As parents, we know travel with kids can be fraught with… let’s call it “adventure.” With all the challenges of COVID it's a wonder any of us are travelling at all these days. However the lure of seeing friends & family, enjoying some sunshine and time outside our 5km boundary are worthy of the effort! So how to survive your trip without a major meltdown? We don't have all the answers, but here's some tips from us for your summer family adventure via planes, trains or automobiles.
Be Covid Safe
You know the drill by now. Hand Sanitiser. Mask up. Surgical style face masks are now widely available in kids sizes and these are likely the most practical for travel without easy access to washing facilities for cloth masks. Even little kids can likely be convinced to wear a mask for the excitement of a plane ride after such a long break.
Get your Paperwork (& testing) sorted
Check, check, then check again what the travel rules are for departure and destination. Pretty much everyone travelling interstate (& definately internationally) will require a covid test and definately proof of vaccination status.
There's a helpful article here from the folks at Jetstar about travelling to/from Australia https://www.jetstar.com/au/en/help/articles/travel-requirements-to-and-from-australia
Another great insight about the recent opening of the QLD border https://holidayswithkids.com.au/qld-border/
As always check the national and/or interstate regulations for up to date requirements for entry and exit.
Plan to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse
Invest in an extra-large nappy bag or backpack that will hold everything. It will save your life and maybe the sanity of your fellow passengers. If your children are old enough, they’ll be super proud to carry their own little backpacks.
In their backpacks:
- Let them pick a favorite toy or book and pack it along with a snack in their backpack. If their packs are too heavy, you’ll end up carrying them; so keep them light!
In your carry-on:
- Nappies, Pull-Ups or Extra Underwear: If your little ones are still in nappies or pull-ups, plan on packing twice as many as you think you need for each child. You never know when they’ll have tummy trouble, or if you’ll be stuck longer than expected in traffic or at the airport. Whether you have a toilet trainer or an older child, extra underwear can be super-helpful if you face lost luggage or an accident.
- Wipes & Hand Sanitiser: Whether your children are in diapers or not, pack wipes… lots of wipes. Once while flying, my kids’ well-meaning dad bought them each a lollipop in the airport. What wasn’t stuck to the airplane tray table was stuck to hands, faces and HAIR. Extra wipes will help clean up unexpected sticky messes.
- Extra change of clothes: If you are meeting judgy in-laws at the end of your trip, bring an extra change of clothes. They’ll never know the darling tykes were covered in crumbs, juice or other foreign matter.
- Snacks: Most flights don’t come with full meals any longer, so pack plenty of their favorite snacks. Think of things that don’t make huge messes: cereal, crackers, grapes, applesauce in the squeeze packages, etc. Avoid caffeine or sugary snacks… do you really want hyper, cranky kids?
- Bottles, Sippy Cup and/or Water Bottles: Bring these through the TSA line empty and make a quick trip to the water fountain to have your little ones “help” fill them up once you are through security. Your children will be proud to be good travel helpers.
- Children’s pain reliever: Because it always happens at the most inconvenient times.
- Rapid Antigen Tests: If you can get hold of any before you leave, could come in useful knowing where you stand if anyone gets the sniffles. Note that these self administered tests are often not accepted as proof of covid free status by authorities (check carefully) however still useful to help decision making if things take a turn for the worst.
Plan for their Entertainment with Car or Airplane Toys for Toddlers, Pre-schoolers, etc.
So, by now your older ones have a favorite toy packed away in their very own backpacks. But this isn’t likely to keep them occupied for long. We would have a stash of toys meant just for travel, waiting rooms, etc. Things they rarely see keep them happy for longer because the novelty is still there… and are less likely to be projectiles thrown at your unsuspecting fellow passengers.
We reserve mobile devices for truly desperate measures, so here are a few of our favorite things to stock up on before you get in that car or plane.
For all ages:
- Small Cars or other push toys, like our Fabric Pull Backs - Gumtree Buddies are great goodies to pull out of your bag. You can create terrain with your bag, shoes and extra clothes that they can navigate over while in the airport waiting for your next flight.
- Tubes or baggies filled with tiny plastic animals like these unicorns or dinosaurs. These are perennial favorites on our travels for hours of imaginative play.
- Silk Crayons & a pad of paper: Two simple items = hours of fun. Have your kiddos colour the paper from edge to edge and then make paper airplanes or other origami items to extend the fun.
- Books or Children’s Books on Audible
- What to avoid: Building toys with small parts. Small parts are easily dropped, lost, etc. which can lead to meltdowns.
- Activity sets designed specifically for toddlers, like our Magic Painting World – Dinosaurs are perfect for flights or long car trips. Fill up the paintbrush from your water bottle and voila. Bonus features: No mess and once their paintings dry, the colours disappear so they can be painted again on your return trip.
- Try our Magnetic playscenes like this Magna Carry Space Explorer where kids can create a new scene each time they play and enjoy the 'match the magnet pieces puzzle on the case. Great for building storytelling skills.
- I Spy/Search books: Books filled with hidden items like animals (like Richard Scarry’s GoldBug), people (Where’s Waldo comes to mind) or more can be great ways to keep them occupied on a plane or in a car – perfect for kiddos 3 and above.
- Colouring and activity kits like our Mash-Up Colouring Set Monster Mash or Transfer Magic Unicorns. These sets are packed full of stickers, activities, markers in a portable box – perfect for keeping little hands busy.
- For those a little older, consider Top Secret Missions - Detective Set: Your kids will love discovering what it takes to become a secret agent with this set filled with activities like fingerprint analysis, code-cracking and more.
Travel Games: There are all kinds of games you can play while traveling that require nothing but your time and engagement. Our favorites:
- I Spy with My Little Eye: Take turns picking items from your environment and have others ask questions to figure out what was spied. Great for kids aged 2 and over.
- Alphabet Game: For those a little older who can recognise letters, start by finding an item or name starting with A and work your way through the alphabet.
- Bananagrams: Scrabble without the board, this is perfect for older ones and can be played on an airplane tray table on in a restaurant while you are waiting to fuel up.