Moving from one place to the other takes on a different set of challenges when traveling with children. Everything gets more complicated, starting off with packing your luggage and completing the checklist of essentials to bring from point A to reach point Z. Our fam bam recently traveled from Guangzhou (China) to Hong Kong to the Philippines, and I made it a point to share these seven thoughts to keep in mind when traveling with children:
1. Write Them down
We traveled with our 11-month-olds and there is too much things to bring: diapers, feeding bottles, milk, clothes, diaper rash cream, etc. There is so much to remember when traveling with children but your memory can only remember a certain amount of data. Make sure to write down the things that you need to bring so you don’t miss out something.
2. Use a Backpack as a Baby Bag
This is my personal bias because I am the backpack kind of traveler, ever since I was seven years old. We have been traveling since our twins were two months old and I learned that having a backpack for a baby bag is more convenient because I can just swing my backpack over my shoulders when rushing from one train station to the other.
3. Keep Everything within Your Reach
Don’t ever make the mistake of putting milk inside your huge luggage because chances are it will have to be checked in (in the case of airplane travel). Make sure that the essentials – say diapers, milk, feeding bottles, extra clothes, baby wipes – are in your baby bag so you don’t panic when your baby/child shouts for a diaper change.
4. Be Patient
Traveling with children tests your patience, especially when they start crying and screaming on a 12-hour flight. It’s stressful so chances are, you will lose your cool. When the going gets tough – or when the screams get louder – breathe. There is nothing much you can do after you have fed them, changed their diapers, or given them their toys.
5. Keep Them Awake as Much Possible before Boarding the Plane
I learned this when we traveled from China to Los Angeles. We let them play as much as they can in the airport. We let them walk around and interact with other passengers. By the time they are in the plane, they are usually tired and will immediately go to sleep.
6. Apologize but Don’t do It Again and Again
I know how it felt like to be stuck in a plane (bus or train) with a screaming infant. It can be annoying, but I always think about the mother who tries very hard to appease her baby. As a traveling Mom, I apologize beforehand if my kids will be crying for the entire duration of the trip. Your fellow passengers will often understand. If they don’t, then don’t stress about it.
7. Take the Rear Seats
This works for us when we travel economy class in a three-hour flight. We have tried sitting in the front row and it has been a disaster. When I need to stand up to “dance” my baby to sleep, everyone sees me. That is sort of embarrassing. My husband and I learned that it’s best if you prepay for rear seats so we have the entire space at the back for our “dance.” Plus there are usually two or three flight attendants stationed there and some of them are nice enough to carry your baby even for a few minutes.
Ten months of traveling with our Nicholas and Antoinette taught us that traveling light may be improbable with children. We are now thinking of how we can whip that part of traveling with children. Any suggestions?