Do you find yourself wondering how to make traveling with a child to a success? What do you pack to entertain and protect your little one? Toys? The favorite teddy? What medicine do you take along? What is essential vs nice to have? Here is our guide on HOW TO TRAVEL WITH A CHILD:
Travel With Your Child
My daughter’s first plane trip was when she was five months old. Since then, she’s been on planes almost 30 times & she is not even three years old. Her travels included Europe, the USA & United Kingdom. The flights varied from eight hours to short distances. Some of the adventures we had were to relax at the beach and others were active such as exploring Rome, Positano, nearby islands, and hiking Mount Vesuvius.
As a single mom traveling, what worked for me? How did I ensure our trips went smoothly?
HOW TO TRAVEL WITH A CHILD for starters: You want to bring enough essentials for the journey, though you don’t want to overpack. After all, what goes in the handbag, must be carried around. For me, it’s always the same. Everything goes in the main luggage, except for things that can save you lots of trouble while traveling.
Getting to your final destination: The Travel Part:
1. Depending on the child’s age, you should not forget diapers. Have enough of them. They’re light to pack, so it won’t hurt you to have many extras. Pack one for every two hours of the trip. Then add enough supply to last another full day. Why? I’ll explain shortly.
2. Always have a change of clothes available. That means, extra shirt, pants, and two pairs of undies and socks.
3. Medicine. Always take all medicine taken daily, including any allergy-related ones. It’s also important to pack something for unexpected fever.
4. One, or two books. Add also an activity book with stickers, or equivalent. Favorite blanky, and of course, one or two small toys.
5. Baby formula, and snacks such as crackers. Prepare some cut fruit just before the trip & place it in a small bowl.
6. Wet wipes.
HOW TO TRAVEL WITH A CHILD – My tip:
Leave the car seat at home. Instead, arrange for a rented one if you’re getting a car on the other side of the journey. I have seen families struggle with carrying it to the plane. All that unnecessary weight and eventually, it might not even fit on the seat! It’s a drama all around & frustration that can be avoided. Rent it, or ask your family/friends to borrow one if they pick you up. Above should set you for a comfortable start to a journey. You have packed enough, but not too much.
Why should you always prepare for an extra day?
Well, because things happen & you may miss your connection (plane/train, etc). To me, that happened twice already as we’ve traveled from Europe to the USA with a somewhat tight connection. Key to making it painless? Don’t stress, don’t yell at customer support, and don’t panic. Accept the circumstances & see the benefits of it. You can rest half-way & come to your destination more refreshed. Remember, you may not have access to the check-in luggage should that happen to you. However, having an extra change of clothes, enough diaper supplies, and medicine, would allow you to stay comfortable. For us, there was no drama.
Once at your destination: The Fun Part:
What matters most once you reach your destination? Let’s focus on having a great time, relaxing, and making the experience all in. Did you realize that something was left unpacked? Don’t stress. Local stores probably have the equivalent of what you need no matter where in the world you are.
At a beach: Bring plenty of sunblock for your child. For the face, I personally love the stick which is effective in protecting the little ones. Always pack plenty of water. Rent an umbrella. Shield your child from the sun at all times. Personal advice: Bring your child’s bowl with fresh fruits and don’t forget to bring enough water. Put it in the cooler & serve to your child at a beach.
Hiking: My wildest experience with my daughter to-date is when I have taken her to climb Mount Vesuvius. Mount Vesuvius is a stratovolcano located on the Gulf of Naples in Campania, Italy. It was an experience I’ll never forget. My daughter, while less than two years at a time had so much fun. My personal tip: No matter what your expedition is, always bring a carrier. Children tire easily during new adventures and you will end up carrying them. In your backpack, carry water, fresh fruits, some dry snacks. Have an extra-light jacket, or sweater available, in case the temperature drops suddenly.
Dinners/Family events: This is the time when nothing matters more than enjoying the event. If you’re trying to have a quiet night, take your buggy for your child to fall asleep in. Family event? Take advantage of many babysitters available.
What are some essentials you shouldn’t travel without?
Most handy items I don’t travel without 1. Water Bottle: I always refill mine. I use it everywhere to keep hydrated and save the planet. 2. Backpack: Trying to look fashionable while on a trip is not the most comfortable option. No matter how short your excursion is, having a handbag will get in your way. The backpack is much more practical and will make a difference.
Do I need Travel Insurance?
This should be an easy one. If you can afford a trip, surely you can spare extra money to ease your mind. Why? As I’ve said before, things happen. My second trip to the USA, I opted out of the travel insurance. It was a beautiful summer in North Carolina’s OBX, nothing can happen, right? Well, it did. My daughter who is prompt to infections from an early age started to have uncontrollable fevers. Soon after, I was in the lobby of an Emergency Room.
Diagnoses came back with UTI & an ear infection in both ears. To make things even worse, we were two days from flying back home. Shortly, there was dismissal from the hospital with a prescription for antibiotics. And a warning, that my daughter cannot fly for a week.
Make a wise decision
Luckily, my daughter’s medicine kicked in relatively fast & we were able to enjoy the rest of our extended holiday. Still, amending our flight set me back $400. That’s after many emails to customer service proving it’s due to an emergency. Else, we were looking at a much higher penalty. A few weeks later, a $1,300.00 hospital bill arrived in the mail. Combined, this could have been another travel ticket. Therefore, topping your trip with insurance protection is a way better option. Something I have been doing since.
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