We had the most fabulous time in Hong Kong, but I will write in more detail about our trip at a later date. Beside the toddler, it was the first time overseas for the other four children. They really all traveled brilliantly and the nine hour flight was much better than I anticipated. Today I thought I would share with you some general observations and learnings from our trip. These tips will still be helpful even if you are traveling domestically:
- Place the same colour ribbon on all your suitcases, it makes it easier to identify them and the kids become familiar with this and can help you find your luggage.
- Take at least one small empty suitcase with you. Not only will this be helpful for the stuff you and the kids buy, but my kids wanted to keep all sorts of treasures they gathered on the way (straws, stickers, containers etc).
- Check in online as soon as you are able to, so you can obtain the best seating arrangements for your family. We go over two rows, so checking in early is important to make sure we can get two rows together. You can generally check in up to 48 hours before your flight.
- Let the kids have time to watch TV/play games on the plane, but if you travel at night, make sure they are turned off at a reasonable time so they can get some sleep. The lights tend to come back on two hours before landing and can wake them up.
- If you have five kids, one of them is bound to get sick. Make sure if the country you are visiting allows it, you take basic medicines like panadol, dimetapp etc.
- The advice from my friend Caroline about taking extra food for the plane and when you first arrive in another country was completely spot on. Take low mess, non perishable snacks to have on hand for the kids.
- Always have at least one spare set of clothes for the toddler.
- Take the time to hunt for kid friendly hotels but ones that mum and dad will also like.
Swimming in the hotel pool for the kids will be one of their favourite activities – let them have time to do it.
- You will fit much less in a day with kids, than when you traveled on your own. Sightseeing with kids needs to be at a pace they can enjoy. Slim down the attractions you want to visit so they touring is a manageable pace for the kids.
- If you checkout of the hotel well before your flight, make sure you have a change of clothes for each child in an easy to access section of one of the suitcases. Also have a supply of nappy wipes (even if you don’t have a child in nappies) so you can give everyone a wipe down to freshen up before the plane.
What have you learnt from traveling overseas with kids?