World Citizen Wednesdays #5: Tips for Traveling with Kids
Each week we pose a question to members of the fabulous Multicultural Kid Blogs group and share their answers here.
You can find out more about these wonderful bloggers by visiting our Facebook page, subscribing to our Facebook feed, following us on Twitter, or following our group Pinterest board! On Twitter, you can also find us by using the hashtag #multiculturalkids. And watch for our very own website, coming soon!
This week we ask:
What is your top tip for traveling with kids?
Mary of Sprout’s Bookshelf: The most important thing is to pack a sense of humor! It also helps to remember that you have paid for your seat and have just as much right to be there as anyone else – so don’t feel guilty if your kiddo is crying and you’re getting dirty looks from someone in front of you. For us, travelling with a wheelchair and a little one can be difficult, but we try to keep things fun. DVD player and movies (with headphones), color books with crayons (I like the ones that are flat or triangular so they don’t roll off the tray table), stickers, books (all of which are new and which he hasn’t seen before), snacks that are healthy but take time to eat, maybe a couple of new cars. We also put our son in between both of us so he can sprawl out across our laps if he wants to sleep.
Kim of Mama Mzungu: This may seem counterintuitive, but I like to travel light with the kids. As a new mom, my nervousness fueled a huge arsenal of “emergency toys,” half of which we didn’t use and it just weighed us down and made traveling with the kids even “schleppy-er.” On a long trip with a very young one, I would pack 1-2 new books/toys, in addition to some favorites, but also get creative with what’s around you – my son spent a good 20 minutes looking at the safety placard on the plane and then we spent another 20 finding pictures of planes and animals in the in-flight magazine. Hey, it’s all new to them. : )
Daria of Making Multicultural Music: I always made sure my kids had their own camera (no matter how young, no matter how simple the camera). That way they captured what they were seeing and what was important to them. Also, less charming here but I always carried their favorite snack food (goldfish, favorite cereal) so if they totally did not like the local food, they could have something to remind them of home.
Amanda of Miss Panda Chinese: Have a surprise bag filled with toys, activity books, books that the kids have never seen before. Take out one item at a time. On a 12-hour flight with my toddlers I had 6 items for each child. Most of them are from the dollar store. We also walked around on the plane from time to time to exercise. Stickers/sticker books are fun and can keep the kids busy. When my daughter was a few months old she cried from taking off to landing on a one-hour flight almost non-stop due to air pressure. It was quite an experience. When we were getting off the plane many passenger told the toddler brother how wonderful he was on the flight.
Sasha of Global Table Adventure: My husband once passed 30 minutes with our then 2 1/2 year old, going over the emergency plane pamphlet, cartoon by cartoon. She was fascinated and he’s ever more my hero haha.
Jill of Moms Gone Global: Two quick tips for traveling with school-aged kids: (1) Let them help pack. By this I mean hand them a small tote bag and give them some guidance on what to put in the bag (example: 3 favorite books, a pencil, drawing pad, small toys & a few favorite snacks). Make sure you give them a clear limit on the number of items, or they may try to pack everything they own! (2) Let them navigate the journey. My sons love maps and map apps that help them see where they are going and how to get there. On long trips, this keeps them engaged and content for long periods of time. Plus, mapping out geocaches is always fun to do when traveling. It’s a nice way to make a memorable connection with a new place. Here is more about geocaching for those that haven’t heard of it.
Cordelia of Multilingual Mama: Everyone (adults and kids) needs at least one spare change of clothes, individually packed in large zip lock bags. You’ll thank me as you are packing the vomit soaked shirt and bra you were wearing – and yes don’t forget a spare bra. A small 3oz spray bottle with febreeze might have made a nice addition. Of course I am also a big fan of giving Zyrtec or any previously prescribed medecine that causes drowsiness as well. (Can I just add that this was recommended by a very sensible pediatrician?) Finally, I am a big fan of letting kids pack a little bag of toys, that way, if something is missing, I remind my daughter she packed her own bag so she can’t throw a fit that I didn’t pack right.
Thanks to all the bloggers who shared their answers here! We will continue to share answers to this question next week. You can also read answers to earlier questions in our previous installments of World Citizen Wednesday, including tips for keeping holidays stress-free!
To find out more about these amazing bloggers, check out the Multicultural Kid Blogs Facebook page. And watch for our group website, coming soon!