I love to travel, and having babies made it so that I always felt guilty if I didn’t go with them. So Timi and I have made a promise that we will always have a family vacation with the kids every year. If I am being completely honest it had been a stressful experience until I developed my own personal travel strategy. Everyone knows I’m big on sharing so I will share my tips and tricks on travelling with Kids.
.1. Plan Ahead
This is probably the most important thing when you are travelling with kids. It will affect every aspect of your journey. From Flight bookings, going out when you get to your destination, activities, literally everything. You have to be strategic. Timi always thinks I over plan and I am a crazy paranoid person but he will also tell you it has always paid off. Now let me break down the areas you need to plan ahead for.
.a. Ticket and Hotel Bookings
I will recommend that you start planning your family getaway at least 3/6 months ahead, this gives you enough time to get visas and most especially cheap tickets and good deals on accommodation. A great place to check is travelstart.ng , they always have cheap tickets and they have the option to check +/- 3 days.
.b. Know the rules
Before you leave for the airport, make sure you call the airline ahead to book your baby cots or extra leg room seats for your children. Also Baggage allowance for babies can vary per airline so make sure you check for that as well. Study the airport layouts to see if they have special children play areas or family areas if you have a layover. Know the rules for road travel at your destination to know if you will be needing a car seat, especially if you a renting a car or even jumping into taxis.
.c. Pep Talks
Talk to the Kids about the trip. Let them know where they are going, all thing things to expect and how they need to behave so they can get all the goodies available at your destination. Communication works especially for older kids.
.2. No Layovers or Short Layovers
When you are travelling with kids especially little kids, layovers can be stressful especially if they are long. I usually just pay for the airport hotel so we can sleep, eat and freshen up just before the next flight. Obviously not everyone can afford to do this. So I will always advice to get a straight flight, if you can’t get one make sure you study the itinerary of the ticket you are trying to buy to make sure you don’t have long layovers. However some middle eastern airlines provide free hotels for passengers with long layovers so just call ahead to find out
.3. Pack Smart and Light
Nigerians like LOAD!!! but you have to throw that away when you have kids, they are load enough. The key to success is to travel light. I always dump the diaper bag and get a backpack, I don’t take a handbag, I don’t take a carry-on, everything fits into my backpack. I decant the baby food into plastic containers and I put just enough for my flight, diapers, snacks and 2 sets of clothes for the kids go into the backpack as well as diapers and wipes along with all the travel documents and medicine.
This is Key, when Kunmi was little he had his ELMO phase, so when I was travelling with him I converted our ELMO DVD’s to MP4 and put them on a tablet, so anytime he was fussy I just gave him ELMO and it worked like magic. I will also recommend buying a new toy for the trip that is always exciting for kids.
I found this Infographic and video online that sums up everything nicely in a picture. If you have any questions you can email me Temilola@ftmbaby.com