Traveling with children can be daunting at times especially when they are still young. Whether it’s your first trip or you seventh trip with your children it still can be daunting. There’s a lot to think about and plan for; from packing, planning the itinerary to how to get to your destination and thoughts of potential risks.
Two weeks ago I took a trip to Dubai with my two children ages 6 and 3. Now most of you would think I was crazy to have taken a trip alone with two children under the age of 10. But I must say it was quite the experience and here are some of my tips that might help you when traveling with children. I have to say that this was my experience with ages 6 and 3, also these tips but may be helpful to you and also they might not necessarily be for when you are alone, they may apply even when you are with your partner, spouse or sister/brother and their kids.
Go for it: as much as you might feel overwhelmed traveling with children it is important that you keep in mind that you will get to your destination, the trip will end and you will be fine. I had to go for it and just do it because the plans kept changing and I felt that it would not be fair on the kids to cancel the trip as they were really looking forward to it.
Do not over pack: I am that person who used to over pack, thinking that I will need that particular piece of clothing or my child will not be able to use any other brand. Over the years and traveling with the children, I had to learn not to over pack. This trip I packed one big suitcase with all our clothing, accessories, toiletries and any other extra items we needed. We were there for 6 days, so I packed outfits for 6 days and 2 extras for each of us just incase. The kids had their own small carry on kids cases for their books, iPads, and change of clothes.
Accommodation: Hotel or Rental? : This is actually important to think about. I mean for me it was vital that I stay at a place where there was everything under one roof and especially activities for the children. We stayed at the Atlantis Palm which offered perks such as Kids Club, baby-sitting services. It had an Aquarium and a huge Waterpark, as well as a lot of great places to eat. My kids were occupied with an activity most of the time, which was great.
I should say that I have also previously had vacations where we did vacation rentals and rented a villa, or cottage, and there are perks to this. You can make it your home- make your own meals and have some privacy; a home away from home. There are cons and pros in everything, so it’s really up to you and your family and the kind of accommodation you prefer.
Plan – but don’t over plan!: we had 6 days, so I had those 6 days planned out with different activities. Planning ahead is good especially when you have children; because you avoid the whole situation of sitting around waiting or thinking of what to do, and children tend not be very patient, well mine at least. I did make room for flexibility that we could change plans if they didn’t want to do a certain activity. The plan was to guide our day but we didn’t stick to it when we didn’t feel like it.
Take your time: Don’t rush. Make ample time to arrive at the airport and check in or getting from one point to the next. Kids love to discover and explore things and this needs extra time, that way you can remain calm. One thing is for sure; do remember that there will be toilet stops, little tantrums and staling, pushing with siblings; so you need to factor in these too. I must say my children really surprised me, especially my 3 year old. This trip they were so well behaved through out the flight and the trip in general. I am thinking maybe because they knew that mama is alone with them, so they didn’t give me a hard time.
Some things to remember to do and take with you:
Do take baby wipes; these are useful for washing hands, wiping down seats and tables at restaurants even cleaning toilets. Also for the similar purposes a little bottle of hand sanitizer, is vital to have on you, but please do check travel regulations on liquids.
Safety talk: do speak to your children about safety when traveling, in the case you loose each other. You could also brand your child by writing your name and number on her hand. My daughter is very good at remembering numbers, so she knows my phone number. With my 3 year old I wrote my name and number on a piece of paper and put it in his pocket.
Water; do remember to keep the children and yourself hydrated through out the journey especially in flight, as the air tends to be dry.
Enjoy it: most importantly make sure that you enjoy every bit of the journey.
This was great trip especially for my children. I mean I did miss some adult company, but when I saw the smiles on their faces and how excited and happy they were, I knew I did well. Happy kids! Happy mama!