Tis’ the season for holiday travel! Whether you’re packing your crew in a car, plane, or train, everyone can use a strategy when it comes to traveling to and from your destination with your kids in tow. We’ve got a few tried and true tips from our experience as well as from fellow families traveling with kids in the Curated Care community.
Pack an arsenal of just-in-case items.
Every parent knows to have a few standby items on hand at all times: wipes, hand sanitizer, tissues and snacks. Additionally, plan for a few add-ons specific to your trip. If you have younger kiddos, pick up a few cheap but interesting new toys to engage your little one (think $1-$5 items at Duane Reade, not $30 at a toy store). The simple newness of an item, from a toy car to a hairbrush to a Tupperware container, can ward off a potential tantrum. For older kiddos, give them a task. Create a travel scavenger hunt where kiddos have to look for certain items (i.e. a travel pillow, a Hudson News, a tiny baby, a dog in a travel crate or bag, etc.) at the airport or in the car.
Stick to your routine as much as possible.
Keeping your kiddo’s general meal times, nap times, and play times synced with what they’re used to can be comforting to your child and will help you better predict your kiddo’s attitude and energy level throughout your trip. Traveling is no time to change up a routine!
Save the iPad for Defcon 3.
That evil, magical device can be a saving grace for a bored kid, but it’s often hard to trump the iPad if your trip is long and your child starts getting anxious and antsy in spite of it. Try other strategies (coloring books, snacks, etc.) before heading to the iPad so you have it available when you really need it.
Keep calm and carry on.
Kids are sponges for your mood and energy. Travel is stressful. The best thing you can do is mentally prepare for this and make a concerted effort to keep your emotions in check. Take a second and imagine the worst-case scenarios: blow out diapers, epic tantrums, angry seatmates on the airplane, etc. Even if everything terrible happened, you’d still survive. Try to preempt worst-case scenarios with the tips above but also know that if your kiddo has a meltdown and throws up their lunch in their car seat, this too shall pass. Take a breath and imagine your holiday beverage awaiting your arrival.
Vacationing with a travel sitter? Set expectations before you travel.
Always discuss the following beforehand:
- Payment: Hourly rate versus daily rate. Make sure everyone is on the same page.
- Routine: What constitutes a workday? Discuss hours.
- Clean up: What level of clean up is expected? (general tidying up of themselves and your kiddos, or is more required?)
- Meals: What are you providing your sitter?
- Attire: Is there a pool at your destination? Is your sitter joining you for dinner with the family? Discuss circumstances that may require specific attire to be packed.
- Sleeping arrangements: Discuss logistics. Will your sitter have a separate space to sleep, or will they be in the same room as the kiddos? Discuss this as well as the general protocol for private downtime.