We love to travel as a family- discovering places, making new memories, and sometimes getting lost together can be a great learning experience. There are always pros and cons especially when traveling with a toddler or preschooler in tow. Our first out of the country trip was Japan and I made sure that everything was taken care of before we even get on the plane with a very curious four year old. A lot of online research and planning was done to make it a smooth trip as possible. The task may seem more daunting going to a place where the language is completely foreign (like Japanese), but with a lot of prep and patience it can be a positive and memorable trip.
- Bring all the essentials and all the maybes.
- Bring clothes for the season but always be prepared for any changes in weather. Weather can be very unpredictable nowadays and it won’t hurt to bring that extra thick jacket or raincoat.
- Bring all your kid’s medicines since you may need prescriptions in case of sudden attacks of allergies or unexpected illness.
- Toys/Activity Books that will keep him busy on planes, trains, or hotel lobbies.
- Traveling means a lot of walking and your preschooler may not be ready for an all day sightseeing. Bring a stroller and a reusable water bottle. Some parents may balk at the hassle of a stroller, but a lightweight umbrella type can be folded when riding trains or going up the stairs. In Japan, stations are always accessible by elevators but you just need to know where they are beforehand so you don’t waste time trying to figure out where to go.
- Make a printout of your itinerary with all the details. The more information you have, the easier for you to navigate especially when the little ones start to get cranky:
- Hotel / AirBnb accommodations
- Map and printouts of areas you want to visit
- List of restaurants you want to try out
- List of shopping you want to do
- Train information: schedules, where to get on and off, and where the elevators are -for that handy stroller.
- Know the restaurants in the area and those that have kid friendly menus. You may want to try out all the exotic dishes but your little one may not so you might want to prepare his food or snack before you leave your hotel.
- Also, make sure you stack up on snacks before you call it a day and drop by the nearest convenience store for that liter of water or sandwich for any late night snacks.
- Purchase tickets in advance if you can, or make restaurant reservations ahead of time.This may even get you discounts and save you from some disappointments especially when going to touristy areas- lines can be long and tickets may be limited
- And finally, just relax! I know- better said than done! You are on vacation so let go of the little things and don’t try to hit too many spots in one day. Traveling with a preschooler(s) is very different from traveling with just adults. Your little one may suddenly get tired to roam around or may want to stay in one spot longer. They may suddenly get hungry in the middle of shopping or fall asleep when you are ready to get on that amusement park ride. Better plan for a longer trip, make it 6 instead of just 4 days if you want to see more places at a leisurely pace.
Traveling with kids doesn’t have to be a big headache as long as you have every detail prepared and avoid rushing from one place to another. Plan for a longer itinerary and be flexible with how you will be spending your time. Every detail may not turn out as planned but that’s all part of the adventure.