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Traveling with your little ones can become a nightmare especially if they’re too active. While the destination may be worth it, the journey can be tough. Thankfully, there are tips for traveling with children that can make things a lot more tolerable.
Active kids can make travel interesting and, well, a little tiring. But if a trip with your children has been a long time in the making, maybe you should take it now. There are ways that you can take control back and have them behave better.
Tips for Traveling with Children Who Have Too Much Energy
There are a lot of up-sides to traveling with kids who are highly active. For one, there will never be a dull moment on the trip! They will help you keep the spirit and enthusiasm up when it gets dull for you. However, managing them can be tricky. Here are a few tips on how to do that.
General Tips for Traveling with High Energy Kids
1. Take charge
As a mom, you need to set some rules straight before leaving for a trip. Tell your children that they need to be on their best behaviour. You can reward them along the way with an ice cream or a short stop at an amusement park. Just don’t overindulge them or give in to tantrums.
2. Make the journey fun
Engage your children with games and keep them busy with sights along the road. Have a singing session with everyone joining in, or simply play antakshari. You can also play their favourite music. It’s also a good idea to take along a few video games that they can play at half-an-hour stretches.
3. Be prepared
As a mom, you probably know your child’s habits, quirks, and particular traits. Be prepared accordingly. Carry their favourite things (such as toys, hats, etc.), favourite snacks, and belongings they may need along the trip. Carry extra everything – nappies, clothes, and painkillers.
4. No high-sugar foods
If your child is already running high on energy, don’t feed her extra sugar! A sugar-high is the last thing you want highly energetic kids to end up with. Carry raw fruits, nuts, crackers, etc. instead, and steer clear of chocolates and candy altogether.
WATCH: How to Pack When Traveling with Kids
Key Takeaway: From trying new clothes on before packing them, to carrying extra plastic bags, to checking the weather, this video will give you 10 amazing and unique tips on how to pack your kids bags when traveling.
Tips for Traveling with Kids By Road
1. Breaks are necessary
High energy kids are most difficult to manage on road-trips because their energy finds no outlet in the constrained spaces of the car. Take time to slow down and stop along the way. Your children will give less trouble if you let them stretch their legs and get a breath of fresh air. Being strapped in a car – or a bus for that matter – for more than a couple of hours can really get to them, especially if they’re young.
2. Cushions to the rescue
One of the primary reason for kids to get restless on road trips is because they cannot get comfortable. Neither can we adults, but we are able to control our restlessness. Cushions can make the travel comfortable and easy. You can also keep a thin blanket.
3. Map out the journey
One interesting and exciting way to engage kids on a road trip is to make them the navigator of the trip! Teach them how to read a map, and make them in charge of giving directions. You can either go traditional with a fold-up paper map, or tech-savvy with a GPS-navigation system. Ask your child to spot possible pitstops, restaurants, washrooms, petrol pumps, etc.
Tips for Traveling with Kids By Air
1. Get some quality screen-time
There is not much you can do while flying. However, it can be a good time/way to give your child some quality screen-time. Carry a tablet or laptop, or simply load a few of your child’s favourite videos on your phone. You can even load a few children’s movies, or documentaries. Don’t forget a headphone-splitter, that allows you to plug more than one pair of headphones into a single device.
2. Fly at night
While it is true that day-time travel is most convenient when it comes to kids, for highly active kids the opposite might in fact work in your favour. It would be a good idea to exhaust your child through the day by giving her enough physical activity, so that when it is time to take off, she can fly straight into the dream world!
3. Teach patience
There is only so much you can do to engage and pacify your child. So when you run out of tips and tricks, do not shy away from being a little strict with your children. You can promise them a gift after getting to your destination if they will co-operate with you through the journey. Believe it or not, children do understand their gains and losses, and they will likely work with you than against if they know there is a gift at the end of the tunnel!
Tips for Traveling with Kids By Train
1. Get off the train at junctions
While you must be extremely careful and keep one eye on the clock at all times, it can be fun and exciting to get off the train at certain stations! You can make a big deal about it by telling your children that they have ‘stepped’ on those many new places! Be sure, however, to only get off at junctions, as opposed to normal stations, as trains tend to stop for longer periods at junctions.
2. List the stations
One great way to engage active kids on a train journey is to get them to make a list of all the stations you pass by. You can supplement this exercise by giving them books to read up about these places.
Tips for a Long Journey with Kids
1. Take a halt
Long journeys can be challenging when traveling with kids. It is best to break up the travel to two days if you can. This is especially advised for journeys that are longer than 6 to 8 hours. If possible, switch to an alternative mode of traveling that will get you to your destination faster.
2. Prepare your child
If all of this is not possible, simply talk to your child well in advance and prepare her for what lies ahead. Motivate her to take it up as a challenge, and be sure to indulge her (but never too much!) with her favourite things, maybe even a surprise gift to unpack on the journey!
3. Start at dawn or in the night
It is also a good idea to start a long journey in the night, or at dawn. That way, your child will be asleep for the most part of the journey, and you can get some time for yourself too.
Tips from Expert Mommy Travel Bloggers
It may be difficult for you to believe that traveling with kids is actually possible, especially if you have really young kids. So here we have curated advice from 3 expert mom travel bloggers to help you believe in yourself and finally take that trip you so deserve!
1. Carry these 5 pouches in your pack.
According to Deenaz Raisinghani – a backpacking mommy who has already traveled to nine countries with her now 2-yr old daughter – you need to carry 5 pouches while traveling:
- a technology pouch (with chargers, power banks, data cables, memory cards, selfie sticks, extra batteries, etc.)
- a toiletries pouch (you can make separate ones for you and your children, or just build one big toiletries pouch so you can share things like shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc.)
- a medicine pouch (which includes anti-allergics, antibiotics, anti-virals, motion-sickness medicine, any prescription medicines you or your partner, may be on, etc. and a first aid kit.)
- a baby pouch (this should contain all diaper-changing essentials like diapers, diaper rash cream, wet-wipes, extra set of clothes, etc.)
- a snacks pouch (with easy to consume finger-food that has long shelf-life and is dry, so that it will neither spoil nor spill)
2. Don’t overanalyse, just do it.
Mom Travel blogger Jessica Bower says, “When it comes to traveling with kids, there are plenty of good excuses that we can rattle off to keep us at home. It’s too hard. We’re too busy. They’re too young.” However, Jessica’s advice to all moms who want to travel is to stop overanalysing and just do it. While planning is a good thing, too much of it blunts action. So Jessica says, “The best part of parenting is seizing the moment, and those moments happen every minute when you have the courage to pack your bags and your stroller and hit the road. (…) Do it today.”
3. Don’t overschedule your days.
As a mom, you might not get to travel much, or take your kids traveling either. So when that one trip finally works out, you may be excited to check everything off your list. However, Corinne McDermott thinks this is a big mistake! It is best to take it easy – if you miss a few spots, you can always do another trip to the place. It is best to adjust your pace to that of your children, and when they look like they might just pass out on the bed, cuddle and join in – never mind missing out on a couple of things.
Despite your best efforts, things might not always go as planned. Don’t fret about it but look at it from a different perspective – this journey could teach you what to do and what not to on your next journey. In time, you’ll master the art of dealing with your children when traveling, no matter how active they are.