Before you have kids, packing for a holiday is a relatively simple endeavor. All you really need is your passport, your ticket and a good pair of walking shoes. If you’re not leaving the country, you only really need the shoes. But it’s a whole new ballgame once kids are in the picture.
[Photo by ksfc84]
Here’s a handy check-list for taking the littluns on travels:
Back in the old days, children under a certain age could travel under their parents’ passports. But these days, all kids need to travel with a passport! Don’t get caught out if you’re going abroad.
Particularly if you’re going on a summer break, hats, sun cream and protective swimwear are a must. If your child burns easily, you should consider zinc and even sunglasses. Don’t forget to put on the sun cream at least 20 minutes before going into the sun, and to reapply every 2 to 3 hours.
Clothes can easily be washed in hotel bathrooms; and if there is an emergency, it’s unlikely you’ll be too far from a place that sells cheap clothing for children. Same goes for nappies – they are available everywhere, so bring a supply for the day of travel and purchase for the rest of the trip at your destination. It’s worth remembering that a lot of airlines place restrictions on baggage weight and will charge you extra if you exceed the limit.
When it comes to prams and pushchairs, the smaller the better for getting on the plane, in and out of buses and rental cars. Some people even purchase a cheap, second-hand pram that is okay if a bit battered in transit.
A favorite blanket or toy will be invaluable if you’re going somewhere unfamiliar. A portable DVD player, laptop or an iPad loaded with favorite TV shows may also come in handy, particularly if there is a long car journey involved. If you child is a fussy eater, it might be worth packing a stash of favorite snacks. Remember that while it is okay to take unsealed food items on to the plane, the customs of each country may have rules on what you can bring off the plane when you arrive. Meat and dairy products might not be allowed through customs.
Any prescribed medication, plus a good range of your trusted brands of medicines and all the necessary items for clearing up boo-boos.
Don’t try to cram in too much into each day when on holiday. Jet lag can have lingering effects on children and adults alike. Don’t be surprised if your child’s sleeping pattern is all over the place on the first couple of days. Jet lag isn’t just about feeling tired, it can also make you hungry at irregular times of the day. If your kids are hungry make sure you have plenty of snacks to satisfy their hunger, don’t be tempted to wait until lunch dinner to feed them properly.
If you are traveling with particularly young children, chances are they might not remember the holiday in years to come. Always have a camera or smart phone handy so you can capture those special moments. That way you can look back at the photographs together when they are older.
People will naysay about taking kids on holiday, but traveling with your children doesn’t need to be a hassle. Having kids shouldn’t mean you have to stay at home all the time – a few precautions and a bit of planning will mean smooth sailing wherever you choose to take them.
Have you taken your kids on holiday? Where did you go? Did you encounter any unexpected difficulties?
Kris Bannister is a travel writer for holiday extras company, BookFHR.