21 Brainy hacks when travelling with kids
When you come back from a trip, do you feel the need for another vacation from your vacation? Are you the parent who brings the whole house when you go on an overnight staycation or at the beach? Do you get discouraged with the possibility of doing an out of country trip when your local vacation feels and looks so difficult? Do you zone out looking at your luggage when its time to unpack from your trip?
My husband and I have been traveling with our children for more than 5 years. Sometimes we tag them along because we have work for a day or two and extend our stay for some family time. To name a few, we’ve brought the kids to local destinations like Boracay, Bella Rocca, Mt Pinatubo, Palawan and Balesin. For international trips, we’ve been to Korea, Singapore, Japan, and farthest would be the USA with a child in tow.
On some trips, it was just my husband who took care of our son without me. “How did Jayjay survive 7 days in Japan and a whole day trip in Mt Pinatubo without me? Here we share our tried and tested hacks when travelling with kids!
“Hi mommy Feliz, I would like to ask how do you manage travelling with a baby/kids. We have an upcoming trip. I am concerned about the long flight. How do you manage to keep the baby calm inside the airplane? How do you manage your itinerary and meals? Hope you could help me”
BRAINY HACK 1: Do prepared packing
Plan out what each of you will wear for each day. Roll the clothing per look stored in an airtight clothes ziplock. Make sure to choose a color theme (ex Black, blue, pink and grey) so that it will be easy to mix match just in case you decide to change what you have prepared. Include underwear and diapers in your pack. I usually pack 3 diapers per day’s bag.
BRAINY HACK 2: Prepared diaper quantity = more room for pasalbong
Be familiar with the number of diapers that your baby uses for a day. Multiply that with the number of days that you will be away and add a buffer of 7 pcs. I calculate this so that the space the diapers took up will be replaced with pasalubongs.
We’ve tried and tested Pamper’s Baby-Dry’s 12 hour skin dryness so we usually just use 2 diapers and 1 is a back up for emergencies per day! And our extra back up is in expert hack # 5 below.
BRAINY HACK 3: Think prepared unpacking - Sort your laundry and items
Sort and roll your dirty clothes per bag by: whites, colored/black, or for dry-clean, so that when you arrive back home, you can easily dump them in the laundry. It is less stressful when you unpack.
BRAINY HACK 4: Live in 1 luggage
If possible to live in 1 luggage for the whole family, then do so! Only bring what you need! My husband and I travelled around Europe for 1 month with just 1 luggage each with our clothing, camera gears, toiletries and room for some “pasalubong”. It’s possible!
BRAINY HACK 5: Merge your personal bag and baby bag
When travelling, I use a backpack containing all my personal items and the children’s necessities. My bag contains: my wallet, powerbank, snacks, drinks, diapers, change of clothes, and wet wipes. I place 7 diapers and take them out when we arrive the hotel. Whenever we go around, I just keep 4 diapers but mostly just really use 2 pcs because of Pamper’s baby-dry’s new 3 magic channels. It is more absorbent, no “lawlaw” and keeps the baby’s skin protected from irritation. Plus because of hack #6.
BRAINY HACK 6: Teach your children independence
Teach your children independence and communication so that when they need something they can do it on their own. Ethan carries and is responsible for his own backpack where all his emergency necessities are there. We rarely use it but it’s ready. As for Calea, she does the baby sign language “poo poo” when she needs to go to the toilet. So we rarely have poop problems in her diapers. And when we do, it is not a problem because the poop is usually nicely caught without mess or leaks (sorry for the visuals but my husband who is the designated diaper changer is really happy about this feature of Pampers Baby-Dry).
BRAINY HACK 7: Explore the airport
I keep my kids awake while at the airport. Play, explore and eat! Make your child play, eat, and drink fluids and go to the toilet while waiting for your boarding. So when they get to the plane, they’re knocked out without you worrying about them peeing or changing their diapers. You want them asleep all throughout the flight, right?
BRAINY HACK 8: Drink fluids
During take off and landing, make them drink fluids or latch on you. To encourage sleep and help them with ear pressure.
BRAINY HACK 9: Don’t forget hack # 7
Usually outbound from Manila is easy and the kids are asleep inflight but inbound to Manila becomes more difficult because the kid’s energy is up. Don’t forget hack # 7 or schedule a flight where the kids are scheduled to sleep.
