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Travel with Kids: Helpful Tips

Traveling is an exciting, educational, and relaxing part of our lives. We've met so many people along the way that believe once you have children, it becomes impossible to travel. People have so many reasons as to why they can't imagine doing what we are  currently doing with our son.  There are so many concerns you don’t have to consider or worry about when it’s just you and your friends, your significant other, or best of all, by your lonesome. Throw the kiddos in the mix, and travel changes completely but its more than doable! We are living proof that kids don’t have to cramp your travel goals and or style. Here are a few pointers we have learned along our journey through Africa with our little road warrior.

Family taking a boat ride in Rabat, Morocco.

 1.     Take late night flights if possible (likely that kids will sleep the entire flight or at least most of the flight).

2.     Bring earplugs and/or gum for the takeoffs and landings to help with the change in pressure and their ears.  

3.     Include them in planning the trip and activities (they are likely to enjoy the trip more and do less complaining if their ideas are actually included).

4.     Do a daily process check with them to ensure the trip is going well for them and address any concerns they may have.

5.     Make sure they have their own personal items to keep them entertained (i.e. games, headphones, electronics). Bring some small toys that they prefer to play with. With our son, he is not going anywhere without some hot wheels and Legos.

DJ enjoying a movie between flights in the Airport, Dakar, Senegal.

6.     Avoid bus trips if possible if there is no restroom aboard. Can't stop when the child needs to use the toilet. Having a boy has its advantages. Sometimes a empty water bottle and a sweater to shield his business can get the job done. If you have little girls, long bus trips may be a "no bueno."

7.     Use Netflix to download kid friendly movies on a tablet in case there is no WIFI or movie on the plane, bus, or train.

8.     If traveling to an international destination where the movies or television shows are in a foreign languages, then bring a  firestick or downloaded movies and TV shows.
9.    Travel with plenty of foods/snacks! Need I say more. Our son loves to eat and he loves to eat often. Make sure to bring plenty or water and fruit to keep the little ones healthy and hydrated. 

10.  Take a day off and relax. Give the kids a chance to recoup and just play around the hotel or  airbnb

Taking the train from Joburg to Capetown, South Africa

11.   Ziploc bags are your best friend when it comes to packing. Using the Ziploc bags allows you to compact belongings before packing them the in the suitcase.

12.    Ensure you know where qualified medical professions are located in case medical or dental services are needed for the little ones. Plan how to get to the services in case they are necessary in the wee hours of the night. The US embassy provides lists of suggested medical professionals in each country.

13.   Travel with a backpack that includes a change of clothes, first aid supplies, medicines, and wet wipes. Plus keep a roll of tissue handy. You never know when you will need it. 

14.   Travel with an inflatable bed. We have a twin size bed that has served as a backup bed in case we need a second bed at our accommodations. 

15.   Essential oils and supplements are your friend and aid to keep the little one healthy while on the road. We purchased all the essential oils we could get our hands on before leaving the States. We have used them to clear up stuffy noses  and even made our own insect repellent. They come in handy on the road. 

Traveling with kids can be a bit time consuming but, the experiences for the kids will be extraordinary. Above all else, get out and see the world with your children. Hearing them discuss and react to experiencing different cultures, languages, and places makes all the preparation well worth it. 

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