We all know that traveling with kids can be very stressful. Whether it’s juggling all things or managing meltdowns, it can be hard to keep your family travels running smoothly like a well-oiled machine.
It is normal for new parents to wonder if there is a possibility of having a stress-free long trip with their babies. Luckily, with the right mindset and a little pre-planning, family travel can be fun. Here are five simple tips for stress-free travel with babies:
1. Pack Light
We know it’s almost impossible to pack light when traveling with kids, but this is the best way to maintain your sanity during the trip. There is some bulk that is certainly one of the essentials, such as the travel crib, car seat, carrier, or baby stroller, but there are also areas you can cut down on like your suitcases.
Rather than packing loads of clothes, baby supplies, and toiletries, you can just pack one cube worth of clothes per family member. You can always but new supplies when you arrive at your destination. Baby wipes, formula, diapers, and snacks take up a lot of space, and yet they can be so easy to find in retail stores.
We recommend getting rid of the extra weight and scaling down to a carry-on-sized suitcase. This will not only relieve you the stress of lugging around everything but also gives you a chance to keep a close eye on the kids.
2. Be Willing to Bend the Rules
Even the not so strict parents have rules that govern their house. However, on travel days, you should try and keep an open mind. Travel days can be quite stressful for everyone. We know that travel days also include fits and attitudes, as well as irrational tantrums that are more than normal.
Hence, if you figure watching movies or playing on the iPad all day could save you a crying baby throughout the trip, then you should be willing to bend the rules. On travel days, it doesn’t hurt to set the bar low.
The aim is to make sure that your kids stay as calm as possible, not yelling, whining, or kicking the car seat.
3. Carry Snacks
Toddlers get hungry all the time, and they seem to get even hungrier when they’ve sat on the plane for hours. As crucial as games, toys, or books are, you should never leave the house without a stash of snacks.
Kids can’t keep whining if they’re stashing their face with unlimited pretzels and raisins. Hence, on long trips, always pack snacks.
4. Fly Early
Depending on how long you been traveling with kids, you probably have experimented with many different travel schedules. We know it can be hard to resist a good flight deal on a late afternoon, but we recommend that you fly out as early as possible.
Early flights eliminate the anxiety that comes with waiting to go to the airport. A 5 am flight retains you in mode from the minute you wake up to when you board the plane. With a severe task at hand, you have no time for anxiety.
Kids are also in their best moods when they’ve just woke up, and they will continue to nap on the plane. Most afternoon flights leave babies fighting naps the whole time, which then turns into a hot mess. But, with early flights, they have no choice but to succumb and fall asleep on the plane.
Early flights also help you arrive early and leave you with enough time to settle into your destination. Arriving early means you can rush to the local grocery and buy a few things.
5. Slow Down
Parenthood means that you no longer have the privilege to enjoy a long-weekend city break. When traveling with an infant or stroller, you’re lucky if a week is even enough to explore the new destination.
With babies, the go-go-go strategy when traveling just doesn’t work anymore. It could take you forever just to get out of the door, and as soon as you do, you’ll be on limited time till everyone becomes worn out again.
We recommend that you learn how to manage your time in short hour increments and take many breaks so you can keep everyone agreeable and happy. You need a nap too!
Hence, stick to about two or three activities daily and no more. The reward of slowing down will be happy babies who can’t wait to embark on another adventure the following day.