They say – holidaying with kids is not a vacation, it’s a change of location. How true do you find this to be?
I arrived in India 2 days ago after a very eventful 20 hours. I had been awake from 2am after falling asleep at 11pm on the Tuesday gone. Then at 3am, it was a real challenge putting my 2 year old grumpy toddler, and sleeping 5 month old baby into the car and arriving at the brightly lit airport. The toddler has been awake ever since until reaching our apartment in Mumbai on Wednesday at 12.30am.
My baby was so well behaved I could have even forgotten that I had taken him along. My toddler on the other hand made up for this. He is generally an overly active little boy who is a delight when he is in a good mood. However when he is grumpy, his terrible two starts showing and my terrible patience makes an appearance.
But I am no stranger to travelling with kids. We have been on planes multiple times over the past 2 years, ever since my first born was one and a half months old. I have learnt a few tips to keep us all going, and would like to share three:
- Make sure you rest well prior to travel. Travelling with kids is so unpredictable that you can almost assume you are not going to get much sleep, especially with 2 under 2 in the tow. So, if possible, get a good night’s rest the day prior to travel. Perhaps a friend or grandparent can help look after your kids while you rest. You need all the energy you can muster up.
- Travel light. The last time I traveled to India from Australia, I made a big mistake in taking too many clothes, toys and baby items in my hand luggage. My shoulders started hurting and it made me so exhausted and in pain. This time however, I took the absolute essentials without overdoing it – one packet of wipes, one set of change clothes for each kid, 5 nappies for each kid (diaper pods are nice and compact), 2 SMALL toys for each kid, water bottle for the toddler, milk powder and bottles for the baby, a blanket for the baby, nappy sacks and 3 small squeezable pouches with food in them for the toddler. All this fit in one small-ish bag.
- It’s not a bad idea to invest in the cheapest stroller you can find. Toddlers, at some point, will want you to carry them especially if they see their baby sibling on your hip. And it is not their fault, airports these days require you to walk marathon distances. I found that the stroller was a real life saver.
Of course though, you can’t prepare for absolutely everything though. We had a transit stop at Singapore for a few hours. We headed to the food court in Terminal 3 for some food and I had pulled up the kids and our luggage next to a table with chairs. The food court was on the first floor overlooking the buzzing airport below. There was a glass panel up to the height of my shoulders so we could sit and see everything below. So what does my toddler decide to do?
He dragged a chair from another table, and leaned it against the glass panel. I jumped to grab him in case he decided to dive (which was a real possibility). As I held him safe, I looked the other way towards my baby just for 10 seconds. In that 10 seconds, my toddler decided it would be fun to remove one of his shoes. I turned around just in time to see him chuck it over the glass panel and watch it fly down onto the sea of unlucky travellers.
Like I said, you can’t prepare for everything, but still glad we decided on a change of location.