BRAINY HACK 10: Entertainment inflight
If they don’t get to sleep, entertain them. Prepare toys and books. Expect each toy to last for 1 minute. If you want longer time, use sensory toys. I usually use this opportunity to teach also.
BRAINY HACK 11: Teach boundaries
Practice your child to be buckled in high chairs and car seats months prior to your flight.
BRAINY HACK 12: Self care
Prepare your mind, heart and body. Drink or eat your happy booster, roll on some calming essential oil and be dependent on prayer; before the trip, during and count your answered prayers after. When you’ve done your best but the kids become like cats and dogs; inhale and pray!!
BRAINY HACK 13: Visit the nearest convenient store or grocery
Bring dried fruits, Nori chips, cookies, yogurt, and energy bars in your backpack. Upon checking in your hotel or airbnb, visit a grocery, buy fruits, water, milk and whatever necessary. It will be cheaper and you will be more prepared without worrying about your kid’s meals. This minimizes stopovers and allows you to explore more places.
BRAINY HACK 14: Expect possible diarrhea
If you will be going to a country with unique spices and food taste, expect that your kid’s tummy will have to adjust. Sometimes causing diarrhea. Always best to let them eat yogurt or bring probiotics. Which is why I always bring 4 diapers in my backpack. The small pants pack of Pampers baby-dry has 4 pcs. Instead of bringing the whole 70pcs bag, purchase those single use 4 pcs/pack to protect your diapers also from getting contaminated from your other items inside the bag.
BRAINY HACK 15: First aid ready
You should always have this: allergy syrup/tablets for kids and adults, meds for fever and medication of your child or husband.
BRAINY HACK 16: Cooking momma
If you want to be more careful with what your kids eat, you can buy those small portable and electric cook pans and bring it with you to prepare your food. Otherwise, just be selective with the restaurants
BRAINY HACK 17: Anticipate delays
You are heading out the door and suddenly your kids say: “Mommy, I need to poop” or your baby just suddenly poops in her diaper. Seriously, this is our number 1 delay!! So anticipate delays but you can also prevent it. Create a routine of toilet training in the morning either upon waking up, after breakfast or prior to bath time, you teach your child to potty already. This will save you from wasting unnecessary diapers.
BRAINY HACK 18: Plan your itinerary
A prepared agenda means less stress. Sometimes you can book “skip the line” tickets. Always show that you have a child! There is usually a priority line for that (especially during immigration). If you are a first time traveller, it’s possible that you might not go to a lot of places. Choose a hotel/airbnb where its accessible to the places you want to go.
BRAINY HACK 19: Taxis that say no to kids
Do your research if the law of the country will allow your child to ride taxis, grab or Uber without a car carrier or car seat. Prepare a back up plan. When we were in the US, the Uber driver declined to allow us to ride because we had Ethan with us without a child car seat. Bring a slim portable car seat. There is one that is readily available in the market. Otherwise, if your child is below 1 year old, you might consider doing a prepared pick up and advise the driver to prepare a car seat.
BRAINY HACK 20: Anticipate your mode of transportation around the city
If you will be taking the MTR or bus, I suggest you use a body baby carrier AND an easy to use and lightweight stroller. Ready for naps of the kids and ready to change the diapers anywhere and anytime! The Pampers baby-dry pants are easy to remove. We usually tear the sides and replace it with tape diaper just in case the city we are in is cold. Our 7pc emergency is usually the tape and our prepared diaper per pack is usually the pants type. Tape diapers will allow you to change without removing your baby’s bottoms.
BRAINY HACK 21: Expect that nothing will go as planned and just laugh
Always remember that you learn while you travel. It doesn’t have to be perfect and flawless. Do not be discouraged. But use every circumstance as an opportunity to be an intentional parent. Getting lost might teach your child to learn directions, skipping meals might teach your child to value meals, loosing items might teach your children responsibility and the power of prayer to find the missing item once again. Kids whining and screaming might teach you that you cannot do it on your own and how dependent you will be on prayer and for your kids to see how important prayer is. And to see the effect that when you make time for Jesus to start the day, it usually turns out great! Practice unconditional love; that though expectations are not met from your family member, let them know that you love them no matter what!
A family trip is always a milestone. Embrace both good and bad experiences because there is no greater joy than to grow through this as a family! Travelling is always the best teacher to learn, to overcome difficulties and to see beauty.
*This blog is in partnership with Pampers. All shared opinions are my own.