Travelling Internationally with Children

August 28th, 2013

Travel with children has increased more over the last decade than any other type of travel. Since summer has come to a close, many families may soon be planning holiday trips or family gatherings.

The key to traveling with kids is striking the right balance between the challenging and the comfortable, the strange and the familiar.

Here are a few ideas to help achieve that stress-free balance for both the parent and child.

1. All travelers over the age of 4 should be responsible for their own carry-on bag.  Seriously.  It’s a small bag. Let them take responsibility for their own stuff.  Save your back and raise independent kids all in one fell swoop.  And, be sure to have a change of clothes in that bag for any unforeseen accidents or spills.

2. Other smart packables include any daily meds need to be in their carry on like age appropriate Acetaminophen (chewable), Ibuprofen (chewable), Benedryl, Dramamine, Pepto-Bismol, Immodium, Band-Aids, Neosporin, Cough Medicine, and a small thermometer.  Call your pediatrician before you leave and ask their advice – they may even prescribe an antibiotic to take just in case.  And definitely remember the antibacterial wipes!

3. Strange place; familiar food. Carry an insulated lunch bag with a shoulder strap on all long flights and fill it full of healthy, familiar items like protein bars, sliced apples, and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.  Just remember the liquid rules for passing security.

4. Handheld devices are invaluable for keeping kids entertained at airports and on long flights. However, once the kids are at the destination, the experience will not be very nourishing if they shut out the sights and sounds of where they are with the portable sights and sounds of home. Make the deal before you leave, digital distraction ends when you get there. It will cause serious withdrawal for some kids–which is not such a bad thing.

5. Have an electronics back-up plan with books, a drawing pad and a pen set, Mad Libs, a deck of cards and at least one modest project.  For example, older children could write thank you notes for whatever recent holiday just came and went while on the plane.  Having at least one directed task that needs to be accomplished helps the time go by.

6. Once at your destination, replace the digital toys with binoculars. One of the great benefits of travel is that it shows you new worlds. Binoculars show you new worlds within new worlds. Binoculars are on virtually all “What to Bring” lists for nature travel, but they are almost as valuable for other kinds of travel as well. They are not of much use inside the Louvre, but they are great for seeing the details of the molding above the cornice on the exterior of the Louvre. The same binoculars that work for bird watching work for people watching.

Above all, enjoy your time exploring and travelling with the kiddos!


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