How to Travel With Children (and Not Get a Migraine)

Come Chinese New Year, Christmas, or any other big occasion, there are bound to be families travelling with children. Personally, your writer for today thinks children are adorable and will have 17 of them one day; but when it comes to travelling with them, that’s a different story. While there’s no way to make travelling with children comfortable, there are some ways to make the best of it:

Read also: The Bucket List Family: Would You Sell Everything and Travel the Globe? 

#1 Have Supplies in Your Carry-on


Always have a carry-on bag with enough supply for about a day. There are two reasons for this. The first is that sometimes, you’ll need those supplies like snacks or a favourite toy to calm your crying children. The second reason is that sometimes luggage goes missing. Unless you are ready to do some impromptu shopping (and the brands you use may not be available where you land), keep a supply outside the suitcase.

#2  Separate Medication With Coloured Containers

Box Medical Medication Medicine Pills Pillbox
Box Medical Medication Medicine Pills Pillbox

If your children have conditions like asthma, and need devices like an inhaler, keep them in a separate coloured container. Then teach your children where to find them on short notice.

Never throw everything into the luggage in one big pile — while you may have the grown-up sense and patience to find it in the mess, a sick and panicked child won’t. Also, you won’t get frustrated and use a naughty word in front of your nine-year-old when you panic and can’t find it.

#3 Snap Photographs of Your Children 


It’s always to be better to be safe than sorry, and always prepared. In the event that they go missing, it is absolutely imperative that you have a digital image you can show and distribute to authorities. It’s even more helpful than passport photos if your pictures include the clothes they are currently wearing.

You don’t need to line them up like mugshots at a police station; just take a family photo on your phone, before going on your trip

#4 Bring Entertainment


Children get bored faster than your boyfriend in a shoe store, so bring one kind of entertainment per hour of the trip. I learned this after being forced to play I Spy while driving at two in the morning, and that particular game started at 8 pm when I got the rental car. My temples are still throbbing five years later.

Colouring pencils, Lego, and tactile objects are needed for young children. Yes, they’ll get lost down the sides of the seats, but it’s either that or let them break your sanity. Unlike you, a five-year-old really can’t sit in a chair for 11 hours playing Candy Crush, or watch four movies in a row.

The best form of entertainment, incidentally, is letting them interact with other children. They’ll be out of your hair for the entire trip.

#5 Check What Your Children Pack


We once had an 11-year-old in my care start limping after an hour, because his pack was too heavy. Turns out he brought his entire Playstation console, and we were saddled with that throughout a nine-day trip to St Petersburg. So while it’s adorable that they packed on their own, just check. Or you will discover new heights of inconvenience.

#6 Ask the Staff to Give the Kids a Tour if Possible


Sometimes, the airline staff will let the children see the cockpit of the plane; or the ship’s captain will let them see…the maps or whatever (We don’t know what goes on in a ship — too preoccupied trying not to retch on our shoes). This will keep the children quiet for an hour or two.

#7 Get the Children to Move Their Feet


On long flights, be sure to take the children for a quiet stroll up and down the aisles. First, this gives you a chance to tell them to use the toilet. Tell them to go, don’t wait; otherwise, they’ll wait exactly eight seconds before landing to want to go poop, while the seatbelt sign is on.

Second, children really can get sick or suffer from cramps, if you leave them curled up in one position on a long haul flight. Get them stretch their legs a bit.

Find your next family vacation

Photo credits: Main, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7

Ryan Ong

Ryan Ong has been a writer for 12 years, and formerly contributed to magazines such as Men's Health, Esquire, and Her World. Some of them may even have forgiven him. Ryan currently writes for a large number of blogs, so that the shouts of the editors cancel each other out. He is into property investment, personal finance, and buying books that make him look smart if he dies suddenly and people search his room. At the age of 10, his ambition in life was to be an apple tree. Things have since gone downhill since then. Ryan is a frequent traveller, as every country he visits seems quick to suggest he visit another one.

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