11 Things NOT to forget when Traveling with Kids: Babies, Toddlers and all in between – A Must Read!
This essential list of essential things Not to Forget when Traveling with Kids was first published on 31st Oct 2016. We have updated it and made some fab additions, enjoy.
We attended a wedding the past weekend and we met a family that flew in from Africa with their children…The mom was exhausted and really just wanted to have her kip. She told us she forgot the baby’s pacifier and comforter plus a few other bits! And therefore, had a nightmare flight…Have you ever gone through that? Then you an relate!
Reminded us of them days when our children were little and that is what inspired this post: Things not to forget when travelling with children of different ages!
Doesn’t matter whether it’s a road trip, long train journey or flight to Los Angeles, travelling with children can be either a ton of fun…or an exhausting experience!
What’s the fun bit?
Their contagious excitement and sheer exuberance when they see new things. You too get to see these things through their eyes… it is priceless.
Of course, short of packing the whole kitchen sink and bathroom cabinet, there are some things you must have with you when you travel with little ones. Simply because they are a big deal in a small body, in our lives while they are still young! Therefore, forgetting essential supplies when you are traveling with them can quickly turn a long-awaited dream family vacation into a nightmare of Goliathan proportions! Ask any mom or papa who has gone through this…
You don’t want to miss anything to avoid any tantrums or troublesome behaviour on your journey. You must thus plan and to start off you must have a packing list and we got you covered on that front with a list of over 115 items! Plus we shares what you may need in your Travel First Aid kit too! Yet believe it or not, kids have some extra demands. 🙂
Therefore, in order for you to enjoy your vacation, we have researched and from personal experiences, come up with a resource. An essential checklist of things not to forget when traveling with kids.
#1. Don’t Forget their Entertainment.
Children love routine however much they resist it when at home, they love to fall back on that when they are in unfamiliar surroundings. So, make sure you don’t forget their comforter, colouring book, pencils or crayons and soft toy.
If you are traveling with a teething baby a pacifier will be heaven-sent, for toddlers, you could even bring their favorite cartoon movie downloaded on your smartphone or tablet…! Yes, even babies have gone digital. I see so many toddlers who love Peppa Pig and will happily settle down to watch the same episode over and over, singing along…Mama Bliss!
By the way, as soon as our children could each carry their own lil back pack from the age of 4, they carried their entertainment. I remember they had Tweenies ones…Our son still has his Milo bag, won’t let it go! Our daughter had a Bella one, she wrecked it with chocolate lol…!
On that note, teach your children to travel light. Only allow them to pack a couple of toys, incl. a soft toy. Preferably not their favorite one, (if they loose it, there could be mayhem – heartbreak!) Then download their favorite digital games and kids’ entertainment on your tablet/Phone, let it be the play centre!
#2. The Kid or Pet – OMG has it happened to you?
One time, we were heading off to London with friends. They set off ahead in their car. The kids had chosen to Go in “Aunt’s cool Beemer with Back seat DVD Players!” We didn’t know their little boy decided he wasn’t going anywhere without his best friend…Winnie the Poo!
Our daughter had gone back inside to go find Winnie for him. Thinking everyone was in the cars, we too got ready to set off. Checking the side-mirror before driving off, Paul saw our daughter running down the drive, dragging the little boy with her!
She had also left the door wide open too! We laughed about it for miles, inside we were thanking God, Phew!
Yes, we can imagine you thinking, how awful, bad parents etc…(Don’t judge, just don’t forget the children, when travelling with them lol).
Same goes for your pet Chihuahua lol! What we are saying here is nothing is as important as your loved ones, So don’t forget them!
#3. Don’t forget the Documents.
Did you know that children under 2 years old can travel free on some flights as long as you carry them on your lap? Our children travelled extensively before the age of 2…Simply because they could go free. 🙂
Lots of parents don’t know this. Thing is, some airlines may ask for proof of age. More so if your little one looks kinda big for their age. Honestly it’s not common, but don’t assume your word will be taken as gospel.
So, bring a copy of your child’s birth certificate as well. Of course, in addition to your immunisation cards if traveling to some destinations that require certain jabs to be taken prior to travel.
