The Ultimate Guide to Traveling Solo with the Kids!
The Ultimate Guide to Traveling Solo with the Kids
Not all classrooms have four walls…
Life is short and the world is wide! Traveling is very fulfilling and helps us to build a beautiful bank of memories. But, traveling on a journey alone with kids can be daunting and even overwhelming to some.
We, at The Nestery have compiled a great collection of tips to help you make that solo journey with your toddler as smooth as possible and convince you to plan a trip, if you haven’t already!
PLAN PLAN PLAN!
- Talk about the trip in advance to your child and prepare them for the stay away from home and your partner. If you have older kids, give them the chance to join in while planning the places to visit at the destination.
- Book flights that are already in air around the time of your child’s bedtime or naptime for shorter flights. Your child will be well rested and refreshed to enjoy the new place.
- When flying abroad, choose flights with longer layovers when making connections. Running across huge airports with a jet lagged child can be a traumatic experience and at worst, can result in you missing connections.
- Book hotels or service apartments keeping in mind your child’s preferences when it comes to food. Can they manage with outside food or do you want to have the option to cook for them when they feel homesick and tired of outside food? Think over and plan according to your needs.
- Research and list child-friendly restaurants at the destination which can accommodate your and child’s special food preferences.
- Where possible, ensure that trip facilitators are aware of any food allergies you or child may have. It may also be a good idea to learn how to communicate your food allergy in the local language of your destination.
- Be cognizant of local regulations of your destination and be prepared with documentation and car seats accordingly.
- If your airline offers the facility, web check-in in advance.
- If you are traveling by train, be prepared to walk kids up and down the length of the train.
- Ensure kids know your contact details, and if it is possible, get kids to wear a ID tag with your details and a GPS device for added safety.
- Talk to your child about safe people to approach (security, police) if lost and always keep an eye on them while outside. Having them dressed in bright colors can also help.
PACKING – BE JUDICIOUS AND WISE!
- Packing your suitcase - Pack light for yourself and keep two extra sets for child.
- Carry a sling with important travel and ID documents, and money, and keep it on your person always.
- Always keep extra cash in suitcase for emergency and never carry any valuables like jewelry – distracted parents taking care of their children, make easy targets for pickpockets.
- Pack a backpack with couple of changes of clothes for child and yourself, wet bag for soiled clothes, wipes, extra diapers for a child in diapers, medicines, some books, toys, and snacks.
- If baggage is delayed in transit, your backpack should have enough clothes to tide you through a day or two.
- Check airlines rules for carrying pumped breastmilk if you pump, along with packing the pumping gear, carry enough of formula tins to last the trip if your child is on formula.
- While carrying your medicines, be mindful of your destination country’s regulations and carry prescriptions if required. Also, be prepared for child’s medical emergencies by keeping a few basic medicines on hand.
- Carry lots of snacks. Some amount of junk is fine too; it gets kids excited about their holiday. Remember, a well fed kid = lesser tantrums and meltdowns.
- Depending on the child’s age and interests, it would be a good idea to keep some new toys, books, travel size board games, crayons, scribble pad, or coloring books handy to keep your child occupied.
- Also keep a favorite old doll or toy with you for when child gets homesick.
- If your children get screen time at home, pack a device and keep some downloaded videos on it which can be shown even in the absence of network.
WHILE TRAVELING AND AT DESTINATION
- Before traveling, avoid heavy or greasy food for your child.
- Start for the airport or station with enough time in hand. Children are unpredictable - spit ups, last minute bathroom trips or tantrums and meltdowns are all too common and you do not want to end up missing your train or flight due to unforeseen delays.
- Choose plane seats depending on your circumstances - back seats are easier for frequent bathroom trips with a younger child and seats in the middle are better for more play space and leg room.
- During take offs and landings, try to nurse your baby, or give them something to eat or drink, because swallowing minimizes ear pain.
- Do not hesitate to ask for help from attendants and use a meet and assist service, where possible. You need all the help you can get!
- Baby wear or carry a stroller depending on the destination. Some countries also offer stroller rentals.
- For older kids, get them to be independent - let them carry their bags. Giving them a camera and a travel journal may also encourage them to record their travelogue.
- At the start of each day of the trip, prepare your child by talking to them about the plans for that day.
- Play games like I Spy, talk about all the sights around you, and let your child observe and ask questions. Satisfy their curiosity.
- Be flexible with your plans. Accept that you may not be able to cover all that was planned when traveling with a child.
- Schedule some downtime for every day. It could be a nap, or just cuddle time or reading books together – anything that relaxes the child.
- Try to use public transport; it is fun for kids to experience different modes of transport.
- Have some time for adult activities and some activities for kids planned for each day to avoid boredom for the child.
- Use basic hygiene and wash hands (yours and child’s) before eating food. While we do not normally use a sanitizer or an antibacterial hand wash at home, we do advocate carrying a sanitizer while traveling.
- Avoid risky foods such as seafood, undercooked meats, and unpasteurized dairy products. Stick to places which seem hygienic when eating raw fruits or salads.
- Make sure your child uses the restroom at regular intervals; carrying a toilet seat sanitizer comes in handy to avoid infections from public bathrooms.
- Try to make time for video calls with your partner so that your child misses his absent parent a bit lesser.
While traveling with kids, always be geared to handle the worst but also prepare to be amazed by your child’s resilience and adaptability! Traveling with your child will be one of the best memories you can ever gift them.
“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give, to roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live.” – Hans Christian Andersen