t stay still or could scream once on the plane, car or train, practice. Train your baby to sit in a high chair for longer mealtimes. Implement independent play time for older kids and gradually extend the sesh so they’re used to staying put. If your sweeties can’t sleep beyond their own beds, train them to sleep on cue before you’re on the move (stay tuned for our 6 Secrets to Help Kids Sleep Anywhere).
1 Week Before: Pack
A week or so before you leave, hope for the best and plan for the worst by fear-setting to mentally prepare and decide what you truly need. Lay out clothes that you can mix and match, to pack in a suitcase. Then create a separate pile of essentials you’ll keep with you like diapers or pull-ups for younger kids, along with an extra outfit for everyone (also stay tuned for our Fall Packing Tips).
1 Day Before: Plan
Pack your bags and ponder your plan. Consider a modified Babywise sched like “see, eat, play, sleep”. Make a mental list of all the things you can show your travel buddies or ways you can entertain each other on the way. Gather favorite travel snacks with a few treats for good behavior. Bring a blanket or lovey to soothe and prepare to snooze. If you’re flying, call the airline and ever-so-sweetly ask if they can move you next to an open seats for more space.
1 Hour Before: Play
Get outside or to the airport early and let your little ones relish in some independent exploration. Cruise through airport shops and try on hats or sunglasses. Find an empty spot near the gate and encourage the kids to run, walk, jump, and play. Get aaaaall the pent-up energy out. Then help them dance or hop right into the car or onto the plane.
1 Minute Before: Engage
Set expectations by explaining the kind of behavior you’d like to see and what the rewards will be (kids understand more than we think and this is where the treats come in). Encourage your kids to wave and say “hello” to everyone. If you’re flying, greet fellow passengers and befriend the flight attendants. Instead of apologizing in advance for your kids’ behavior, thank everyone in advance for their help if (when) it’s needed.
When you’re on your way, consider it your time to shine. Show the kids what’s out the window. Wave to cars or air traffic control together. Upon plane takeoff, relieve air pressure with a snack or drink, and play games together. If you’re driving, sing songs. If the trip is long enough for your tot to get tired, pull out the blanket or lovey for a nap on the way.
Think of the trip as quality time with your mini travelers-in-training and enjoy the ride. Soon you and your crew will be pros, traveling as the best of the best Top Gun-style.