Oh, those four dreaded words – “Are we there yet?” Yes, you’re traveling with children. Traveling with children is like traveling with a pack of wild monkeys. They can be impatient, have a limited attention span, and seem to always throw that temper tantrum at the most inopportune times. In fact just the mere thought of traveling with kids is enough for some families to forego taking vacations until the children are old enough to act responsibly. But you shouldn’t let anything, let alone kids, stand in the way of a vacation, or a cross-country trip to see old Aunt Betty. So here’s a look at some traveling with kids horrors and possible “tricks” how to avoid them.
Doesn’t it seem that kids always push your buttons at the worst times? Like when you’re rushing through an airport to make your flight? Or when they have to go to the bathroom when you’re driving through the heart of middle-of-nowhere U.S.A.? It’s all about proper planning. Whether you’re traveling by land or by air, give yourself more than enough time.
Arrive to the airport at least 2 hours before your flight. This should give you plenty of time to get through security, and get settled at the gate before boarding. Then, you can take care of the bathroom situation, and get them something to eat with a minimum hassle. If you’re traveling by land, plan your route. Schedule lots of pit stops for bathroom breaks, and even consider making slight detours to stop into cool attractions along the way to help break up the trip.
Keep them Busy
We already mentioned the dreaded four words at the beginning of this article. Yes, if your kid is bored, your travels are going to be awful. So do your best to keep them busy. Try to arrange at least a portion of your travel during their nap time, that will buy you some much needed peace and quiet! Aside from that, try to pack a new toy or activity for each hour of your trip, puzzles, books, action figures, etc. The more occupied they are, the less likely they’re bothering you, or others.
We already talked about scheduling lots of stops along a road trip for potty breaks, but that’s by land. By air, an airplane restroom can be a toddler’s worst nightmare (not to mention yours too.) They’re cramped, they’re loud, they smell, and they’re unfamiliar, meaning that many toddlers are apprehensive to use them. So if you’re flying and you know your kid might have to use the potty, consider this simple solution, throw a pull-up on them for the flight. It might put a kink into your potty training structure, but it will avoid that oh-so-embarrassing meltdown in the cabin. Trust us, temper tantrums at 30,000 feet are no fun.
So don’t let traveling with your little ones be your albatross, just know how to deal with them. And simple forward thinking and doing some planning in advance can pay off big in the long run.