Tips For Traveling With Small Children
Traveling with small children is always going to be a challenge, but there are some simple tips that can make the whole experience of your Jamaica family vacation go more smoothly. To accomplish this, you will need to practice some exact planning, be prepared for change, and expect some down time.
Bag of Goodies
Pack a small bag, such as a kid’s backpack with plenty of distractions for the children. Traveling means lots of waiting around in environments that can quickly lead to a meltdown. Make sure to include some of your children’s favorite toys, but don’t pack anything to big. Also pack a few new items that can be surprises and used when nothing else seems to help keep the child relaxed and content. The novelty of having a new toy can make a huge difference.
Avoid over packing, which can be hard when it comes to kids, but less stuff means it will be easier to manoeuvre everyone as smoothly as possible. It also means you can keep your hands free. Keep all essential documents in a travel purse that you can put around your neck, or a fanny pack. It will leave your hands free to hold a child’s hand or quickly be able to tend to their needs. If you’re lugging tons of stuff around keeping track of the kids can turn into a nightmare task.
Allow Extra Time
Don’t underestimate how much time you’ll need to get from place to place. Getting through security and through the crowds of the airport with small children can take much longer than if you’re flying solo. You will need to allow time for unexpected delays, such as changing a diaper or clothes because of an accident.
Keep the Stroller
Don’t check your stroller when you first check in with your other luggage. In most cases you can take your stroller through security and check it at the gate. This can make life much easier. Small children don’t have to be carried or walk long distances, which can lead to crankiness. In a stroller, you may even get lucky with the child taking a nap. It can also act as a storage device that allows you to keep your hands free. When you check the stroller at the gate, it means you’ll be able to have it as soon as you get off the plane.
Help Their Ears
Flying can cause painful ear pressure, especially in young children. While it’s impossible to prevent it completely, and some children will be affected worse than others, it is possible to reduce the pressure by providing a bottle or pacifier to suck on, or to encourage the child to swallow by drinking some water. Something like a tootsie pop can be excellent to if the child is old enough to have one. There is also a wonderful new device called Airplanes. These are special ear plugs that keep the ear open, thus no pressure pain. Children’s versions are available for two to nine year old.
Stay in a Vacation Rental
A vacation rental is the best way to travel with children. You don’t have to worry about getting the kids settled to last through eating out, and it’s OK if they are loud or run around. There will be more space and entertainment on hand as well. Plus it will be more of a home environment, which will help the kids adjust to being somewhere new quicker.
Have a Rough Plan
It is hard to spend your days spontaneously when traveling with small children. Before you travel make a rough plan of what family activities you want to do and when. You may need to book certain times, so it doesn’t interfere with a nap time or causing the kids to get to bed to late.
Also, be happy with the idea that you just may not to do everything you want on your Jamaica family vacation. Sometimes, you may just have to be happy with spending an afternoon by the pool if it means the kids stay happy. Research all of the age appropriate activities in the area in advance, so you’re never stuck for something to do.
Always have snacks on hand, but make sure they are items that won’t go bad quickly. It is also good to make sure they are non-messy snacks, but just in case have a pack of baby wipes handy, they can be a life saver. Carrying liquids, such as juice boxes can be a problem for the plane, but when you are out exploring your destination, it is good to always have something to drink on hand. Snacks also provide a great distraction for restless children. Bring a sippy cup to put any drinks in to avoid any spills in the hands of kids that aren’t ready to safely use a regular cup.
Let Them Take Part
How much you can involve your kids in the planning process and making memories will depend on their age, but letting them be part of the whole process will get them more exciting about your Jamaica family vacation. A fun activity is to give each child a disposable camera, so they can take their own photos during the trip. Also give each child a blank journal that they can use as their trip scrapbook, be it just something they can draw in or something more complicated, this is something even small children can enjoy. Try and make everything you’re doing sound exciting, and even let the kids make some decisions, such as what day they should go for an ice-cream treat.
Bring Some Comfort Items
Sleeping in a strange place can be upsetting for young children. Try to help your kids adjust and sleep better by bringing some comfort items, such as a stuffed toy or blankie. If they have a night-light in their room bring that too, it is small, light, and could make the difference between a restless or restful night.
Please do not hesitate to contact us regarding your Ocho Rios/Jamaica travel questions and/or any special requirements. We are just as excited as you are when it comes to Ochi, so send us your questions, inquiries or feedback whenever you’d like.