Tried-and-Tested Travel Tips
Summer is here and other than not having to make lunches for 6, 8 or 12 weeks (take your pick based on where you live), the best part of no school is going on family vacation. As we all know, bringing the home circus on the road is no small undertaking and can be fraught with kids being kids, parents being parents, and other people being other people.
What’s Your Mode
Sometimes the very mode of travel we choose can add undue stress to kids or adults, depending on whether or not they have motion sickness or other physical reactions. We look after a lot of children who don’t like spending a significant amount of time in cars as they are not used to them. Whether swapping in for a car or plane ride, train travel is a great way to travel with children. The are roomier and provide more opportunity to walk around. You also don’t have to show up hours in advance, deal with security and stress about whether or not your luggage is over the allocated weight.
Particularly well suited to trips in the car, podcasts are a great shared experience (when listened to together) and cover pretty much any topic you can think of. Some of our kid-approved favorites include, Story Pirates, Wow in the World, Pants on Fire, Past and the Curious. Full of fun facts about history, science, politics and child-created content, podcasts spark a lot of interesting conversations and are good at drawing kids in as the medium is very personal.
Go With the Phone
Don’t feel guilty if you let your children use devices on on the airplane, bus, train. Most of us limit screen time, but we approach travel as a do-whatever-it-takes to get through. After all, don’t we all enjoy watching movies, playing games, reading on Kindle or listening to music while en route somewhere? Our children are no different. But if you want to scratch the kids’ itch to have a phone in their hand, you can also make their time a bit more productive. For a creative, interactive phone experience, you can send them on a photo scavenger hunt: find a red door, yellow flower, etc. Give them a list of things they need to find and then take a picture of. When you are looking to have them take a break from the screens but still keep them occupied, Smart Games has a brilliant selection of one- and tw0-person logic games and puzzles that are well designed, colorful and engaging.
Little Kids Do Cry
Of course you don’t want to be the person on the plane with the crying child, but if that does indeed happen try and not let it cause undue stress. Focus on your child and ignore any unhelpful or annoyed passengers. The situation may be trying but it is temporary and children are also paying customers, we were all young once, etc., etc. Bottom line is that you can’t control whether or not your baby or small child is going to get upset on the plane and introducing external stress into the situation is not going to make matters better.
Relax, Have Fun
It’s vacation after all and supposed to be an opportunity to take a break and spend some quality time together as a family. So even if the kids, and you, are a bit out of sorts and out of routine, embrace the experience. And set realistic expectations that while everything may not work out as perfectly as you have it in your mind, the bumps and hiccups along the way usually result in the most fond shared memories. Safe travels!