Tips on Travelling with Kids + Travel Outfit Ideas
It’s that time of the year when we travel a bit more than we did during the previous months. School-going children are on holiday for two months so why not use this opportunity to spend more time with them while widening their knowledge of our country and the world?
My daughter, who’s four, loves travelling. We started travelling beyond the borders of Nairobi when she was about a year old. Our first trip was to Nakuru and we used public means, Mololine Shuttle to be precise. It was a scary experience because I was travelling alone with a baby in tow for the very first time. But I got through the journey and have become a sort of pro at going longer distances with her.
In this post I want to share my tips on making trips easier from the point of view of a mother whether you’re travelling by road, rail or air. Some of these tips will also be useful for solo travellers.
1. Prepare beforehand
Make a detailed plan of everything long before your travel date arrives. Write a comprehensive list of everything that you need to get done, even the seemingly mundane things.
Book your tickets in good time (most of the time tickets, especially plane tickets are cheaper the more ahead of time you book them).
Schedule any activities you’d like to take part in – this will help you when it comes to activities such as game drives that you might need to book before you arrive at your destination.
I like to plan our outfits as well. I set out complete outfits for each day we will be on our trip and for the journey there and back. I also ensure I have packed extra clothes in case baby girl needs a change of clothes.
You must carry snacks when travelling with your baby. Carry foods that she enjoys. My daughter likes apples so I always ensure we have a good number that will last her the entirety of our trip. I also carry yoghurt, bread, blueband and jam and maybe some smokies or egg. Because she is a tea-drinker like her mama, I usually have a flask of hot water, some UHT milk, drinking chocolate and sugar within easy reach for those moments when she goes, “Mummy, I want tea.” I try to avoid giving her too much junk food hence the “healthier”, simpler snacks.
Avoid chocolates and sweets at all costs because this will make your child hyper and you don’t want a hyper baby in the confines of a car.
Ensure you pack some form of entertainment for your baby to keep them occupied especially if you’re travelling long distances. This could be in the form of a favourite toy, activities like colouring books for school-going children. I like to give her cartoons to watch on the phone (or tablet if you have one) but I also limit this to when it’s dark and she can’t do anything else.
You can also play games with them like asking them to name things they have seen or colours they recognise.
4. Leave in good time
When you have to catch a flight or board a train, you don’t want to be running to the departure gate with a baby and luggage in tow. Leave your home in good time so that you can check in peacefully and have enough time to get to the departure gate/platform with minimal fuss.
When travelling by car, leaving early gives you plenty of time to reach your destination before it gets dark. You will also need to take many bathroom breaks on the way so you need to account for this.
5. Prepare your child psychologically
I got into the habit of informing my daughter of changes in our daily routine when she was younger. Now whenever we need to travel, I make sure to tell her at least the day before so that she’s prepared for the change psychologically.
6. Carry familiar items
When you remove your child out of the comforts of home they are bound to get anxious, clingy and irritable. To help with this, carry familiar items such as a blanket they love, a toy, etc.
7. When packing clothes remember…
Comfort is essential. I like to pack leggings and t-shirts because that’s what my daughter likes and I know she will be comfortable for both the trip and when we arrive at our destination. A dress or two won’t hurt for dressier moments like going to church. I like the leggings because they help protect her from mosquito bites and other bugs (hello rolling on the ground). Ensure you carry cotton which is most comfortable, cool in the hotter weather and absorbs sweat more easily. These same outfits would be great for travel as well.
Keep a sweater and socks nearby. Flights can be cold because the air conditioning is always on. Journeys by road take you through different climates so you might need to bundle up and/or shed some layers throughout your journey.
We always put on socks and sneakers at the start of the journey and later baby girl changes to crocs while I sometimes opt for sandals.
8. Other essentials to pack include
- Wet wipes. Antibacterial for more thorough cleaning and/or hand sanitizer.
- Toilet paper
- A pillow
- Car charger
- Medication (if needed)
- Light blanket or warm shawl
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