You know how they use to say it takes the village to raise a child?
Baby it’s 2023 and the villages are scarce! Having help when traveling is not as available as it used to be. So much has happened to our children in the US that we are traumatized and it’s tricky, to receive help from a stranger nowadays. Don’t worry I gotcha love. Here are my 10 Tips for traveling with young kids, to help you travel with your Littles. These tips have stood the test of time for the long and short haul with the Littles.
I love a good travel outfit, and whenever we travel locally and on short trips, I always make sure the entire family is dressed nicely and classy. But these long hauls to other countries!
No ma’am! I dress them in pajamas; so that they can prepare themselves to go to sleep on the plane because mommy did a lot of work to get to the airport on time and get through TSA and pack everybody’s clothes.
Not to mention the waiting period when you get to the gate 2 hours before the flight starts boarding. And have to make trips to the bathroom and listen to them complain about the walk to the gate.
“Is it time yet Mommy”?
So you best believe Ise is tied by the time we sit in our seats on the plane. Pajamas it is!
Sometimes, I pack a change of clothes for when they wake up. But most of the time, the pajamas last the trip and change when we get to our rooms.
It helps keep them comfortable, and they treat it like a slumber party.
2. Minimalist packing
Having three children, I have learned that we tend to pack all these cute outfits for them that they often do not wear.
I realized we had been lugging all these clothes along with their toys, etc. They ended up not wearing all of those outfits.
So now we pack the bare minimum.
Especially when we are going to visit family. Nine times outta ten, we will wash clothes or shop and buy new clothes. I pack shorts, pants, and dress pants with about 5 shirts, and that’s all they need.
Oh, and a lay outfit like basketball shorts or a jogging suit to chill in. That way, we have lightweight luggage to bring stuff back and less stress on me.
3. Snacks Galore
I don’t know about yall, but I swear when we travel, my boys grow 2 extra stomachs. It is like they get hungry every 5 mins. There is nothing worse than being in an airport waiting with hungry kids or on a plane waiting for food and beverages with kids. Sometimes they get the food on the plane and do not like it.
I have to make sure they are fed honey because if not, it gets ugly!
Some good snacks I recommend are filling snacks like pretzels, apples, dried fruits, popcorn, and PBJ sandwiches to name a few.
Please do not try to travel internationally with too many liquids like pudding. Depending on the country, they will throw your little pudding snacks away if it looks more than the ounce or Milliliter requirement.
4. Pee pee cup
Now this one is for boy moms.
I absolutely will never travel without this pee-pee cup ever! Not only do my boys gain an extra stomach on trips they get excited and order juice on the plane, which means trips to the bathroom.
Now I told yall I was tired after all that I have to do to get on the plane, so do not wake me up when you have to go tinkle. This cup has been a lifesaver!!
They just stand up and go in the cup, and when I wake up, I empty it in the lavatory. The youngest may need a little help with it, but at least I don’t have to leave my seat.
I can go right back to sleep.
Most international flights have a TV on their seat. I do allow the boys to watch a movie or 2 but, I just can’t let them watch movies the entire time. Sometimes they get so excited they can’t sleep and try to stay awake the entire flight.
NOPE! Didn’t I tell yall I was tired?! So what can we do Mommy?
A few things kid…
You have books or your Kindle.
I print out free coloring pages of their favorite characters and puzzles off of Pinterest to keep them relaxed.
We also pack a few Legos and my favorite Card games.
Call me ole school, but I love a good game of Uno or go fish, and the boys do too.
We giggle and laugh the entire game until they get tired and want to move on to something else. Usually, they are tired enough to want to sleep more as well but in case they don’t we have entertainment on deck. Our newest form of entertainment has been comic book making while on the plane and I encourage them to make one of the things they want to do on the trip or what they did on the trip so that they can be excited and grateful for the trip.
Ok so now they are on the plane, right?
Chillin’ and enjoying themselves. Out of nowhere, you hear somebody crying. Wake up out of your slumber in a panic.
What’s wrong? What happened?
The oldest one has watched too much TV and has motion sickness so bad he gets nauseous and vomits on himself. Thankfully I have packed a pair of backup pajamas so he can get cleaned up and changed and I can go back to sleep. Now I know I told yall to pack like a minimalist but you need to pack 2 pairs of pajamas anyway in case they pee in the bed and you have to handwash the other pajamas and let them dry for a day so they have clean pajamas every night. Always have a backup pair of clothes. I don’t just bring pajamas. I include underwear and socks too. You just never know with these kids.
I can’t stress this enough! Organizing everyone’s paperwork is so important and beneficial to traveling internationally. Keep everybody’s paperwork in one place. Customs will thank you and the ticket check-in will too. It helps you move faster and keep your documents safe. Nothing will get lost if it’s all together in one place.
8. Prep Talk
I can’t express enough how helpful this prep talk is to your travel with young children. Now it’s important that when you sit and have this talk with your children that there are o distractions whatsoever. Make it clear that the conversation is very important and will affect their trip.
Practice makes perfect, they say right?
So depending on the age you may need to practice and do some training so that they have a full understanding of what you are expecting for the trip and to prepare their minds on what to do in certain situations. I make sure to tell my boys there are going to be a lot of people in the airport so staying close to Mommy and Papa is very important and you have to pay attention so you don’t get lost.
Then we practice with questions.
I will randomly go up to the little one and say hey cutie I’m a stranger do you want to go with me to get some candy?
Then Papa says what do you do Carter?
Usually, he answers correctly and says no thank you or you have to ask mommy.
There are more little situations but I think you get the point.
10. Brainstorm your trip
Alright now you know how you’re preparing for a trip on your Pinterest board and you get all these great ideas and things you want to do on the trip.
I call it my place to go and people to see the board.
However, we found ourselves on these trips where we didn’t plan or planned so badly that we end up just being at our hotel or get caught up in shopping or tired from one event and don’t get to do everything we had gone to do.
So a few weeks before we review my little Pinterest board and brainstorm on the days we want to do it and the best times to do it and already have in our minds the budget for doing it so that we thoroughly enjoy our trip.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the Adventurous Aries in me didn’t like this idea at first because I like just floating on trips when I travel.
However, when you’re traveling with the little ones you don’t want to crush their dreams and ignore their little hearts’ desires on these trips.
They will remember it for the rest of their lives and might even bring it up from time to time when we reminisce about the trip.
“Don’t do it, read some litter” (In my Andre 3000 voice).
I hope these tips help you plan amazing trips with your kids. Don’t forget to share with those who need this!