Children are not very easy to handle especially when going out of their comfort zone. Long haul flights, different environment, adjusting to weather and time changes, these are all considerations to be taken seriously. Travelandleisureasia.com asked their readers and experts to list down tips for family travel. I have compiled all those applicable below.
Kristel Da Silva Curran
“Don’t limit yourself to where you can go. Most holiday destinations now cater specifically to families. Your children are probably more versatile than you think. Give them a few days and most will adapt easily to their surroundings.”
“If at all possible, bring the nanny. Even if you spend every waking minute with your kids, this gives you the option of sneaking out for some grown-up time after they fall asleep.”
Consolidate. Less really is more when it comes to air travel with the family, so keep bags to a minimum.
“Dirty clothes take up so much more space in a suitcase than clean clothes. Vacuum-seal bags are the answer. They’ll deflate your laundry into a manageable little bundle.”
Jacqueline de Segonzac
“Keep a travel bag ready to grab for any trip, loaded with the essentials: Band-Aids, Tylenol, thermometer, sunscreen, bug spray, shampoo.”
Pack based on your destination. If you are headed to off-the-grid hinterlands, bring everything you might need, but if you are going to a city, leave the suitcase full of diapers at home.
Use packing cubes: one per child, per stay. This will save you from the chaos of packing and unpacking at each resort.
“Baby wipes. Don’t have a baby? Doesn’t matter. Kids of any age need to be cleaned up at some point, and wipes are the perfect, portable solution.”
Mandy Smith (above)
“A good baby carrier instead of a stroller. Travel (and life in general) is simplified by a sturdy carrier that allows you to be handsfree for toting luggage or holding hands. By contrast, strollers are a hassle to take through security lines… and to check under the plane upon boarding… and to wait for on arrival.”
“An inflatable ball. This light, space-saving toy comes in handy when we decide to rest in a park or open area. Just inflate it and the kids will have a good time running around and playing catch.”
“Ask the flight attendant for a plastic cup with ice and straws. Toddlers find the combination weirdly entertaining.”—Joanna Goddard
“Have their favorite snacks handy. Munching while watching cartoons on KrisWorld, the Singapore Airlines children’s entertainment program, will make the flight feel shorter.”
“Enjoy it. Kids usually mimic their parents’ moods and behaviors. Happy parents equal happy kids.”
“Never pre-board. Why on earth would you want to be stuck on the plane for any longer than absolutely necessary?”
“Dress your kids in slip-on shoes. Nothing is more frustrating than juggling carry-ons while trying to tie and untie sneakers for security checks.”
“Get out the gadgets. Screen time is a necessary evil when you’re taking long-haul flights. While limiting TV-watching at home is wise, allowing kids to watch in-flight movies in transit will not cause permanent damage to them. On the other hand you might need therapy afterwards if you try to be a purist throughout 24 hours of travel without TV .”
“Sit apart on the plane. This may sound counterintuitive, but we swear by it. If you’re traveling with your husband/wife/partner, don’t sit together. Instead, get two aisle seats far apart on the plane. If you’ve got two kids, it is basically a divide-and-conquer tactic. But even if you have just one, splitting up is great for the parents, as you each get frequent breaks and aren’t on co-baby-duty for the entire flight, and great for the baby, as it keeps things interesting.”
Jacqueline de Segonzac
“Turn outings into scavenger hunts to keep the kids entertained. At the mall, spot how many people are wearing hats. At the beach, see if they can find a blue umbrella, a shiny rock, a long-tail boat.”