My baby’s first longish road trip was when he was just 4 months old. A traveling with toddlers checklist was something that would have helped then. Nothing was handy dandy to strike out as I started packing or actually taking the journey.
It was a 300 kilometers run, the baby was solely breastfed (that means no food is to be prepared and carried along) and we had a driver, so hubby was free to hold the baby when I wanted a break. We now have two babies, hubby drives most of the time so help has stepped in the picture and we have traveled not only by road but by air and railways as well. What has not changed, are the multiple roles that I play while traveling. Some designations I go by are –
- Chief packer -If any such designation exists!
- Menu planner – Just because we are traveling, does not mean we’ll leave behind our food quirks. Everybody wants their TYPE of food on the go.
- Navigator- Quick…!! Left or next left?
- Referee cum yeller cum peacemaker rolled into one- One more squeak and you’ll be getting down the car in the middle of the highway.
I can safely say that my kids and I are pretty much seasoned enough to travel on short notice as well. My mantra is to follow the humongous travel checklist that is saved on my mobile, laptop and even on the cloud. Here are some of the pointers that can keep you covered whether you are traveling by air, road or train.
What to pack
Though the packing for the kids is endless, more important is what you pack as hand luggage to be used DURING the travel. If the age permits, pack a separate backpack for each kid with some toys, crayons and coloring books. Also, include activity books like sticker books and paper folding activity.
One hit experiment was of handing over the digital camera to my son, who was more than happy to be the official photographer. We gave him basic operating and caretaking tips and told him to document our trip. The pictures were hilarious as well as insightful. It was as if we saw the holiday from his point of view. My daughter is in a crazy toddler stage where she is fascinated by all sorts of zips. Yeah, you heard that right. So we pack some pouches with zips that have different “difficulty levels”- keeps her busy for hours.
Mess-free being the operative word, take your pick from fruits like bananas apples and grapes, juice cartons, toffees (good for fighting nausea too), toasted wheat tortillas (Khakhras), Sandwiches- jam and cheese for variety, Rice cakes(Idlis), flavored yogurt, etc. However, take care that food is not oily or heavy. You don’t want to also be crowned the official clean up a lady of the trip with all queasy kids puking in different corners of the ride.
Wet wipes, Barf bags, tissues, old newspapers for cleaning the mess, kitchen rolls, hand sanitizers, change of clothes and extra diapers. Forgetting these might lead to a lot of hassle. Mark my words!
Good books (not recommended for road travel) and some favorite movies or games on mobile/iPad/laptop are always a hit with my kids. Encourage them to play travel games like counting the cars, twenty questions or singalongs- nursery rhymes and hit movie songs top the list. Good music in your car’s music system is also a must-have.
While traveling with kids, keep some basic medicines, prescribed by your pediatrician, always handy. Medicines for fever, tummy ache, nausea, vomiting, etc. Also, Band-Aid, Dettol, and some dressing.
Last but not the least, pack a suitcase full of good attitude, happy smiles and spirit of adventure. These will go on making your trip a not just a travel outing but a long-lasting happy childhood memory for your kids.
Share with us how your travel expeditions with little kids have been!