After months of planning the big details like buying flight tickets, booking hotel rooms and looking for attractions, you are finally going on the family vacation that you’ve been waiting for a long time. You get on the plane with your little children and suddenly they start crying and asking for their favorite toy, wanting to watch a movie on their tablet, don’t like the airplane food, and the list goes on and on. Many parents encounter these problems and many others on trips abroad that cause them to dread these vacations. In order for these scenarios not to happen to you and to get through your family vacation as pleasantly as possible – from the flight to the tours – we recommend that you avoid the following 9 common mistakes that parents make when vacationing, which will completely change your next experience.
1. Leaving your child’s favorite toys at home
We adults may not understand this, but most children have one toy or doll that they are especially attached to which serves as a source of comfort. When this item is not around – children may get stressed and can’t relax until they have the toy. This kind of crying makes children, their parents and the people around them uncomfortable, especially when it comes to flying, so we strongly recommend not underestimating the importance of these toys and bringing them in an accessible bag. Flights for children are stressful enough, and a simple item, like a teddy bear, can make a huge difference between a pleasant experience and endless crying.
2. Not preparing travel snacks
On flights, trips or even walks – children tend to be hungry more often than adults. Given the fact that they use up a lot of energy, it is not surprising that children become ravenous, so it is important to be prepared in advance. So that your children will not be upset by hunger and start crying or running wild because of this, prepare small bags with snacks for them to allow them to fill their stomach and calm their spirits. These snacks should not be fresh foods, such as cheese sandwiches, but rather dried fruits, salty snacks, cut up vegetables in sealed packages, cereal bars and other things that your children love and won’t object to eating on the flight.
3. Inefficient planning of long flights
In the case of remote destinations, it‘s not always possible to avoid layovers, but that doesn’t mean that you have to suffer while waiting. In order for both you and your children to get through the flights and travel safely, try to find 2-3 hour layovers and check to see if there’s a play area at that airport where your children can pass the time pleasantly. If there isn’t a play area available, pack toys so that your children can play and release pent-up energy from the flight, in preparation for the next flight that will be much calmer than one that is long and without stops.
4. Not purchasing important items
Smart packing does not include small items that accumulate and take up a lot of space, such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorants, hair brushes and more. Many people prefer to purchase these items at their destination rather than add to the weight of their luggage, but parents are definitely not advised to do so. Children are an unexpected people and it is important to be ready for any possible scenario with a first aid kit for parents that includes essential items such as wipes, hair bands, gauze, hand sanitizer and more. As far as these items are concerned, it is recommended not to wait with them, but to add them to the mandatory list of things you’ll take in a suitcase or even in your carry-on.
5. Not charging electrical devices
In everyday life, parents try to reduce their children’s exposure to screens, such as smartphones and tablets, but on trips, it is recommended to bend these rules a bit. On flights and trips, you should bring an e-book or tablet with pre-prepared content for your children to watch when they get bored. Watching will make them feel more relaxed leading to you and the rest of the passengers feeling so too. Don’t forget to charge these items before you leave the house. This way you’ll be ready to turn on the screen at any time and provide your children with relaxing entertainment that will enable them to make their journey in a pleasant and relaxed way.
6. Not bringing a stroller
This mistake is one that many parents of babies and toddlers make when they think they can carry their children in a carrier for several hours. Unfortunately, many people find that walking more than an hour with a carrier or child on their arms is not simple and makes it difficult for them to enjoy their trip. In order for this not to happen, it is strongly recommended to pack a folding stroller that you can take with you everywhere. This will allow your hands to be free, you won’t experience back pain and your children will be able to enjoy the views around them all from the comfort of their stroller.
7. Leaving the car seat at home
Usually, children under the age of two can fly for free if they sit on your lap, but as any parent knows, children at this age move a lot – which can be dangerous for them on the flight. Therefore, it is important to bring a car seat for the flight so that your child will be strapped and safe during it.
8. Early boarding
Most airlines offer parents with children the option to get on the plane early so they can settle in before the other passengers. While it sounds tempting, by the time all the passenger’s board – another hour will be added to your flight time. Therefore, it is recommended to be patient and allow other passengers to board the flight while you have fun with your children and let them stroll around. If you have a number of bags that you want to put on the plane, send your spouse onto the plane so that you can board your flight with a small number of items and, of course, with your children.
9. Not preparing a meeting point if someone gets lost
You probably don’t know the place you are traveling to well. This is even truer when it comes to children who do not know how to orient themselves in foreign places if they become separated from you. Set a simple and prominent meeting point in case you get separated, and even pin a note with the name of the place on your children’s clothing. This way they won’t have to remember the place and will still be able to meet you there without asking for strangers help.