Friday, March 4, 2016

Traveling With Children: A Few Tips

We like to travel. We are somewhat addicted to traveling. Having a family does not stop us or slow us down... perhaps it even encourages us more. We want to expose our children to different experiences as best as we are able to. With kids, we have been to Germany, Italy, France, Hawaii, across Canada and the northern USA so --- BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI (not yet to Newfoundland)... Maine, Washington DC, New York City, Philadelphia, Wisconsin Dells, Mt. Rushmore, Seattle, etc. For a 6 year old and 3 year old, that's not too shabby. For adults, we like to think that's not too shabby. With all of this traveling with children, we have learned a few things:
  1. Activities in ziplock bags is convenient; keeps them sorted and more accessible.
  2. Limit the activities you bring. Too many provides too many choices and takes up too much space. 3 for each child is appropriate.
  3. Mega blocks provide a surprisingly great activity. They are big enough to not get lost and easy to contain.
  4. Only use electronic devices after a set period of travel where the child(ren) have been calm.
  5. Any opportunity to allow the children to run around, take advantage of: seatbelt sign is off on the airplane, let them stand/walk by the washrooms; washroom pit stop on a long car ride, allow 5 minutes for them to run around - set a timer if you have to so 5 minutes doesn't become 45 but allow sufficient time for everyone to stretch their legs. By setting the timer, children are made aware (even if there is a bit of a learning curve) how long they are able to race around.
  6. Any opportunity to let the children rest, take advantage of it. If you are driving and the children are sleeping, keep driving as long as your body (and itinerary) appropriately allows. 
  7. With sleeping arrangements, don't be afraid to convert the bathroom into another bedroom or temporary living room. On our cross country trip our children were aged 2 and 4 and sleeping in the same room was difficult. A routine that ended up working well for us was putting the 2 year old down for the night while the 4 year old had a prong longed bath. We even set up blankets on the bathroom floor to allow him to watch a show while his younger brother fell asleep. In the morning, because the younger child always woke earlier, he and I would watch a show in the bathroom while the rest of the slept. 
I am sure that I will add to this list but there is a start...

....We have been fortunate enough to travel from Canada to Germany several times. "Dad" is born and raised there so that is certainly part of the motivation but it has enabled us to have some notable experiences. If you are ever in Berlin, the zoo is an absolutely must!!  Below are a few snapshots of some of the animals we have been able to see. The animals are exceptionally well cared for and the proximity which you can get to them is phenomenal... and with that, I will sign off for today. Stay tuned for more snapshots of our travels.