The year end festive season will be upon us in no time, much as we anticipate and look forward to holiday travel or road trips, the thought of crowds, cranky or sensory sensitive children and over-booked flights is enough to make our stress levels go up. Fear not, as we share some useful tips and ‘secret’ tools to make your holidays better!
1. Prepare, prepare, prepare
Give yourself ample time to prepare – start off with compiling everyone’s travel documents, ensure passport validity and visas (if required) are in place. Next, confirm flight/train bookings and accommodation. If you have special requests, notify the airline or hotel early. Have a list of emergency contact numbers of the country that you’re visiting handy; leave your next-of-kin a copy of your itinerary and a number where they can reach you in the event of an emergency.
Do remember to activate your credit card(s) for overseas use (some countries require pin codes) and ensure that you have adequate cash. Sign up for data-roaming (or find out what are the local data plans available. For example in Korea, you can order the data card ahead of time and collect at the airport) prior to departure and most of all, remember to purchase travel insurance. Once the hard details have been taken care of, you can relax a little and move on to prepping for a comfortable and hopefully tantrum-free trip!
Extra Tip: Take a picture of your passports and have it stored somewhere safely, encrypt it if possible. That way in the event you get pickpocketed or lose your bags, you can prove your identity. Saves a little of hassle.
Pack plenty of snacks and drinks for everyone; let each member have some of their favourite comfort picks on the food list while including healthy bites. As the saying goes, water is best! Tip: Pop an effervescent multi-vitamin into your children’s water bottles (but not just before the flight, we don’t want exploding water bottles causing a fountain on the airplane). This ensures they get their daily dose of vitamins as well as staying hydrated.
Extra Tip: Stay off soda as it is dehydrating and chock-full of sugar.
Extra Tip: Natural calming balm made from lavender soothes and induces rest when rubbed on pulse points. An inflatable leg pillow can help you get rest.
4. Keeping them engaged
Inflight entertainment is enjoyable for all, but often, the headphones that are on the plane are a one-size fits all catering to adults. Pack Califone’s animal-themed headphones (airplanes these days provide the adaptor) which are specially made for smaller heads or children from the ages of 2 to 9.
Pre-load some of their favourite games into a tablet, get them to write postcards to be sent home (it could be to their friends, family members or even to themselves! Children get a thrill from receiving mail that has travelled round the world to reach them).
Extra Tip: For older children, have them write a travel journal. The adventures notated will leave them with much treasured memories and the hours will fly by in no time!
5. The 3-ply rule
One to wear, one in the wash and one as an extra – go by the rule and your luggage won’t be over-flowing with too many pieces of unnecessary clothings.
Extra Tip: Always pack an extra set of clothes for everyone (to carry on), you never know when a cup of coffee or juice may spill or mistakenly sitting on some unidentifiable substance. Tip: Pack them in a wetbag to keep your hand-luggage clean and dry.
6. Pace yourselves
While we want to see as much of a foreign country as we can, a holiday is meant to be relaxing, not packed with 101 places to visit or things to do. Have a leisurely start with a good breakfast and enjoy every moment without rushing to the next destination.
Remember- children feed off our energy, be it positive or negative. By staying calm and relaxed, we as parents manage tears and tantrums better too.
Extra Tip: Put the kids to bed early so you can either take turns as parents to go to the gym or go to a spa. Or simply relax in the hotel and enjoy it. Afterall, a holiday is meant to be relaxing.
Don’t worry about a perfect vacation, perfect is what we make out of each moment or situation. Happy holidays and safe travels everyone!
Jasmine T is a volunteer and guest contributor with Irisada. A working mom and a believer of supporting socially impactful businesses in big and small ways. When she takes a break, Jasmine lives for good coffee, reading thrillers and exploring diversity in cultures and countries,