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I do not like travel. I am terrified of it you could say! Even before I had kids I did not enjoy the flight motion or the fact that I needed to stay away from 'my' comfortable bed. Leaving the home meant leaving a routine and I am a big routine person. Once the kids arrived I started stressing even more.
Our first big travel after Z arrived was a long journey to India. I still remember holding a two month old in a Baby Bjorn and trying to push the stroller which help my 22 month old Isaac. It has gotten better since then and I have learned a lot of lessons on how to prepare the kids for travel day. Here is my 'vishesh tippany' (Special Advise). I hope other mommies find it useful
Prep them up: They are never too small to understand anything. From as little as 3 months you can talk or read to your little one. There are so many books on trains, planes and boats. Show these to your child. Make an origami paper plane. Make airplane and train sounds to get them excited. When they are older you can probably speak with them on how much time it takes to get there or what to do when your ear starts hurting. I remember Z and I on a trip to Bombay opening and closing their mouth like little fishes.
Travel light: As light as you can possibly do. DH very often says 'Take you passport and your wallet - you can buy everything else'. Well when we were sans kids this seemed to be fair advice. But with kids the are definitely a few essentials. Most flight food is bland and so you may be able to survive with it. But if you have a baby, you definitely need to carry the mashed up stuff. And then there are few essentials like the extra pair of clothes or two and the diapers and the wipes. While most of these may be available at the airport it is good to pack these in a diaper bag.
Snack ideas: Don't go for the oily stuff. Carry fruits that the kids can snack on or raisins or dry cereal that they like eating. On one flight from Bangalore to Mumbai , I and Z got excited about the food being given in the plane and started eating all kinds of stuff : rice, bread with butter, juice etc. It was a bumpy landing and at the terminal we were holding a newspaper full of throw-up. Z had brought up everything she had eaten. That's another thing, accidents happen! I learned my lesson and now I ask for a barf bag as soon as I get on a flight. Carry plastic bags for train or car trips in case the kids get sick.
Carry on luggage: While traveling with kids make sure you have kid friendly carry-on luggage. You need both your hands and more to help them out. So the ideal carry on luggage is haversack on your shoulders.
Travel timing: Whenever we drive, we try to plan it around sleep time. DH and I are morning people so we make sure we leave at 4 in the morning. This give us a good 3 hours of time before the kids wake up. It is peaceful driving! I choose flight timings too based on whether there is a chance they will take a nap on the flight.
Bassinet/Seat: Most international flight have the option of a bassinet. This was so useful when traveling with a 2 month old Z who slept most of the time. I did not need to hold her. I could just put her in the bassinet. Some international flights let you take car seats and my kids are great at sleeping in the car seat. But this is only useful if you need the car seat on the other end of the trip i.e. like traveling to the US.
Security Check: This is the most annoying part of flight travel even when you travel alone. You have to remove laptop and other things before going through the security. If you have two kids running around crazy it becomes so much harder. The key again here is to travel light. Take only essentials. Declare out stuff like water for the kids or food that you need to carry for them. Most Security Checks go smoother when you have told them everything you have in your bag. I usually go there and remove everything on the small trays they provide.
Entertainment: Whether it is the railway station or the airport there is plenty to entertain the kids. Keep them occupied. At railway stations we usually walk up and down looking at engines and other fun stuff. Some airports have children's play area. On our travel to Singapore we discovered this play area and it entertained the kids for 45 minutes as we waited to board our flight. On flight we usually have some videos stocked on a fully charged laptop and this definitely helps keep them calm. One thing Isaac loves doing is walking around the flight. If its a relatively big flight, this may not be such a bad idea. A few trips around the cabin and maybe the little one will tire themselves to fall asleep. Car trips are usually passed by lots of books to ready, good music and maybe in desperate situations a tablet with some kiddie games on it.
The best way though to get I and Z excited about travel is to talk to them about who they are going to meet at the other end of the travel or what all they may see at the end of the travel. It makes the travel an adventure!