As an Adult Third Culture Kid (ATCK), meaning I was born to parents of different nationalities and different country, traveling is just a part of life. I will admit that traveling before BiP was a different thing altogether! I could take my time, leisurely rock up to the airport, check in, browse the duty free and spend time selecting the magazines I wanted to read – but that was another life!!!
Now it’s about packing “special new” toys, snacks, changes of clothes for BiP (and me) and learning circus acts to keep BiP entertained!
Here are my top 10 tips for traveling abroad with kids for the holidays!
1. Plan where you are going to stay!
If you’re going to visit family it’s probable that you’ll stay with them or nearby. Reach out to friends in the area who have kids if you can’t stay with family – more often than not the welcome the entertainment for their kids and yours will be blissfully entertained! Plus you’ll have the home creature comforts. If that’s not an option, look into renting an apartment vs a hotel – I know that hotels were off limits when I started traveling with BiP – I needed my own space when she went to bed at 7pm!
2. Check your travel times
Getting up at 3am to catch the 5:30am flight was cool when you were free and childless but what will that translate into if you do it with your little one? I’ve done a midnight flight with BiP and she slept most of it but I know I was lucky – I know too many parents who’ve had a terrible time with their kids on flights that have been at crazy time. Oh, and think you’ll sleep too? I doubt it!
3. Make sure you have money
Make sure you withdraw some cash before you travel – you never know when you’ll need it. If need be, try to have some local currency for your destination already exchanged before you go – nothing worse than arriving at your destination tired with a cranky tired little one and not having money to pay for a taxi!
Do check with your bank that your credit card works abroad before you go. I’ve had my cards blocked more often than care to admit when I travel abroad. Look online for the best credit card deals, I know that for my last trip abroad I got a new credit card which made my trip so much easier.
4. Prep the little ones in advance
Talk to them about the trip including the travel arrangements – explain that there are exciting things to come but boring things in between! Get them to pack a bag of goodies for the flight but also have your own reserve of cool things to pull out when you need them.
5. Prep yourself
Grab a change of top for you (if you don’t take it you’ll wished you had!)! Know that you’ll be busy most of the time keeping the little one entertained. Prepare yourself for the worst and hope for the best! From my own experience BiP decided that a long haul flight from France to Dubai was a great time to go diaper free (for the first time)- she flatly refused to wear a diaper (when EC backfires or not) and with good reason but it could have been catastrophic!
If you’re worried about how you’re kids will do on the flight you can always do what this family did (they gave candy bribes to fellow passengers with a note!).