Whether you have children of your own or your guests have children, traveling with kids can be a stressful and exhausting process if you're not fully prepared. Taking a trip with children -- especially by air -- can make the start of your destination wedding experience a complete disaster, but these simple tips can help avert the stress and get your festivities started on the right foot.
1) Don't Be So Quick to Take a Red-Eye Flight. I learned this the hard way -- the long exhausting hard way. We recently assumed because our 21-month-old was such a good sleeper it would only be natural to take a red-eye flight because of course she'd just sleep through the whole flight to Cancun. Well guess what? She didn't, not even a little bit. I don't know if it was the excitement of being on a plane or the woman who kept flipping her light on and off in front of us, but our toddler was overstimulated by the environment and experiencing extreme exhaustion which of course leads to = cranky kid. To top it off my husband and I assumed because our baby would be so tired and sleep through most of the flight we could pull an all-nighter the night before and just sleep on the plane. Well guess what, she didn't sleep on the plane and neither did we! I cannot tell you how elated we were to finally land in Mexico because it meant we were one step closer to checking into our hotel room and taking a nap.
So before you decide that a red-eye flight is the way to go if you're traveling with kids, be prepared for your kids to have an opposite reaction and don't be surprised if neither of you get any sleep. You also have to consider that the rest of the plane will be expecting some quiet time during an overnight flight, so if you've got a high-energy child who loves to sing out loud (yes we have one of those), your sleepy seatmates may not be so happy about the in-air concert courtesy of your sweet kid
2) Have an Entertainment Pack Ready. This goes for parents traveling via air, train, water or ground. Make sure you're equipped with a bag full of goodies to keep your kid occupied and busy. That means having books, coloring books, crayons, stickers, flashcards, etc. by your side. The bright side to our red-eye flight disaster to Mexico is that when we went back home to California, we took an afternoon flight and our toddler was perfectly happy throughout because she was knee deep in her coloring books and stickers. She was happy as a clam and this reduced our stress levels by a ton!
3) Bring an iPad or Tablet. If you're OK with letting your child use electronics, then make sure you don't forget your tablet or iPad when you're traveling. I cannot tell you how much easier this makes our trips when our toddler can watch one of her favorite nursery rhyme videos. And don't forget, to download videos onto your device before your trip because a good WiFi connection can be hard to come by when you're on the road.
4) Carry a Diaper Bag with Extras. This goes without saying, but just in case, don't forget to have a diaper bag and extra clothes within an arm's reach when you're traveling. Temperatures on a plane can vary so be ready to either take layers off or add them on. And of course, you never want to be stuck without an extra diaper or extra outfit if your child has leaky diaper or an accident.
5) Travel with Snacks/Food. Don't rely on food on the road, especially if your child is a picky eater. Better to have at least small snacks at hand or pack simple meals like sandwiches. A hungry kid is an unhappy kid. Fruit snacks and granola bars or even pieces of fruit can go a long way on keeping your kiddo happy and content as you make your trek.
6) Travel with medications. If your child is on any special medication, you obviously need to make sure to pack it. But packing general over-the-counter medications is also a good idea. Be it cold medicine, fever/pain medication or cough drops (for the older kids), having these things handy is a good safety precaution in case your child feels under the weather.
And DON'T FORGET! You have to make the trip back home, so consider all of these things both going to and coming home from your destination!
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About me: I am a former BDW Bride AKA as MarieSam and was addicted to this forum as I planned my own wedding in 2009. Since 2010, I have been the proud owner of MarieSam Sanchez Photography -- a husband and wife photography team based in Southern California and documenting love all over the world. I am also the proud mother to two girls -- a 20-year-old and a 21-month-old