Dr. Naseeruddin Mahmood (consultant pediatrician and neonatologist) offers tips to prevent dreadful traveling disasters during pleasant family trips
If you’re a new parent, learning how to travel with a child, these tips can make the difference between a pleasant experience and an unpleasant one.
Keep your itinerary simple. Keeping too many activities can over stimulate your children. They get bored sightseeing for long periods of time and prefer being able to run around and explore at their own energetic pace.
Pick a family-friendly destination
Choose a relaxing child-friendly destination, such as a nature resort or beach, and skip the crowded, over-stimulating tourist destinations. Look for hotels that let kids stay free in their parents’ rooms and provide free meals within the price of the room.
Bring water and plenty of snacks
A bag of snacks and a water bottle are critical components of any trip. Children can get dehydrated during a flight, and toddlers can’t always wait for food service. Pack your child’s bag carefully with simple snacks such as fruits, small juice cartons or cookies. Pack extra diapers and clothes as well as toys to keep them entertained.
Plan frequent rest stops
If you’re driving, break up your trip, so your kids can stretch and run around to blow off some pent up energy. End your driving day early, so all of you have time to unwind after a long day on the road.
If you’re taking a road trip, make sure your baby’s car seat is properly secured and use window shades to keep the sun off. Put a small card with identification information in your child’s pockets, just in case you get separated.
“Travel teaches toleration,” said Disraeli. Especially nowadays, as our lives are greatly controlled by machines and their moods. Air travel, for instance, brings long queues of security checks at the airport, delayed or cancelled flights, and endless hours of commuting on the ground as well. Don’t be shocked to discover that the person sitting right next to you in the plane is allergic to kids. You may be greeted with frowns and cold stares every time your little one decides to brawl or toss everything around him.
Robert Benchley said: “There are two classes of travel – first class or with children” Traveling can be a test of nerves for those with young kids and a perfect, fool proof vacation in mind! Just remember, with kids nothing is fool proof. They can surprise you in seconds. Don’t forget that only one of you can throw a tantrum at a time, either the kids or the parents. Since the kids are at a greater risk of short circuits every now and then, it is highly recommended that parents behave themselves, so they may be able to mange their kids with sanity and patience, and enjoy their getaway. Bon voyage!