We have done 15-20 trips over the last few years with our kids from flying across the Pacific Ocean, to shorter plane trips, long boat rides, several road trips, a couple of 18 hour bus rides, and more.
These are some of our top tips for travelling with kids:
1) Make sure you bring along snacks and drinks
2) Carry diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes
3) Bring along stickers, games, and toys
For plane trips, carry along some earplugs and try to get your kids to fall asleep during take off or landing. If your kids are younger, nursing during departure and arrival helps a lot as does a soother as a back-up. Children are highly sensitive to air pressure changes and if they can’t communicate verbally yet, they just cry and cry…and cry…and cry. Most people are very understanding but there is always the occasional grumpy person who wants their peace and quiet and doesn’t want to be distracted by a noisy baby or a screaming kid. I have even seen parents give candy bags to fellow passengers with a little note pre-apologizing if their kids are disruptive during the flight or bus trip. I think most parents respect their fellow passengers and do anything they can to keep their kids’ disruptions at a minimum.
If you have children who are siblings, I highly recommend getting 2 of everything so your kids don’t fight over who has the biggest toy, the tastiest drink, the most colourful sticker, or some other creative superlative. One of our hardest trips (besides the flight back and forth from Vancouver to Manila) was the 18 hour bus trip from Vancouver to Calgary. We were visiting Anne’s sister and decided to take the bus since the Rockies probably had snow. We brought along several colouring books, activity kits, stickers, toys, music, and games. We each took one kid and when our son or daughter started getting noisy, we would switch. We let them out at the shorter bus stops along the way. The kids did incredibly well and this was good preparation for our longer journey through Central and South America.
Have you travelled with young children? What tips do you have for travelling with kids?