13 Oct 2015

Tips For Traveling With Kids

We did it again. We travelled overseas with two kids under 5. This time we took an even longer flight, a 9 -10 hour flight each way.

We travelled to Hawaii for a number of reasons. Firstly we were attending a friend's wedding, we would celebrate Kai's second birthday there, and my whole family was going to be reunited. I hadn't travelled overseas with my family since I was in high school, and with our growing families and different schedules, it is hard to get a group of families to travel overseas together. So really this was a holiday that we may never get to do again, I hope not, but you never know either.

Although my whole family and I were travelling together, we all got on different planes ... I think that was planned, ha. So hubby and I were on left to fend for ourselves on the long planes flights. We have flown before, so we kind of knew what to expect.

The flight to Hawaii were evening flights roughly around 9pm. Again we were hoping the boys would sleep through most of the flight. Eli did, getting a few hours of sleep, only after we told him to turn off the plane's entertainment unit. Those things are life savers for any electronic loving, movie watching kid. Kai on the other hand would only sleep in my arms. As many times I attempted to put him down on the seat to sleep, he'd cry and wake up. The flight back was a mid afternoon flight, however both boys slept through a big part of the flight time.

Although it was only a few months since our last experience, I have identified a few more tips for travelling with kids.

Two Rows of Two
Families tend to gravitate to the middle section when selecting seats on the plane. I actually suggest selecting the two rows of two seats. Eli wanted to lay across the seat while he slept, and Kai did the same on the flight back. Imagine having two kids sitting next to each other, both wanting to lay down. It wouldn't have worked, they would've woken each other up and made the confine space even ore uncomfortable.

Be Comfortable
This trip I wore active wear on the plane. I wore Skin tights, sneakers ... basically what I'd wear to the gym. If you didn't get the memo, wearing gym gear and not going to the gym is in. It made such a difference in comfort for me. I'm usually in jeans and flats when I travel, but this time I decided to wear clothing that I felt comfortable in knowing I was going to be stuck in uncomfortable spaces.

There are certain medications that cause drowsiness and can be given to children to help during long travel hauls. Unfortunately for us my boys aren't affected by that side affect when they take these kinds of medications. However don't let it deter you from trying if you're struggling with a fussy child and you've had enough. Kai was constantly crying and scratching on the flight over and so we decided to give him the recommended dosage of medication to help him with the itch. It seemed to work, he stopped scratching and he did fall asleep several minutes later.

Forget the Routine
At home my children follow a relaxed routine. I know what schedule works for them, and I try to stick to it as much as possible. When you're on holiday's, the adjustment to new time zones, and unfamiliar environments - it's better to just forego the schedule. Of course watch out for your child's body messages, such as being irritable cause they're tired or sleepy, and then follow through with the queues. If you want to enjoy your holiday which includes dining out late, sight seeing and constantly on the go, be flexible with your plans. If you're going to go out for dinner, don't expect the family to be up first thing in the morning and enjoy a sleep in. 

I do have other suggestions to help ease the stress when travelling with toddlers. I've previous blogged about it and you can read it here

What I've realised during this trip is travelling and seeing the world is so much more exciting, and the experiences are more memorable with children. Ian and I always talk about how much we're looking forward to travelling on our own terms again, but seeing the world with my children would probably be more fulfilling. I encourage you to travel or at least enjoy some holiday time with your children regardless of their age. If turns out to be a complete disaster or perfectly timed, I'm sure you'll never forget it.

What are your tips for travelling with young children? 

Linking up with Jess for #ibot
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