Worried about traveling with kids? Enjoy the en route time with your family with tips from today's guest blogger, James Sullivan, a Magellan's team member.
Christmas is coming, and so are a lot of travel plans. For some of you, that will involve traveling with kids, a task that isn't always easy. I have traveled around the world and have experienced many things: I have skied the Jungfrau Region of the Alps; spied over the Cliffs of Moher on Christmas Day; cruised on a moped with my wife on the Island of Mykonos; snorkeled the reefs of Bora Bora; viewed the palace of King Kasyapa on the top of Sigiriya. But all the travel experiences in the world can't prep you for the unpredictable things kids will say and do when traveling. In all the adventures with my 8-year-old, 5-year-old and 3-year-old I have learned a few important tips that just might help you through your holiday season travels.
Be Creative with Games
In the airport, there are many games that you can play to pass the time while waiting for your flight. I have installed line tag on many decorative airport floors. The same decorative tile or carpet can also be used as an A to B game where my kids have to get from one side of the airport to the other while facing many obstacles and only touching selective colors or patterns.
Another easy game is a scavenger hunt. On a piece of paper, write down 10 objects found around your departing gate and tell the kids to go find them. What's even better are kid play gyms and activity centers in airports, which is a growing trend because airports see the value of being family-friendly. I know from experience that San Francisco International Airport has three dedicated “Kids’ Spots” and a bunch of other activity areas and rooms all over the airport. Be sure to check out airport information to see if there is one at the airport you’ll be traveling to.
Be Prepared with Snacks and Toys
Two things that always help fight boredom and frustration are snacks and new toys. If you don't come prepared with plenty of pretzels, chips, and healthy bites then you can expect your kids are going to use their mouths for making loud noises, or somehow interrupting innocent travelers around you. My wife has even planned out a schedule of giving each of the kids one present for every hour we are on the airplane. You would typically expect that this would take a lot of prep time, but she makes it very easy by going to a local dollar store and spending $10 on small games, sticker books, trinkets, and key chains.
If you are looking for quality travel games, Magellan's is currently carrying an assortment of Boredom Busters that are easy to pack and clean up.
Entertain and Occupy
Just as parents and adults enjoy having a new magazine, book, or movie on our phones or tablets, our kids want to have something similar. If you plan on bringing a tablet on the journey then make sure that new movie you just bought gets downloaded the night before the travel begins. Tackling this task the morning or day of can add more fuel to the fire instead of assuaging the pre-travel chaos.
If you’re like me and travel with more than two kids then you need a headphone splitter capable of more than two plugs. Luckily, Magellan's has a sound splitter that divides the sound three ways, which is perfect for my family of three kids. Now the whole airplane row can watch the same movie, including the parents.
All of this entertainment is great and all, but what happens if you run out of battery? Chaos! Deter this scenario with a portable charger for tablets and phones so you never run out of juice, which also means never running out of entertainment.
If you don’t remember anything else when traveling with your kids, at least remember to pack these two extremely important items: patience and a sense of humor. You can only enjoy as much as your attitude allows.