Before we tell you some of our recent travel stories with all of you, I wanted to share some tips from our friends. (We’ll share our tips later on.) Norm has traveled internationally with his family, with high school choir, and with the San Francisco Boys Chorus, but this was my first time, as well as the girls’ first time, leaving the country. And we had only ever traveled short distances from home – two-hour plane ride to Seattle and nine-hour road trip to Southern California. Not only were we headed out of the country, but we were headed toward a whole different hemisphere, season, and day! While it is winter for us in California, it is summer in Australia, and they are 19 whole hours ahead of us. Luckily, we were having a layover in Hawaii, which also saved us hundreds of dollars. We only have to deal with a five-hour flight to Honolulu, and then a ten-hour flight to Sydney.
Have you traveled internationally with kids before? What are some of your top tips for traveling with kids? My friend Kat has a great podcast episode about travel.
I will tell you more later, but here’s the tips!
- I haven’t done international, but lots of cross-country flights: pack an outfit for everyone in your carry-on. I was puked on at the beginning of a long flight and could change the kid, but not me. – AB
- What airline are you flying? Qantas treats you well and will provide you with food and a little “comfort kit” while flying – an eye mask, a little pouch to put things in, socks I think, plenty of water. Just bring any small lap activity or book that the girls will like. You and they will be bored, but it is worth it! Definitely pack a change of clothes for everyone, and wear layers so you’ll be comfy no matter the temperature on the plane. Australia is very casual – so whatever you wear in the summer here will work. Be sure to bring your togs! Sunscreen can easily be bought there. I have no advice for jetlag except to power through it and don’t plan too much the first few days. – CM
- I haven’t done international but plenty of cross-country. Send one parent first with as much carry-ons as possible so he/she can everything situated and the other parent can board last with the kids. Get special kid headphones for the kids. They are perfectly sized and have volume control. Pack a special carry-on for each kid with activities, special snacks, books, extra clothes, and any loveys or blankets for sleeping. Load new apps and videos onto your smartphone or tablet. Bring kids pain reliever on the plane just in case. Have fun! Sounds like it will be quite a fun adventure. Not sure if you will need this since your kids are older but I make P wear a Pull-up even though she is potty trained because once we were stuck in turbulence for almost 2 hours and the poor thing couldn’t hold it. – WF
- If you plan on traveling separately, make sure that you have document stating that your spouse is aware of it and make sure it’s notarized. You also need to have copies of your spouse travel itinerary and hotel information. So when they ask, you will be well prepared and won’t be ask into another room for questioning. – CL
- We’ve been traveling a lot with Nathan, then later with Kaitlyn. All I can tell you right now is to always bring all kinds of medicine with you (well, we usually traveled in countries like Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan and such). It’s important to have it with you in your carry-on. Bring extra presents for your relatives just in case. I don’t think you will have a hard time traveling with your daughters (they are older and wiser). As for jetlag, just try to sleep as much as you can while flying, sleep even if you know it’s daytime where you came from. Open all windows to your hotel room and let the sunshine in. The sun usually forces your body to wake up. But if the kids are too tired, let them get as much rest as they can, just do little at first until they are sort of adjusted to the time difference. Oh, force yourselves to eat according to your destination’s time frame. Say, eat dinner even if it’s breakfast time here in the US. – HJ
- Get a headphone splitter so everyone can watch the same DVD. You can borrow the one we took to Europe. Big battery gizmo to recharge your iDevices without a plug. Anker is a good brand. – JW
- Bring snacks that the kids like – nothing fresh that will be confiscated. – BD
- Pack outfits in Ziploc bags. If you can find 2 gallon size they’re ideal. Pants, shirt, panties, whatever you need. Easy to grab and keep track of. – CK
More to come later!! :)