Life Hacks Every Parent Needs to Know When Travelling with Kids
Family vacations can be fun, but also challenging if it includes a little one; there are many things that you need to consider. Good planning and being prepared will help you when travelling with small children and it can also make you feel much less stressed and overwhelmed.
There’s no need to sweat it, here are some life hacks for when you have to travel with kids.
Keep Them Entertained
The average attention span for a 2-year-old doing an activity that they’re really paying attention to is around 6 minutes, and for each additional year, add 3 to 5 minutes according to their age. That means that a long plane ride or journey by car can be challenging for both them and you.
Your strategy here is to keep them entertained.
Prepare their favourite colouring books, stories, songs, toys, or even a favourite cartoon. Remember not to be dependent on WiFi because it can be hard to get a steady signal onboard or in other places that you’re travelling to. That means if you’ve put all your eggs in the WiFi basket, you could be in a pickle.
There will also be plenty of questions about the trip such as “Where are we going?”, “Why are we going?” and “Are we nearly there yet?” This is a chance for you to make it all much more interesting for them by preparing a story about the destination. It could be fiction or nonfiction depending on their age. This could also be another opportunity for your little one to learn new things.
Book in Advance
To maximise your time while travelling and minimize the risks of not getting what you want, book everything in advance. From zoo tickets, boat tours, cooking classes, or even your standard getting from A to B transportation. Different countries have different rules and you don’t want to get a surprise and be left stranded.
Or better yet, why not look for hotels that already have these activities. Take a look at Centara Chaan Talay Resort & Villas Trat or Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld.
Your strategy here is ‘Don’t Assume - Ask and Book in Advance’
If you book an airport pickup, make sure that you mention that a child is travelling with you and that you will need a car seat. Some countries aren’t strict with child car seats but for your own peace of mind, do it anyway. Also ask what the additional cost would be if your service provider does not offer a car seat, and where can you find one. In Thailand, it’s not mandatory to wear a seatbelt in the back seat, and some taxis don’t have them fitted. To make sure you get a seatbelt, booking a ride in advance from a reputable transport service is recommended.
When booking a hotel don’t forget to be specific about an extra bed and how old your kid is. At kid-friendly hotels like Centara, you also have the option of bunk beds for kids and breakfast is free for kids under 12. If the hotel offers babysitting services, check with them how far in advance you need to book. These things shouldn’t be assumed. When in doubt - ask!
Extra Time, Extra Clothes, Extra Everything
It is always better to leave home earlier when travelling with a small child because you will never know what’s going to happen. Maybe he or she will need an emergency toilet visit, or need to be fed. You never know what kind of mishaps might be in store that would warrant needing a change of clothes - so having an extra set on hand is always a good thing.
Your strategy here is to ‘Add one to everything for the Road’.
That means leaving home early, bringing extra clothes in your carry on - not only the child’s clothes but also yours, bringing extra snacks, and bringing extra cleaning supplies.
It pains to say that sometimes not everything goes according to plan; but that makes life so fun and adventurous.
Your strategy here is to expect the unexpected.
If something goes wrong, you have to take a deep breath and say (as they would in the Lion King), ‘Hakuna Matata’ to yourself and to your kid. The point of taking a trip together isn’t only to see new places or try new food or stay at a new hotel, but for your kid to learn how to socialise with others and that is something he or she will also learn from you. If you are stressed, then your partner is stressed, and your kid will be stressed - and the holiday is over.
After all, spending time dealing with situations, whether good or bad, together as a family can and should be fun. Hakuna Matata!