Do not forget your tickets and passports for air travel, definitely on the list of things to pack when traveling anywhere!
#4. They tend to wear their food – Don’t Forget a Set of Spare Clothes.
Kids will be kids, esp. if they are learning to feed themselves. You will definitely find they end up wearing their food. So, if you wish to arrive at your destination with a smart insta-worthy toddler instead of a lil cheeky monkey. (Bless) This is an essential part of things not to forget when traveling with kids!
With toddlers, you can’t tell when a tantrum is coming on either, as travel can be stressful on them too. They will say the darnedest things to total strangers!
You see they like to appear a lil older than they are. That’s why they insist on DIY so they spill stuff and could do so on the helpful or nearby passenger! So, having a spare set of clothes and also tissues will come in handy! Plus, one can never have enough underwear, in Julie’s view anyways! :p
By the way, airports and most airlines tend to have the air conditioning on, which can get a wee bit cold. If you have a few hours’ transit, you too may need a set of warmer clothing including a cardigan, scarf, jacket, underwear and warm socks. For the little ones, this is doubly important unless you wish to spend your trip cleaning up snot, sick and checking temperatures! To avoid this…
Always ask for extra blankets as you get on or Off that long-haul flight. Ask the nice smiling air stewards for some. On some airlines, they even run out of those. Wrap your little ones up, it will help them settle down too!
The reason you ask for some blankets when disembarking off a flight, is to wrap up warm as you wait in transit for your next flight. More so if you have a few hrs to kill before the next one!
If you are traveling by road pack extra light blankets and scarves. It does get cold in most places at night. Your children will be kept warm up in the back as you drive.
We once got stuck on the M6 from a London bank holiday get away! 🙁 Our car had a mechanical problem and wouldn’t go beyond 20 miles/hour. It took us 8.5 hrs to get to Liverpool (normally takes 3.5 -4 hrs!) Fortunately our children were happily in la-la land most of this time. Cosy in the extra blankets we had packed!
Short of packing the whole kitchen sink and bathroom cabinet, there are some must haves when you travel
#5. Germs Alert – Hand Sanitizer and Baby Wipes!
We aren’t fear mongers; this is a fact of life!
And while our children are now teenagers and can travel solo. We never let them go anywhere without these items! You cannot imagine the number of germs we touch along our travels on: hand rails, escalator guards, doors, seats etc. So, wipe them hands clean, wipe flight seats and tables. Squirt some hand sanitizer all over your hands before you eat anything!
Wipe that small flight table before you put your food or snacks on it! All you need is a 100ml hand sanitizer bottle.
You can also use wipes to wipe down the toilet seat before use!
I don’t know about yours, but teenagers are as bad as toddlers. They never wash their hands after using the loo…Enter baby wipes and Antibacterial Gel before snacks or food, potential problems averted!
RECOMMENDED: ULTIMATE SMART TRAVEL CHECKLIST
#6. Empty bottle and plastic tumbler
Not for peeing in, aw shucks lol. Simply because those airport water fountains are too high for a thirsty toddler, yet you can fill an empty bottle for them, from the fountain! Which you are allowed to carry through airport security.
The tumbler is for the same use, and for serving them some juice or drink! Creatures of habit remember? If your child is a finicky eater, having a drink in a familiar tumbler or glass can help you get over that on a long journey!
#7. Okay Vacation police hang fire – Homework!
Let’s also talk about older children. Like 6-15 yrs. old. You are going on a long trip, or flight and they have homework to hand in or keep on top of when they get back. Why not use the travel time to get that done and catch up?
In fact, all children of reading age can catch up with their reading on a trip. You can join in the fun and help them learn too.
We’re not saying children should do homework while on holiday. No, it’s their time off too. But to and from the holiday, Yes, absolutely they should. You can even check the homework so all is done when you get home as well! Two birds, one stone.
Just be sure it is packed. One of the things not to forget when traveling with kids in term time, esp. on the return trip. You will have tears if they did all that good work and lost the book somewhere in Punta Cana!
#8. Preparation is Key
Yes, on the list of things not to forget when traveling with kids over the age of 4 is preparation. Clichéd as it is, success is 90% preparation.
