Weeks before the holidays, parents often start planning for the challenging “Travel with young kids”. Whether you’re worried to be that parent with the screaming baby and everyone’s eyes pinned on you, or the the parent of a toddler throwing a tantrum from being overtired – situations where you are made felt utterly incompetent and unable to take control by other passengers clearly not travelling with children (wonder if they ever had). I’m the parent of two little girls that have the vocal chords of a professional opera singer, I swear they must’ve swallowed a microphone when I wasn’t looking. I spend my time shushing them in hope of saving myself the embarrassment of being told off by some grumpy, intolerant passenger! Whichever challenge our children bring, travelling with young ones is often exhausting. We should remember, however, that they are little and stressing about it isn’t going to make things better.
The other travel hassle is packing! With airlines tightening up the ropes even more with their luggage allowances and weight restrictions, it’s highly essential to pack smart and travel light.
See my top 15 travel hacks for keeping the sanity of a parent dealing with the insanity of a little one, two or more… from baby to big kid.
- Travelling with a small baby – the Flyebaby flight hammock. It’s ultra-compact, lightweight, washable, and easy to carry in a travel pouch. Leaves you hands-free and lets baby sleep in a better position. The hammock is attached easily to the seat in front of you and around your waist. The main advantage of this little flight gadget is the face-to-face positioning, making the flight more enjoyable and peaceful for parent and baby. You can purchase the hammock on Amazon.com. More info on https://flyebaby.com/
2. The travel cot – Koodi Bubble Cot.
I find this travel cot the lightest in weight and most practical to pack, occupying very little space in the suitcase. Easy to assemble and the zip up netted front allows air circulation within the cot and protects baby from mini beasts. The mattress is inflatable but purchased separately. Even perfect to take to the beach. Age recommended 6-18mths. I would say 2-12mths for my baby. Available on amazon.com.
Extension lead – when travelling to a foreign country you may remember to pack converter plugs in your luggage or when you forget, you can request them from the concierge however this may mean they make one converter available. When you have phone charger, baby monitor, kids’ iPads etc. to connect, one converter plug just doesn’t help. An extension lead is essential and super practical. Avoids the tantrum when your child’s gadget is still in the queue for charging and not ready for when they need it.
4. Trunki – a toddler’s best travel buddy. Cute designs and appealing to toddlers, this little pull along trolley allows young ones to sit on their hand luggage and be pulled around when tired or simply pulled by themselves. It’s a ride on suitcase for little ones. Comes with stickers for personalisation – another something to do on the plane if you wish.
5. Z-flyte – Scooters with hand luggage attached for children to carry their own stuff and you carry nothing! A scooter and hand luggage for kids, all in one!
This ingenious scooter finally frees parents from having to carry kids’ hand luggage once they’re tired of carrying it themselves (often they get tired of it a little too quickly). I have previously travelled with a Trunki which both my kids and I loved but I hated having to drag it around together with my own hand luggage, especially when you have two or more tired children. Fortunately my two girls have outgrown it and since then we have taken the micro scooter and had them being zoomed around all sorts of airports. I struggle to understand why i don’t see more children on these. Saves you carrying a stroller (can be checked in if needed on holiday). My issue with the micro scooters was getting them through security and the on-board negotiation for them to be stored in a cloak cupboard only because the ones I have won’t fold down. Best deal found on Argos.
6. Headphone Splitter – a tiny little gadget that can save carrying two tablets or share one tablet if the other one has lost battery. For very long haul, one tablet can be used till its death and then you have the second child’s tablet in full power to carry on sharing.
The way it works is each child has their own set of headphones that you connect to the splitter and the latter is connected to the tablet allowing two children to share one tablet. I must admit, I would love my children to read or play games on the flight but there are times that the iPad gives us parents the much wanted peace and quiet even if just for an hour or two.
7. Travelling to a hot or tropical country?
Having a wildlife adventure or even exploring the outdoors? Watch out for those child blood-sucking mosquitoes.
They always seem to attack the kids first. These sticker-like, smiley face patches are lightweight, eco friendly and easy to use. No nasty chemicals as each patch contains Citronella, Eucalyptus and Peppermint, a natural and refreshing scent for humans but repulsive to insects. The repellent patch gets to work immediately. For best results, simply stick on clothes, hats, nappies, bags, sandals, pushchair, prams etc. Do not stick on skin. Each 3cm diameter patch provides 12 – 24 hours protection. Seal the packet to keep unused patches fresh.
8. Plain paper and a set of marker pens – for drawing, colouring, playing games like hangman or noughts & crosses or for some origami fun. I make paper fortune tellers which my girls colour in and write funny dares and tricks or silly questions inside. You can even dare to make paper aeroplanes and annoy all the other passengers, just kidding!
Ever played dots and boxes? How some paper and pens can keep your kids entertained for hours!
9. Snacks – essential to kill boredom and, lets face it, in-flight meals are just not nice! Home-made popcorn is light in weight and takes its own time to consume, energy bars are filling (e.g. Nakd bars or Deliciously Ella power balls are low in sugar), Ella’s Kitchen fruit pouches, Kalo mini rice cakes, homemade sandwiches, plain boiled pasta, bananas… just some examples of simple snacks that score points with kids.
10. Neck pillows – another great hand luggage buddy. Provides neck support and added comfort for adults and children.
11. Foreign currency – always take some with you and don’t wait to convert at the airport in case you arrive with tired and tantrummy kids. Have enough to buy food at arrival or a coffee and enough to pay taxi if needed.
12. Baby carrier – there are many in the market but I believe the babybjorn are the best. They have good support for baby and parent, especially for the parent’s back. Good back support is crucial when choosing your baby carrier.
There are a few babybjorn carriers in the market and some will last up to 3 years of age. With multiple carrying positions, this gadget really aids parents to stay hands-free on travel, also great to keep baby snug on board when asleep and most importantly hands-free until baggage claim where some airlines send the buggies and pushchairs to.
13. Card games – normal cards, UNO cards or any other card games are light in weight and low in volume. I love the gigantic playing cards from Tiger stores and we even take them to the beach or the pool.
14. Medicine pack – you can’t travel without this! Mine includes the following items: Calpol in sachets, Nurofen in sachets (you don’t want to be carrying bottles), medicine spoons, vapour rub, thermometer, plasters, Arnica cream, Arnica pills (the latter two for bumps and bruises), hand sanitizing gel, antiseptic wipes, teething gel or powder (for the ones with babies) and this is just about all you need for emergencies. Everything else can be bought at destination.
15. I’ve left this tip for last as I find that in this day in age the world has become a scary place and there are a lot of people out there that do things that go beyond my comprehension. I have taught my children a secret password that is assigned and known only by their parents (thereafter given to adults and relatives we trust). They have been taught that if anyone (strangers or known people including relatives) approaches them with a gift, candy or invitation to go somewhere, they should request the password. If that person can provide it then my children know it’s safe to go with them or accept something from them. This password is secret so they know they must never reveal it.
A good example of how this may be needed: We go to the beach every summer and beaches are packed. Say someone was to approach my child and say to them that they’ve come to get her to take her to mummy, that mummy is calling her. Chances are my child would go thinking she’s being taken to me. She would request the password and if the person was unable to provide, she would run to one of us or scream if she felt scared. This is so, so important as children do get approached all around the world at playgrounds, parks, school exits etc. Our children need to be told that there are strangers out there that may tell lies and may take children away. Communication is key so keep informed and arm your children with tools to protect them.
*Products of this blog are chosen and approved from personal experience and usage and have not been endorsed for any company or person. 15min Mom believes in only promoting brands and products she really believes in and trusts.