Wednesday, 3 November 2010

7 Globetrotter Family Travel Tips

1. Check everyone's passports once every six months.  You never know when you're going to be on the road and you don't want to discover one week before your ski trip in the Alps that your five year old's passport has expired!

2. Book appointments, dinners, babysitters, kids' clubs, lessons and playdates ahead of time.  This is especially true if you are going to be staying in a large city for any amount of time.  The time that you get to spend in the city is precious.  You don't want to waste hours sitting in an apartment or hotel room because you have no babysitter or because you would like the kids to do something but they've already been to the park today, the museum workshops are all full and your kids friends are in school.  You get the picture.  Plan as much as you can ahead of time.

3. Bring your own airplane food for the kiddies.  The Bambina won't touch airline food and I can't say I blame her.  Aside from having a stale, refrigeration-like taste, it's rarely food that I like and it's full of preservatives.

3. Bring entertainment for the luggage wait.  That Nintendo DS that you've been complaining about since last Christmas when your spouse insisted that your kid have one?  Well, thank your lucky stars it exists just for times like this!

4. Bring a car seat or book a weight- appropriate car seat from the car rental or taxi cab company.  Be sure to tell them that it must be already fully and correctly installed when the cab arrives to pick you up.  We have had the unfortunate incident of a taxi showing up with a brand new, weight-appropriate car seat - uninstalled - and with no manual to show how to install it.

5.  Think twice before you take an only child trekking in the mountains - or anything else that requires physical endurance.   Without the distraction of a playmate close in age to your little one, your child may start to complain that he or she is tired oh, about two minutes into the hike.  Hiking with another family has worked well for us.

The same goes for museums or art exhibits - unless you have a child who is particularly into cultural visits, he or she may quickly get bored and start to complain, thereby ruining the visit for everyone else .  Try to find another family with one or more children the same age for these kinds of visits.

6.  If you have an infant or toddler, bring a mei-tai baby carrier (Ergo, Kozy and Babyhawk are a few brands) on the trip with you, along with the stroller.  It's very handy during when boarding the plane, during a luggage wait and for walking in quaint towns with cobblestone roads that make pushing a stroller difficult.

I don't recommend carriers such as Baby Bjorn, as the baby's weight is on your shoulders rather than your hips, and they therefore only work for small babies (that and the fact that the baby is essentially being supported on its genitals...).

7. Pack a sweater for you and each child.  Always.  Even if it's a beach vacation in the Bahamas!

Bon voyage!


A Homeschool Story said...

All excellent tips! The baby carrier one is such good advice, there's nothing like a tired two-year-old whose "legs don't work any more," and you've neglected to bring the sling, thinking they were too old.

Also, check out the forecast for volcanic eruptions...they can really mess up a trip (like ours to France last April, getting stranded in London does not mean you are almost in France, it means you are in London.)

Bon voyage!


Travel said...

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Travel Tips