Our son was not prepared for seeing live baby animals when we went to our farm on a Christmas vacation. He wanted to bring the little piglets into the car with us, and said they needed bathing, feeding and put to sleep…in bed. He wouldn’t let them be! Lots of squealing from them and mama piggy!
Have you had a screaming child who doesn’t understand that his favorite toy animal is real and has its own space! And when you fly back home and he’s inconsolable for leaving them behind! Even though we bought him a soft piggy toy…! Then he was frightened that the toy had to go on the conveyor thru security and he simply wasn’t having it…!
While we never anticipated all this, it’s important to explain what could happen ahead of time, to your little ones!
We had to explain that Milo and piggy were safe on a conveyor belt. If you prepare your children as much as you can, you will not have an upset little one for half of your vacation!
#9. 2 Days Pack Rule – Diapers and Nail clippers
Okay we’re not weirdos, seriously have you ever bought diapers in an airport. We did once and we felt ripped off. Yes $28 for a pack of 20 diapers…! They cost under £7 in our local supermarket! Ouch.
Definitely, you want to have enough to last at least 2 days. Just in case your sweet little one’s belly disagrees with airport snacks, flight/hotel food etc…! Yes, some airlines may have some on board, but if they don’t then what? If you have a baby/toddler these are essentials on the list of things not to forget when traveling with kids!
Nail clippers and scissors. Why?
Well why not…You want to avoid equipment that you don’t know, in case you need to clip some nails or other bits! You will need these on your travels with children believe it or not. Yes…that’s our excuse and we are sticking to it! 😉
#10. Sun hat, Cream and Baby powder huh!
Paul and I grew up in Africa, all our young lives. We never got sun burn. What is sun cream or after sun spray? And who worries about burning and cracking in Africa anyway? Bigger things to think about like food, shelter, school fees etc. Yet ever heard that:
“Black don’t crack…! Well that’s crap”
Black people do burn and crack lol. When we moved to UK we realized how true this is. Brings to mind when we visited Marmaris, Turkey. We all burned real bad and our skin peeled for weeks after. It was painful in parts and itchy…Ouch! We’ve never gone anywhere hot without sun cream ever again!
So, do take your 30+ factor sun cream and hats, use them religiously. Our GP explained that European sun is quite different from African sun…Huh! That was news to us…yet our skins agreed with him. The sun hat also protects your children’s eyes and scalp from burning!
Baby powder is awesome for keeping your clothes off your skin, and stop you feeling all sticky in hot temperatures. You get to smell great too-ish! lol
#11. Gum, Mints and Candy – Ssshhh for the bribes!
Yes, sometimes a parent’s gotta stoop to bribery! As a reward for good behaviour and even as a soother. Them candies will come in handy! The mints do help with fresher breath for adults too…! They are also great ice breakers with your flight mate! Well it’s our excuse for advocating for these teeth destroyers!
Plus, if you suffer from “exploding ears” on take-offs and landings, you will be grateful for the gum and candy! Suck and chew away as hard as you can, it will help reduce that painful pressure in your ears!
Final words on things Not to forget when traveling with kids:
Ultimately, you know your baby, toddler, child, what they need and don’t need. So, don’t sweat it, you got this! You could decide to buy some basics at your destination to save on weight! Although, you face the possibility of finding your resort miles away from anywhere and you pay thru the nose in the hotel shop if they do stock what you need!
It’s essential that you don’t forget your children’s prescriptions in case you ever need to get some meds without visiting an A & E. Better still check out our natural remedies to pack on your travels!
With that said, lighten up have fun, neither you nor the little ones will be harmed for leaving a pacifier or pair of socks at home! So if you do forget them, simply breath and say it is well! Give them a piece of chicken bone….it does same job… 🙂
This list is for guidance only. Download it 100% Free below if you are a newbie traveller or forget stuff lots!
So did you enjoy our essential list of Things NOT to Forget when travelling with kids for vacation? We sure hope so for we know just how much we all love peace and fun while away from home! We want to you to See, Do and Be More, stress free! If you did enjoy, by all means do Pin this Post, Like and also Share on Social Media…
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Syl & Pauli Kalungi
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