The first time I flew out of my home country was when I was nine years old. My family traveled a lot while I was growing up, and at seventeen, I flew alone to the United States, rode the bus and BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) in San Francisco by myself, and got stranded in Japan for 72 hours on the way back to the Philippines.
From my first international trip up to the Japanese adventure, I was blessed to have seen Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Malaysia, Paris, London, Brussels, Amsterdam (Benelux), Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Orlando and San Francisco.
I guess I can say I was exposed to wanderlust at an early age.
And I can honestly say it was all to my advantage. I became knowledgeable of the world’s most famous spots, and I developed a good handle on directions. Until now, my husband jokingly points out that I always jump in on any inquiries regarding directions (even if I’m not really the one being asked). I’ve always been confident about not getting lost and I know I can always find my way wherever I end up in (provided I’m well fed, of course).
When my husband and I first got together, we discovered we both loved to travel. So every anniversary (except 2014 when we had our wedding and our first child, finished nursing school, got pregnant with the second one, passed the NCLEX, etc etc), we would travel somewhere we both haven’t been to before.
From 2008, we’ve been to Tucson, Miami, Las Vegas, Orlando, St. Augustine, Pooler, Zambales, Ariel’s Point, Hong Kong, Catalina Island, Santa Barbara, Omni La Costa, Great Wolf Lodge, and Looc. These places are only the ones we visited during anniversaries and don’t include side trips we take during the year (San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, etc.)
Now that we have kids, traveling entails a lot more planning and preparing. We just came back from a trip that made us fly 13 hours each way. I honestly thought it wasn’t as bad as I imagined with 2 toddlers in tow. Planes are now equipped with screens for each passenger that offer movies of all genre, tv shows, games, shopping and food ordering. I brought a portable DVD player, reading and activity books, crayons and some other trinkets I thought might be useful. I didn’t have to use any of it. They did watch on the iPad and iPhone when they got tired of their screens, but that’s pretty much it. Plus, airlines also provide free activity kits for kids.
I asked 15 amazing moms that frequently travel with their small ones and asked what one tip they would give for traveling with kids. They all said the same ones, and then some:
– Pack a lot of snacks, and water
– Pack snacks like you’ve never packed before
– Bring activity books
– Bring toys
– Travel with another adult to lessen stress
– Get the blue vomit bags from the doctors and have handy. Makes clean up way easier for carsick babies
– Book red eye flights
– Make sure all gadget for kids are fully charged (use itube to watch cached utube videos offline – for Android users only),
– When on a road trip, getting a happy meal isn’t a bad idea
– Pack a ziploc bag with neosporin spray, different size band aids, 2×2 gauze, alcohol pads, and a small bottle with hydrogen peroxide. And a bottle of kids ibuprofen.
– Bring first-aid kits, insect repellants. Make sure his/her vaccines are all up-to-date. Be aware of safety precautions about the place you’re visiting (e.g. Philippines-dengue, New zealand-sting bees and alike)
– Dont overpack/pack light (one way to do this may be one parent packs everything in one bag, then the other parent ‘QAs’ and removes anything that’s not needed)
– Write everything from toiletries to clothes, snacks, formula, bottles, gadgets/toys, phone/tablet chargers.
– Have an extra backpack for all unnecessary stuff
– Give kids responsibility by making them in charge of their own stuff (count and always keep an eye on them), and tell them to always be on the go.
– Allow them to be curious. Be reminded that you went for a trip to enjoy. So don’t be the “no!”-mom
– It shouldn’t be a stressful trip. Just go with the flow and follow where your child will lead you and be a kid again.
It may seem overwhelming at first, but bringing your kids to new places is definitely worth it. It will open their minds to a world full of amazing possibilities. It is pure magic to see their eyes fill with wonder and hear their screams of excitement as they discover something new.
Plan that dream vacation today, and start your kids wanderlusting.