This post was put together with assistance from mum of two, Laine.
When I was 21, I was lucky enough to travel to the United States with my older sister. After hopping from city to city, I caught something I knew I was never going to get rid of: the travel bug. After years of carefree travel, first as a singleton, then married without kids, my husband and I had our delicious boys. We were faced with “do we travel with our kids?” or “wait for our retirement to travel?” It was a no-brainer — especially since my hubby is British and his family are all in England — so we travel extensively with our boys.
Here are my top travel tips based on my own experiences of travelling with kids throughout each milestone:
- Bath Toys: It’s good to take bath toys with you to your destination to help with routine whilst you’re away. Have you thought about using bath toys as travel toys? For example: bath books and bath squirts are great to play with in the car and the bath.
- Travel Tip: Tie ribbons to rattles, toys and books and attach to the car or aeroplane seat. This way, if the child drops the item, you can easily find it via the ribbon instead of hurting your back looking for it underneath car or plane seats.
- Puppets: Toddlers love puppets! You can use hand puppets, finger puppets, tennis ball puppets, paddle pop stick puppets and even paper puppets. And they can be used in a variety of ways. Here are a few ideas:
- Tell stories
- Puppets can ask the toddler questions. For example:
- Where are they going?
- What will you do when they get there?
What do they see out the window?
- Balloons: Our family always carry balloons around with us… everywhere! Balloons are easy and light to pack and are always entertaining. They are perfect to play in a park to break up a long car trip or to bring a little fun during an airport during a stopover.
- Travel Tip: If a toddler is frustrated or tired with travelling, puppets are a great distraction tool. The sillier the voice, the better the response!
- Kids Activity Packs: You can surprise your pre-schoolers with their own customised activity pack. On top of your usual items of crayons and colouring books, try finding some unique travel toys that will engage them for a longer period of time. Travel-friendly toys like Hide and Seek Pirates and Reusable Sticker Play Scenes are great to add to travel packs.
- Travel Tip: Keep a bag of travel toys hidden to use as a “back up”. Gift wrapping these travel toys are perfect for distracting them, rewarding good behaviour or to mark the half-way point of the trip.
- Media: As a parent, I know handheld games and portable DVD players can be useful when travelling with kids. However, I do believe kids need a break from this. School-aged kids, given a choice, may prefer to spend most, if not all their time on these items. Why not save gadgets for a period of “quiet time” during the trip?
- Journals: Writing a journal is a great way to get kids involved in family trips. Collect tickets, maps, postcards and brochures from places on the trip and encourage them to write about their experiences.
- Create a Stationery Pack with a journal and other items to decorate
- Put together a Storage Clipboard Travel Kit which provides a flat area to draw on while in the car
- Make a DIY DVD Travel Drawing Kit which is extremely compact
- Use a pencil case and fill with little goodies to play with. More ideas in this post.
- Lego: Lego kits can be a great idea for school-age kids. For more ideas on how to put together a Lego Travel Kit, check here.
- Travel Tip: Buy a nice journal for your school-aged child. This also makes a great “show and tell” piece for school.
Travelling with our kids during each milestone has been both fantastic and challenging. We are thrilled our kids have caught the “travel bug” too!