Families travel every year despite the associated obstacles. Babies and young children have needs that older children and adults don’t, and a lack of planning can lead to overspending and family squabbles. Don’t worry, as we’ve compiled some tips that can help you travel with your family without straining your budget — or getting on each other’s nerves.
Take Time to Prepare Yourself
Maybe you traveled solo or with your partner and were able to wing it. As other seasoned parents can attest, it’s better to book things in advance and ask about child-friendly accommodations beforehand. Look for family-friendly vacation spots and ask about allowances for families, such as early boarding or treats for children. This comes in handy if you’re traveling during peak times, such as the holidays. It pays to know whether you can get an extra bed in your hotel room or whether you can find kid-friendly meals.
Eat a nutritious meal before you start your trip to reduce discomfort. Leave your home earlier and pack essentials if you’re flying or traveling by car. Take more diapers than you need, a change of clothes, and a toy or blanket your child can use during the plane or car ride. Airlines are reducing meal options, and airplane food is rarely appealing to small children, so take snacks so your child won’t go hungry. If you’re flying, it takes longer to get through airport security with a young child on your person. Early arrival will give you and your family time to get to your gate, go to the bathroom, and have a snack before your trip starts.
Traveling by car? Factor in a few bathroom breaks, and make sure your child has things they can use to stay entertained, such as a child-friendly tablet, toys, or books. Pack a Wi-Fi hotspot device so that the whole family can stay connected on the go. If you’re in the market for one, devices like the Inseego 5G MiFi M1000 Hotspot include long battery life and 5G connectivity. Finally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that parents visit a travel medicine provider four to six weeks before traveling internationally.
Traveling can be stressful for children. If they’re old enough, talk to them about what they can expect as you get to your destination. Explain what you can about airport security, cramped seating, and other potential sources of discomfort. If you’re driving, let them know why they need a car seat. Staying with relatives or in a hotel room may also be aggravating for your child. If you’re visiting a foreign country, explain that it may be difficult to find their favorite foods and encourage them to try new things. Let your child know they can ask you questions!
Considerations for Infants
Traveling with infants is yet another challenge, but you can minimize potential hassle by considering their needs before you go. Take a pacifier they can use to help them with changes in cabin pressure and have small bills to tip handlers who assist you with bags once you retrieve them from baggage claim.
Parents who breast-feed might be stressed at the thought of breast-feeding on the plane.
Some parents prefer to pump beforehand. Thankfully, TSA allows parents to bring juice, formula, and breast milk in “reasonable quantities.” If you choose to bring breast milk in bottles, make sure it’s properly refrigerated once you board the plane.
If you travel by road, you can store freshly expressed milk in an insulated cooler for up to one day. You can also freeze breast milk, as it’s safe to drink for up to 12 months after it has been expressed. Experts suggest using frozen breast milk within six months or less.
Traveling with young children can be a rewarding experience. Don’t let the potential inconveniences intimidate you. Have fun and focus on the memories you’ll make with your child.