Traveling long distances abroad as a family can be challenging, especially for families with young children. Following some basic guidelines when on the road (or in a plane, on a boat, etc.) will help make your travels more peaceful. We have tips for maintaining sanity while enjoying your travels. (These tips are in addition to our general Tips For Traveling Abroad found around the website.)
Bring along helpers – if at all possible, co-op help during the trip. If you have a friend or family member who is able to join you, bring them along; especially if your children-to-parent ratio is high. If you can afford it, hiring a babysitter to join you on the trip can also make things run more smoothly. A good helper on the road is worth their weight in gold! Surprisingly, bringing a sitter may also not be as expensive as you might expect. You can likely negotiate a deal such as paying travel costs in exchange for a certain amount of babysitting and help along the way. Having another adult or even teenager along can make the journey much more pleasant for both parents and kids.
On the Plane
For airplane trips, limit carry-on bags to one per person. When traveling as a family, having too much on hand will slow you down and increase the risk of lost baggage. Keep bags to a minimum, even if the idea of packing in a few more items is tempting. You want as little as possible to have to keep up with especially through security and during boarding. Young children can carry their own backpacks so each family member can be responsible for their own items. With one bag per person getting around is easier and items are less likely to get lost. This is also a good rule of thumb for road trips to keep clutter in your vehicle contained while you are on the road.
Pack an Emergency Medical Kit
This kit need not be enormous, but be sure to have the basics on hand to cover any medical problems that may occur. At a minimum you should have bandages, first-aid ointment, hydrocortisone, and pain relievers. Those would be the very basics. To be extra prepared it wouldn’t hurt having children’s pain fever reducer, teething aids, and anti-nausea medication. Have your physician give you a prescription of the new cream Phenergan because with little ones you never know when little stomachs will get upset, especially during a flight. Or, for a natural alternative, tea tree oil is known for many medicinal qualities – including fighting nausea and/or motion sickness.
Perhaps the most important advice is to organize your trip. Good organization in any arena helps everything run smoothly. Organizing and planning your trip could and should begin once you’ve decided to take the trip. Organization begins with the basics: hotel reservations, flights, and any special event admission tickets. Take care of the basics as early as possible. A written itinerary will help you make the most of your time. Having everything written down including the things you need to do before the trip as well as what you will be taking with you, can increase your ability to relax during your travels without the nagging feeling that you forgot to take care of or have forgotten something.