Traveling with your kids is great way to do family bonding. Traveling creates memories together, while at the same time provides many parents with challenges. Regardless of the ups and downs of traveling with kids, it is a nice experience to travel your little ones while they are young in order to let them experience the world outside the four corners of their rooms.
We started building our experiences in traveling with a kid through our first child, whom we brought to nine countries before our second child was born. When our second child arrived, we knew that the situation would be different. We reflected for many times whether it would still be possible to travel during the early age of our second child, or we should wait until he is a little bit older. In the end, my husband and I’s passion to experience new places and cultures together with our kids, pushes us to continue traveling with them. We made some adjustments on the ways we travel since our situation this time is different, to make our experience more comfortable and enjoyable. Even after our first travel with two kids, we know that we made a good impression to our nearly three years old son, since he always tells that he wants to go on a vacation. 😉 So what has change in our modes of traveling from having one child to two children? Let me share you the ten things that we learned to make sure that your future family travel is more comfortable and enjoyable.
How to make traveling with kids child’s play?
1. Hire a car or arrange a private transport.
When we had only one child, it is very easy to visit and to transfer to different places using public transportation. However, having two children such as a toddler and a baby this time, makes traveling using public transportation became much more difficult. Thus, renting a car from the airport such as via EuRopcar and other rent a car companies, or arranging a private transport is more convenient during your travels.
2. Rent an apartment, house, or a villa when traveling with kids.
When we only had one child, we used to rent a hotel room, sometimes even a small one if our travel destination is expensive. However, hotel room is too small for a family of four unless you book a junior suite or family rooms, which are way too expensive. Thus, we decided to opt for accommodations that cater bigger spaces and play area for children, while at the same time offer cheaper prices than staying in a hotel. These accommodations include renting an apartment, house, or a villa. If you travel for longer stays such as more than a week to few months, renting a property is a very good alternative. Another advantage of renting is it allows you to cook, which saves a lot during travel, and it enables you to keep the rhythm of your children.
3. Switch from intense touristic activities to more relaxing ones.
We used to do city tours, museum and architectures visits, and other touristic activities for adults during our travels with our first child. However, a change in your itineraries from intensive to more relaxing activities, such relaxing on a beach, swimming on the pool, visiting zoos, and enjoying nature areas could be more fun and more educational for your kids.
4. Do less dining out especially in the evening when traveling with kids.
Dining out is a nice way to savour local delicacies. During our travels with our first child, we were still able to dine out though it was quite challenging. Whenever our child cried, we felt the uncomfortableness not only by our inconvenience but also mostly by the irritation from other visitors in the restaurants. Thus imagine when you are having two children, such as a toddler and a baby, being difficult in a restaurant. Instead of enjoying the ambience and savouring the food, parents might end up pacifying their children. Therefore, it would be best to reserve the dining out when your kids are old enough to understand and to listen to parents. A nice alternative is to cook and to eat like in your own home, which is easy to do when you rent a property during your vacation.
5. Check in luggage and upgrade for priority boarding during travel with kids.
It may cost a little, but checking in your luggage will give more comfort in moving around the airport than bringing your luggage to the departure area up to the flight cabin. Moreover, upgrading to priority boarding reduces the stress in boarding in the plane, more particularly if the flight is full of passengers.
6. Traveling with kids requires appropriate baby/child gear.
In our travels to the ten countries, we always bring our Koelstra baby/child cart and our Ergo baby carrier. We selected and bought these gears before our children arrived, for traveling purposes. We used both gears for our first son when we travelled with him. This time, however, we have to allocate which of the gear should each of our child use. Since our second child who is now five months old is lighter and likes to sleep when he is carried around, we used Ergo baby carrier for him. Then we used the Koelstra with toddler seating cart for our older son. This allows him to relax and to sleep whenever he is tired from travels. If you want more options on which travel gears to bring during your travel with kids, check out our blog on Kids travel gears to make travel child’s play.
7. Bring more entertainments during travel with kids.
For my toddler who does not get anymore our 100% attention, since half of this attention is already given to our second child, we bring more entertainments to keep him busy. This includes puzzles, his favourite stuff toy and reading books, and videos and games downloaded on smart phones.
8. Travel lightly.
You already bring heavy luggage with you – your kids – so don’t add extra weights to increase your burdens! Leave things that are more likely not to be use during your travels, such as a book that you will not be able to open, extra clothing which you might not be able to use (maybe better to buy local clothes in case you need extra), and various pair of shoes. Travelling lightly does not only increase your flexibility, but also reduces your carbon footprint.
9. Be flexible in time.
Leave the goal of visiting as many places as possible since you have kids (not one, but maybe more) who may not be able to adjust to intensive travel lifestyle. Instead, adjust your schedule to the needs of your kids by enjoying the place to the eyes of your child. Having no strict agenda and no expectations during travels makes your adventure even more exciting.
10. When traveling with kids, let them walk (if possible)!
Traveling provides opportunity for your kids, especially toddlers, to room around and to explore various places. Let them walk, run, and enjoy around (of course with proper guidance), and you will feel that your burden of carrying your child greatly reduces. Well, it is not only cute to look at your little travellers walking, but it is also good for their health. 😉