Pin It
Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Top Ten International Travel Tips with Children

By

1. Train them to sleep anywhere: This is more of a pre-preparation. Most advice focuses on creating the ideal sleeping environment. While helpful, it doesn’t allow your child the benefit of one of the biggest gifts you can give them for their whole lives—being able to sleep anywhere. This is usually easier if you breastfeed and co-sleep. For handy tips see The African Guide to Co-sleeping.

 

 
2. Relax: Children are great stress detectors and if you are stressing about the trip it is more than likely they will too. On the other hand, if you are relaxed and excited about the trip they will pick up on that and it will make the trip more enjoyable for all.

 

 
3. Write a packing list: Many of the things you will need for your journey you use day-to-day. Write a comprehensive list to ensure that you do not forget anything.

 

 
4. Strategic packing: From about the age of three, children can help to pack their own things (my daughter will even remind me if I have forgotten something); however, pack all the critical things when children are asleep to avoid the, “but I want to play with that NOW!”

 

 
5. Better to have more: Food. Many meltdowns can be avoided if children are rested and fed (and so are you). Always pack more food than you need and never assume that you will be able to get any en route. As a rule of thumb, I carry about a three-day supply for a day trip.

 

 
6. Establish a rhythm as soon as you arrive: Ideally this should be close to the rhythm you have at home. It gives the children (and you) an anchor from which your ship can safely drift.

 

 
7. Remember the 80/20 rule: Countries that have more specialized facilities for children are 80% easier to travel around in terms of logistics but only 20% in terms of friendliness and accommodating children. Countries that have less to offer by the way of specialized facilities for children are 80% friendlier and accommodating of children but offer only 20% in ease of logistics.

 

 
8. Slow down: The journey is always so much more pleasant if you travel at children’s speed. So it may mean driving or taking a train instead of flying. Make a long list of everything that you would like to do on your travels and then strike off most of it, allowing yourself just one thing a day. Not only is that achievable but it stops you from rushing around and having grumpy children as a result. Don’t forget to give even the youngest children choices about what they might like to do—they could take you on adventures that you would not have chosen yourself.

 

 
9. Befriend the cooks: The first people I make friends with wherever I am staying is the waiting and kitchen staff. Ask to meet the cook. If you have made a personal connection, it is much easier to get meals made to your specifications and at the time you require them. Self-catering is usually easiest with younger children but not always possible.

 

 
10. Sea, sand, sleep: If nowhere else, go to the seaside. The world’s biggest sandpit always makes for a fun holiday. It is educational and an easy way for children to spend most of their time outdoors. If it is hot and you have a child whom you are potty training, it is a surefire way to make it all go that much faster. There are so many types of beaches, which mean a lifetime of varied escapes.

© 2011 – 2013, JC Niala. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


Si­, Yes: Raising Bilingual Twins

Language acquisition in three-and-a-half year old, bilingual twins.

Why African Toddlers Don't Have Tantrums

The secret of why African babies don't meltdown like Western ones.

How Bilingualism Can Fail in Multilingual Families

It’s easy to raise bilingual kids when you speak a second language, right? Wrong.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


JC Niala is a mother, writer and creative who enjoys exploring the differences that thankfully still exist between various cultures around the world. She was born in Kenya and grew up in Kenya, Cote d'Ivoire and the UK. She has worked and lived on three continents and has visited at least one new country every year since she was 12 years old. Her favorite travel companions are her mother and daughter whose stories and interest in others bring her to engage with the world in ways she would have never imagined. She is the author of Beyond Motherhood: A guide to being a great working mother while living your dream.

Leave us a comment!









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!



A Children's Book for Raising Global Citizens

Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!
[…] Peru, 97 percent of newborns are breastfed, according to LLLI. In Culture Parent reported that 69 percent of Peruvian children are breastfed exclusively from birth to five months, and ou...
From Breastfeeding Around the World
Hi I was googling Islamic beliefs when I came across your post. We are American and our neighbors are from Pakistan I think. Our kids love playing together but their dad doesn't allow the kids to co...
From An Islamic Perspective on Child-Rearing and Discipline
Mother’s Day is the most perfect and accurate Occasion to express your Love and Gratitude towards Mothe...
From Holi Craft: Straw Painting
[…] Muslims fast for 30 days every year for Ramadan, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. Ramadan this year is happening during most of the month […...
From Ramadan: June 28-July 28
[…] Raising a Little Buddha – Part 1, InCulture Parent — Post by a Buddhist Minister about raising an enlightened child.  It starts with intimacy, communication, and community. [R...
From How to Raise an Enlightened Child — Part I
[…] Breastfeeding in Jordan, InCulture Parent — Not as restrictive as one might think. […...
From Breastfeeding in Jordan
[…] Best and Worst Countries to be a Mother, InCulture Parent – “The 2010 Mothers’ Index rates 160 countries (43 developed nations and 117 in the developing world) in terms of th...
From Best and Worst Countries to be a Mother
[…] Why Americans Value Independent and Competitive Kids, InCultureParent — Interesting look at how our values impact our interactions with our children (babies in particular). […...
From Why Americans Value Independent and Competitive Kids
[…] Multiple Fathers and Healthier Children in the Amazon, InCulture Parent — a fascinating look at cultures in the Amazon where pregnant women have sex with more than one man as a means...
From Multiple Fathers and Healthier Children in the Amazon

More from Our Bloggers