When you travel with the whole family, getting from one place to another is a little more complicated. Keeping everyone in the family safe and happy is an important consideration. So, try these tips to make sure that you complete your trip tired and happy, but completely sane.
1. Accommodate the kids.
Jet lag, the difficult adjustment from one time zone to another, happens to everyone. And, if it is bad for you, it is even worse for little kids, who do not have the capacity to understand what has happened to the time.
When you plan to cross several time zones, you have no choice but to adjust your family’s eating and sleeping schedules. That is, unless you plan to have dinner at 10 a.m. and go to bed at 3 p.m.
The first day you arrive, you should plan to keep the schedule fairly light. That day, Melinda Wenner Moyer of Slate suggests that you switch to your preferred schedule in the current time zone. Everyone may be tired and grouchy, but, if you adhere to it that day, subsequent days should be a lot easier.
2. Take advantage of services.
Governments understand that taking a big trip with children is more complicated than flying alone or with other adults. That is why they also take steps to accommodate you and your kids.
It starts with the flight. Take a moment to investigate the features and upgrades your airline offers for travel, especially with small children. When you see a special line for parents with children at the airport, do not hesitate to take it. The Transportation Safety Administration makes it clear how its employees screen children differently from adults. Do your homework now so that you can be prepared and sail quickly through security.
3. Make a schedule.
Taking a casual backpacking trip through India with your spouse and teenage children may be a dream you have had for years. And, with older kids, it is an option you could certainly consider.
However, when your children are younger, you need to have your itinerary laid out before you leave the house. According to Dr. Laura Markham of Aha! Parenting, toddlers and young children thrive best on a regular routine. So, even if you plan to travel, you should try to keep mealtimes and the sleep schedule as close to your kids’ routines as possible.
Children this age do not appreciate unpleasant surprises, including the inability to find a hotel with vacancy. Instead, make your reservations early. You will save money by booking ahead of time, and you will have many more options available to you. You might even find yourself staying in a tent on a sand dune in the Thar Desert, or in the Kerala Backwaters.
4. Consider the climate.
Anyone who has traveled to a place with a very different climate can tell you that it is difficult to really know what the weather will be like. However, that should not stop you from trying your best to prepare. For example, if you are planning a trip to India, you should know that it likely will be hotter and more humid there than you are used to. World Weather Online describes the weather in Mumbai as “oppressive” in summer and difficult to manage during monsoon season. Once you know what to expect, you can plan to pack clothing which is appropriate for the climate. Or, as AZ Central recommends, you may choose to purchase a few items locally, since they will accommodate the weather best.
Traveling abroad with kids of any age can be tricky. But, if you plan ahead, keep to your routine and take advantage of services available to you, you might just have a wonderful time.
Featured photo credit: Family Vacation via i.huffpost.com