Travel with kids – a direct route to grey hair
Snacking away on the plane home from Bali.
I’m definitely not an expert on travelling with kids but we’ve had our fair share of trips with Felix during these past 3 years. We’ve always felt that we wanted to show our kids the world, both near and far and up until now he’s been to Florida, Bali, Spain and this year were going to Italy. It definitely is a whole new world to travel with kids but even though you’ll get some new wrinkles as soon as you set foot in the airport, it’ll definitely be worth it.
First time we took him abroad on a plane he was 4 months old and it was quite the easy flight to Gran Canaria but the holiday it self was a mess. Rookie first-time parents as we were, we totally underestimated the power of the hand disinfection gels and wet wipes – he caught some sort of germ on the plane down and ended up with diarrhea the whole week we were away (we ended up having to call for an emergency doctor to get some fluid replacement and ended up with a hefty fee that our insurance company luckily took care of). So, ALWAYS pack some disinfection gel and wet wipes for the plane and do check your insurance so that you’re covered if anything happens.
I’ve gathered some tips and tricks as well as some personal experiences in this post below, both good and bad!
Quick check-list before you go:
- Passports for everyone, don’t forget the baby.
- Make sure your insurance covers for any unexpected happenings while you’re away.
- Bring the pacifier or a bottle of milk with you onboard, so that the baby won’t have any ear-issues during take off/landing. You can breastfeed but it’s not the easiest when the kid is strapped in to look straight ahead (unless you have very long boobs). For older kids, bring a bottle of water or snacks.
- Pack during the days up to the travel day to make sure you have everything with you. Kids tend to use up more clothes than adults.
- Do they sell swim diapers/baby products where you’re going? If not, make sure to bring sufficient amounts of these!
- If you have a baby, bring food in the squeeze tubes (I love Ella’s Kitchen) for the plane ride instead of the glass jars – they only have hot water in the plane so you can’t microwave anything – and it takes much less time to warm up a squeeze tube than a glass jar in hot water.
- Pack a travel bag for the older kids (snack, magazine, new toy, colouring book etc.) that they can stay occupied with (for a little while at least).
- This goes for any trips, with or without kids: Always make sure that you have your necessities in your handbag (necessary toiletries, bikini, extra underwear etc.) just incase they loose your luggage – have enough so you can get through the first few days without problems.
- If you’re traveling early in the morning or during the night; let the kids sleep in their comfy travel clothes or just let them travel in their jammies to make it easier to get up and go when it’s time to leave. Try to book the trip so that the flight times are the most optimal for your kids – you might be able to sleep at any time of the day, but who says your kids will, if they are on a different time-zone routine? No matter what, don’t expect that you’ll get any sleep at all.
- Stroller – do you need one? Not all airports will accept you taking it up to the gate and not all countries have proper streets to roll a big baby stroller around (We saw a couple in Bali trying to push an Emmaljunga stroller around, it looked ridiculous!). I’d highly recommend a ring sling or a wrap for the airport and that you look into having a light stroller that easily can fold for the trip.
- Bring your own headset for the plane. Kids can’t really use those in-ear headsets, we got the colourful set (in the first photo) from Flying Tiger Copenhagen – he was so proud and (luckily) watched loads of movies. Get the cheap ones so you don’t have to be worried about them breaking when they’re playing with them.
On our way to Mallorca, Felix third trip.
It can be really exiting for kids (and adults) to experience new places – that will also mean that they can have a hard time to wind down and settle in their new surroundings. Kids can act out a bit and have difficulties sleeping since they’re off their normal routine. Try to create new routines so that they know what to expect out of the days, don’t plan to much in during a day – make sure you have enough time just “being” and spending time with the kids instead of seeing all 150 different tourist spots and statues.
Don’t stress about food, if you’re going to a warm place your kids will probably not feel as hungry as normal. I’m telling you, Felix lives on fruit, ice cream, pancakes and french fries when were abroad. They’re on holiday too and won’t take any harm from a couple of days being a little unhealthier than normal.. so RELAX and have that glass of Sangria with a good conscience. Just make sure that you’re all hydrated.
Side note on Charter-holidays:
We fooled ourselves that it would be much easier to go on a charter holiday with Felix back when he was little and boy, for us, it was not worth it at all. The price for the trip ended up being the same as if we would take a normal holiday and we disliked the whole experience. I know there’s many that loves the whole charter thing and this is not ment to be demeaning to anyone – simply just our own experience with it – I’d rather take my kids somewhere I’ve never been before (it’s my holiday too) with great local food rather than being stuck at a “Lollo and Bernie” club eating frozen pizza of a all-you-can-eat buffet. That way I feel I get the most out of the experience and the money.
Waiting for our next flight at Dubai Airport. Felix fourth trip.
And a little something about diaper-duties:
I’ve come to the conclusion that most of my stress comes from food going in or out of the kids. Something I didn’t think that much of was the whole “I have to go to the bathroom”-issue while out travelling. Not all places have a changing room or a bathroom nearby, so I’ve changed my fair share of diapers out in the open. Get one of those roll-up changing mats to bring with you when travelling, that way you can change on the floor if you have to. This is also why you need those extra things in your hand luggage, in case of poopsplotions and sudden outfit changes.
Now, when Felix is diaper free (oh yes, it’s a whole new world) it’s a new stress-factor. “- Hold it in, hold it in, hold it in!!”. If you’re close to a bathroom, there’s no problems at all, but the world isn’t built that way that you’re always close to one and kids bladders are pretty darn small so what to do? Most of the time, he goes out in the open if we’re out (leaves works just fine as a substitute for paper – oh nature you wonderful thing). If we’re in a car without the possibility to stop on the freeway or similar we bring a funnel and an empty bottle. Oh yes, parenting is a bliss. Always bring extra towels in the car, you know, just in case.
So to sum it up; Have fun, relax, drink some wine, make sure the kids are out of the sun in the “bad hours” and remember, dare to take them with you – you’ll create memories and experiences for life.