For those who follow us here, on facebook or instagram, already know that we like to travel whenever possible. We prefer to travel than buy material things, so shopping is not our strong suit, but willingness to travel yes. Even with the arrival of the furry cubs and daughters, we kept the urge to go out there, taking with us not only suitcases, but also the daughter. The dogs have been on some short trips with us when we went by car, but the two are stressed out with other dogs, so they stay off trips most of the time. Anyway, with all this, I do not consider ourselves travel experts, because if you see, we only cover a small portion of so many wonderful places that this world provides us and each family has a different dynamic and children have temperaments and infinite ways to deal with new places and experiences. Here in this post, I will try to summarize what works for us, in our trips with children, with our children at the moment (2 and 5 year
s), ok?*I wrote a similar post, but with tips from our trip to Spain last year – see here.
Whenever you have a scheduled trip (and it's usually a short time in advance), we explain to Alice and now Diana too, what will happen from the way out of the house, the things we will potentially see and such. How much they know is the important thing. If we're going to see something very interesting for kids, like Disney for example, we're dropping tips little by little so we don't create too much anxiety. If they will be less "childish" rides, then we explain that they will have to be patient. The bags are a case apart. Alice makes a point of carrying a handbag of her own (with all her belongings, if possible), but does not always want to take in airports and hotels. Diana, as the youngest sister she is, wants everything the same as Alice wants. We ended up carrying two children's handbags, with their belongings in each (clothes, shoes, few toys). It works for us, they end up entertaining themselves with their bags, climbing on top etc. We are adept at not dispatching too many bags, as in addition to often being charged extra, we do not need to take larger cars or taxis in the destination city. It also forces us to better select what to take and to be economical.
Alice traveled for the first time at 6 months and Diana (astonish!) at the age of two months. On the occasion of Alice, the flight was to Paris, night and more hours and Diana were several flights, only short. We were never lucky enough to get that bassinete on the plane, so the trip was always on the arm and the courage… hehe The hand on the wheel for me is the sling, an item that goes on every holy trip, so far in the last, with Diana about to turn 2. It allows me to have my hands free, carrying passports, Alice, the purse, even a carry-on bag and everything else i need. I also find it interesting at naps or bedtime, since the little ones up to 2 years do not pay and consequently, you are not entitled to a seat.
Another trick is to buy a little gift, even if simple, to distract the children during the flight. It could be a book, an activity book, a toy or even a lollipop. Works super well.
Finally, I recommend having a children's headset so that children can watch movies, cartoons, etc. on the plane's TV. Better, of course, if you have one for each bank. Diana is already watching, at least for a while and the adult headphones do not fit in her ear (nor Alice). It is important, however, to check the child's headphones with pre-adjusted volume, because the ones we tested are not efficient to use in airplanes (the sound of turbines and general noises, do not let the child listen naaadaaa). I just returned one this week for the same reason.
We almost always take cart to take Diana, but the two end up alternating at this age. We opted for an umbrella-style model, for practicality and it goes to the door of the plane, where it is stored and returned in the same place when the flight ends.
On the other hand, the car seats (or baby-comfort), we chose to take it from home and dispatch along with the large suitcase. When Diana was very small and wore that very small baby-comfort coupled to the stroller, we chose to leave it at the door of the plane and pick up in the same place, as the umbrella carts. We have
also opted for the larger stroller and the auxiliary platform for the larger child. For us it didn't work so well, because Alice wanted to use the cart more than the platform… Hehe
Taking our own car seat allows us to save on car rental and volume of things in transfers. Airlines don't count as a bag and therefore it's free.
We always make our hotel reservations in advance. We value places close to public transport and/or easy access to sights (in case we are by car). But we don't choose to always be in the center or in fancy hotels. Nothing against, but usually we try to keep our trips as economical as possible and therefore we then stay in hotels further away. Of c
ourse, with 4 people you can't get a room with a single bed. We prefer the ones with 2 double beds, which solves all our problems… Hehe
We also prefer hotels with breakfast included, since hungry child in the morning is like adult without coffee and no one can stand it. If the hotel has a swimming pool, point to it, even more if the destination is not so childish and the promise of the day is that they can use the pool later (fact true).
Our journeys don't always revolve around children. Of course, if the destination is Disney or another theme park, the story is different, but places like the Canadian maritime provinces had most of the attractions not necessarily aimed at c
hildren. The way we find to make everyone happy is to merge a little, visit some playground, a more interactive museum, make jokes or invent games with the places to be visited, to make them interesting for girls. But it's not always easy, I confess.
When the trip is in North America, I must say that I do not care so much about the girls' meals, because the vast majority of restaurants have children's menu, with things they like to eat. To balance with something more, so to speak, healthy, we share with them some portions of our dishes (vegetables etc.), if necessary. We rarely avoid eating somewhere because of them. In Canada, children's menu items usually include pizza, pasta, nuggets, burgers with portions of french fries, raw vegetables, rice etc. and come with a choice of drink and a small dessert.
What's more, we try to have a reinforced breakfast and have snacks throughout the day, such as fruits and crackers, which we bought at some local grocery store.
One of the most important items to take on trips with children. It's never too much and I confess that I use everything I take (and sometimes it's still missing.. hehe), even more now with the two larger ones. The important thing is to remember that it is something new and the little ones sometimes take time to adapt to the time zone, the new temporary routine and so many more things. We always take tablets to moments that nothing else solves. A movie, an app, a game, etc. ends up being a feature that we use on trips, car and plane journeys.
Well, I hope I was able to express most of my "tips" and let me know if you want to know some other details, by the facebook posts Like a New Home Blog or by the comments here in the post.
Kisses and see you next time.