International travel can be so much fun but doing it for the first time with kids can be a little intimidating. After all, you are most likely going to a destination that you have never been to before, which means you need to be aware of what is going on and take care of your kids at the same time! It’s a lot for anyone, especially when all you want to do is relax and have a good time while seeing a new area of the world. So after you’ve gotten your child’s passport and of course, yours if you don’t have one yet, and figured out the best traveling tips to make your trip easier for you and the family, gotten a travel insurance to protect your family in a million ways, you can relax and have a magical time. Hopefully, you’re headed to one of our best international destinations with your kids!
Here are 9 tips for a smooth first international trip with kids:
1. Be Prepared for the Long Flights
Unfortunately, it takes time to reach international destinations, so you need to be prepared to keep your kids occupied during those long flights. While you may hope that they sleep the entire time, that rarely happens. Therefore, I recommend that you take some books, travel games, pens and paper, coloring books and crayons, activity books, and a few new toys to keep them intrigued.
2. Consider Flying at Night
One of the best ways to fly longer distances is to book a flight that is en route to your destination in the middle of the night.
This will give you a better chance at having your kids sleep through most of it and then be ready to rumble when you get there in the morning. This doesn’t always work, as some kids do not like sleeping unless they are in their bed, but it is worth a shot at least.
3. Arrange Transportation in Advance
There is nothing worse than landing at the airport at your final destination and having no idea how you are going to get to your hotel or anywhere else! To prevent this from happening to you, it is best if you take the time to arrange transportation in advance or at least know how to get from the airport to your hotel. This will save you from getting a headache, as you are trying to figure it out with kids that may not be at their best after a long flight.
4. Always Pack Snacks
While you cannot take liquids past airport security, you are allowed to take snacks with you. The only problem is that you may be limited with some of the items that you can take into the country that you are visiting. I recommend that you take the time to do a little research before your trip, so you can see if there is a ban on any of the foods that you normally travel with.
This will prevent you from packing those items, since they would need to be tossed upon your arrival. Just to give you an idea of what you are looking at, Singapore has placed a ban on chewing gum in their country, while you cannot take chestnuts into the United Kingdom. Also remember other essentials you need for your international flight.
5. Surviving Jet Lag
Jet lag is going to hit all of you when you travel internationally, so you will need to be prepared for it for yourself, as well as your kids. There are many ways to fight jet lag in babies and toddlers as well as beat jetlag in older kids and adults. The best thing that you can do is get into a routine with your new time zone right away. While it may be dinnertime at home and only breakfast time where you are, you need to be prepared to eat a good breakfast and start your day. You should also spend as much time outside during the day as possible, as it will alert your body that it is time to be awake. If you all need a nap, please set your alarm or you may find that you are all sleeping for eight hours and then it could be the middle of the night where you are, and you are all wide awake again. That will definitely make your jet lag worse and ruin a fabulous vacation!
6. Take Favorite Toys with You
Every child has a favorite toy that they cannot live without, which is why you should take it with you when you travel internationally. I do recommend taking a couple of them, so you have a backup in case one gets lost or extremely dirty.
These toys will keep your children happy, even if they are super tired or have no clue what is going on. Plus, they may help your kids sleep when it is time to finally go to bed! Apart for taking favorite toys, you could also consider accessories that can make your travel easier with kids.
7. Stay in One Place for a Few Days
There are times when you are traveling internationally where you bounce from one place to the next, as you try to see as much as you can before you return home. This is not always the best idea when you are traveling internationally with kids, because they never have an opportunity to get acclimated to their new surroundings or their new time zone. I recommend staying in one destination for a few days, so that everyone can get used to where they are and then you can move on to the next area that you want to see.
8. Schedule Tours Carefully
As an adult, you could probably go from one tour to the next and be as happy as can be! However, children are not good at sitting still or listening to someone share the history about an area for too long.
Therefore, it is recommended that you schedule your tours carefully, so your kids can have some downtime in between. This will prevent them from having complete meltdowns, while giving you all a much-needed break.
9. Share the Itinerary with Your Kids
Kids are always going to be curious and want to know what you are doing when you are traveling, so share your itinerary with them. In fact, if you are traveling with older children, let them help plan the itinerary, so that they have a few things on there that they want to do!
Traveling internationally with kids for the first time is going to be a little challenging, but if you follow the above tips you will find that you will be quite successful from the time that you leave until the time you arrive back home again. Just have a little patience and relax and you will all survive this fabulous journey!