Here at Travel Beyond Limits, we love to travel…we love kids…and we love traveling with our kids. That’s all 100% true…well, until it isn’t true. Even the most well behaved miniature human with the best intentions can ultimately wreak havoc. We’re talking the sort of havoc that can flat out ruin a trip. Yes, your dream vacation swirling down the drain thanks to a handful of temper tantrums courtesy of a small creature that you hold near and dear to your heart. Here are a few tips on how best to go about traveling with kids.
On the Rail & Roads
If you find yourself traveling via train with your precious nugget, make sure to check out Amtrak’s Red Cap service. This under-the-radar service will not only make traveling via train a total breeze, but it will likely also decrease your stress level exponentially. Amtrak provides this service at 12 of their busiest stations. These Amtrak employees, who, you guessed it, sport a flashy red cap, not only provide free help to get your baggage on and off trains, but perhaps even more important board you on the train before the “All Aboard” announcement. Its amazing how the red cap porters on your trips also have a key to the escalators, which they use to change its direction and take you to the platform early. All you do is tip them!
On a road trip, there’s nothing like a good audiobook to keep your kids entertained. And if you, like me, have an ulterior motive — to introduce your children to a few timeless classics — a road trip presents the perfect opportunity. “Dracula” had us all delightfully frightened as we drove through the dark forested hills of North Carolina. The late 19th-century British sleeper, “Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog),” by Jerome K. Jerome is so hilarious we nearly had to pull off the road. A sure hit is the timeless “D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths,” with readings by, among others, Paul Newman, Kathleen Turner and Sidney Poitier.
Traveling with Kids: In the air
During a long day of air travel, carrying a baby strapped in a baby carrier gets heavy fast. As soon as he was old enough, most would much rather preferred using an inexpensive umbrella stroller for their son. Like other strollers, you can check it at the gate but umbrella strollers snap open with one arm and they are usually very light-weight. If it’s lost or damaged in flight, you aren’t out hundreds of dollars.
Traveling with Kids: Destination
After a trans-Atlantic flight from New York to Copenhagen, an 11-month-old child can be grumpy and so jet-lagged that they — of course — refuse to nap. By a miracle, you can book a hotel next to a park with the most wonderful playground. Once there you can take them to said park and they will be happy and engaged for hours. Upon returning to the hotel, they will sleep for 12 hours. Need we say more about the value of booking a hotel within walking distance of a lush park?
At the Beach
My favorite beach is one known for strong currents and stronger waves, not particularly the ideal place to relax with a baby or toddler who loves the water. Then one summer day I saw another family who had brought a small baby pool along with all their beach toys. It’s a brilliant idea. With a few buckets of seawater, the baby pool creates a safe, contained space. Your kid will play happily. They won’t miss the waves and you won’t miss the worry.
Traveling with Kids: Anywhere
When your baby or child is wailing inconsolably, and inexplicably, on a plane, train or in a public space offering no escape, just remember that you will never, ever see these people again. Relax.