The Blog about Traveling with Children
It is no secret that we spend a great deal of time traveling internationally, both with and without the kids in tow.
Up until recently, it was a necessity for Grumpy to travel for work purposes, and we’re not keen on being apart from each other for any length of time, so I’ve been tagging along for the last decade or so, and we’ve been bringing the kids more often than not.
Our children have taken their first international flights at 6 weeks, 8 weeks and 3 weeks old respectively. So to us, and them, 12 hours on a flight isn’t at all extraordinary. They’ve been through countless customs and immigration queues, and are better at dealing with the frustrations of the red tape and security theatrics than any of the grown-ups that travel with them.
If you’d like some practical advice on traveling with 1,2 or even more children, keep reading.
1) Less is more.
I am a bit of a hypocrite where this rule is concerned. I filled an entire plastic storage bin with Christmas gifts, supplies and miscellaneous junk in only two days while we were in San Francisco waiting to meet up with my mother in law and our friends before boarding the boat.
However, most of the stuff was only bulky due to packaging, or supplies that would be used up on the trip (diet dr. pepper, soy milk etc.)
So my mother, who is an amazing attribute to have for myself and the children; as a trained teacher, and an enthusiastic and engaged grandmother, does not follow the mantra that less is more. To her credit though, she has taught me over years and years of travel that having a well-stocked first aid arsenal is invaluable.More on that later.
She’s always packed for the kids on the trips that we take together. And she does a much better job than I at ensuring they have matching and multi-purpose outfits to wear. She has also always let them fill a whole carry on with toys and comforts from home. THIS is her Achilles heel in my opinion.
Long haul flights have entertainment for the kids and the children sleep for most of the flight anyway. So when I travel, I pack a bag full of pharmaceuticals and so forth, and a pillow and blanket and video games for each of the kids. That’s it. We often ditch the pillow at the first stop, as they take up a great deal of room. But the blanket smells of home, and the pillow gives them something to sit on or lean against to get comfortable.
2) Be prepared for suprises.
Travel throws you a lot of curve balls. My son had glue ear that required 2 (and now 3) courses of antibiotics and sore ears and flying are a terrible combination. Turned out that Adam was fine and Stephanie’s ear was the one that gave her grief. Also, it was our first time on an oversold flight in Economy with all three of the children.
And whatever you do and wherever you go, you will cope as well. Be it on a two hour bus/car/plane or boat ride, or a marathon economy flight with a 23 month old on your lap from Auckland to London. You will cope. It may not seem like it at the time, but hang in there.
3) Don’t sweat the small stuff
Things will get lost, forgotten, misplaced, misheard, misunderstood and generally not ideal things will happen from time to time while you travel. Again. Hang in there. As long as you’ve got your ID and passport and the means to change yours and your family’s undies from time to time. You’re doing great. Pat yourself on the back and carry on.
4) Haters going to hate, so let them
Traveling with children will get you ALL sorts of evil eyes in all sorts of situations. Just be the best parent you can be and haters can go get fucked. Sorry for the profanity, but seriously, you can’t win with kid haters and miserable old people or baby hating professional wankers.
So carry on and be the best parent you can be.
The fact you are giving it a go and taking your kids around the corner and around the world makes you a fabulous and adventurous person and I commend you!
5) Be considerate
Children will be children. Sometimes this means tanties and noise and mess. If you possibly can, even if you are in the plane or a confined space, take the offending child to a quiet place until they calm down, clean up after them and be gracious and apologetic if those around you are being understanding while you go through what every parent in the world goes through from time to time.
I could go on and on and on with advice, and if anyone wants to hear more, you’ll have to let me know by leaving me comments.
Be back soon guys.