Traveling with kids

Traveling with kids what can I say it will be a challenge.  I’m divorced from the kids father and have custody but luckily my ex-husband is from Senegal the country we will be moving too.  We mutually agreed that it would be in the best interest of the kids to experience his home country.  He was a little worried about the kids adjusting but warmed up to the idea and agreed to the move.

In order to move I would suggest you get a certified letter from the father/mother agreeing to move the child (ren) out of the country.  Bring this letter with you and keep with your passport and visa information.  Here is more information about state requirements:  http://family-law.lawyers.com/child-custody/relocating-with-children-after-divorce.html.

Now that my kids are older they are into iPods, nooks, etc.  I would suggest getting one of these type of devices for flights longer then 5 hours because they will drive you crazy on the plane.  My flight from Washington, DC to Dakar is 7 1/2 hours and it is a night flight so they will be sleep from 9 pm (normal bedtime) till we land around 6 am in ‘challah.

5 tips for travelling with children:

Encourage them to keep a travel journal

Get your kids drawing and listing things they’ve seen and interesting foods they’ve tried. Who knows, this might also encourage them to try different foods. Collecting postcards from places you visit and asking them to write themselves a message on the back means they can reach adulthood with a library of memories all their own.

Brand them

If you’re going to be travelling through busy, crowded airports or transport hubs, write your child’s arm in pen if they get lost.  It sounds silly but it works.

Take your time

The greatest thing you can take – whether at the airport, sightseeing or getting from A to B – is extra time. Kids love to explore and don’t care for the time pressures of travel, so you’re more likely to all keep your cool if you cause the, stalling, toilet stops and tantrums into your timeframe.

Priority preference

Priority seating, this is my favorite because my children are my ticket to bypass LONG lines.  I don’t know if all the countries outside of the U.S. do this but all the ones I have traveled to in Europe and Africa give special service to: people with kids/baby, pregnant women, special needs and the elderly.   Believe me after 12 hours of traveling with your tired kids you will want to take advantage of this feature.

Rest – Flying is tiring but flying internationally can be exhausting so don’t plan much on your first day of arrival. Also, if you have a huge time difference your children may struggle sleeping, so don’t fill your whole day with activities or you may find them napping (or was he having a tantrum).

Make your whole trip a learning experience for your family. You may want to get a head start on the cultural & language experiences at home before you start your travel adventure.

A few extra tips to help keep you sane:

Arrive early. I am the queen of cutting it close for flights, but once I had children, I realized that rushing through the airport with crying kids wasn’t going to work.  Now I would rather have an hour before hand to give us time to calmly walk to our gate.

Also, if you’re traveling with another adult, give each other breaks.  Give each other a specific time so you don’t miss your flight, such as, “Why don’t you take 15 minutes and flip through a magazine or something before we board the plane? Or I will take the kids on their 20th train ride so you can rest your eyes.”

What are some of your tips and tricks for traveling with kids?