BEFORE YOUR VACATION
- Go easy on the schedule. Children need extra time to adjust and process new environments, so packed schedules with little wiggle room will surely lead to cranky kids.
- If you’re traveling out of the country, check with your pediatrician to verify if immunizations are needed. Share your complete travel itinerary with your child’s doctor to assess any risks. Learn what documentation you will need, including passports, notarized letters when traveling with only one parent, and birth certificates.
- Pack extra supplies to have on hand to help with inevitable disasters, including an extra set of clothes for you and your child, plastic bags to store messy items, extra snacks, refillable water bottle and anti-bacterial wipes.
ON THE AIRPLANE
- Book an early flight. Crowds will be lighter, and you reduce the likelihood of delays (which have a domino effect into the afternoon and evening). However night flights are good for long transcontinental or intercontinental flights when children are at their sleepiest, and cabin lights will be dimmed.
- Avoid tantrums with distractions, such as a tablet or few toys or games, as well as snacks (don’t forget the portable charger for electronics). Breaking up a child’s routine can be stressful, so be prepared for possible tears.
- Minimize ear pain during take-off and landing by giving children something to suck or chew on.
- If you plan to use a car seat on the plane, make sure it’s FAA-approved (it should state on the label).
AT YOUR DESTINATION
- Be prepared for hot and/or cold weather with sunscreen and cooling spray, portable hand heaters, insulating underclothes and layers of clothing, including light and heavy jackets, to protect from rain and cold wind.
- Encourage your children to take a late-afternoon nap (or at least have relaxation or down-time by the pool), and you all are bound to be happy campers after dark.
- Remember that safety standards are not universal. When abroad, keep a close eye on conditions at your hotel or resort, including cribs and play yards. When in doubt about an item, ask for a different one.
The best tip? Remember, if you’re stressed, your child will likely pick up on it. A travel advisor can provide a stress-free family vacation with a professionally planned, personalized package just for your family.