How to Make Traveling with Kids Less Stressful for Everyone
Sometimes it feels like it has been a looong while since our last travel.
Fortunately (or unfortunately?), life gets in the way and we had to face adult things like getting pregnant, moving to a new house, giving birth, adjusting to life with a preschooler and an infant, building a business, getting your finances in order, saving up for home renovations and getting it partially finished, paying up for debts… You know all those kinds of stuff.
But I quickly looked back and realized, we actually did go on a semi-long trip a few months ago!
Also read: How to Survive Traveling Alone With A Baby
I shared about traveling with an infant all alone this summer but about three months later after that, we were actually able to bring the entire family to that trip and stayed on the road for about two weeks or so.
How exactly is it to travel with TWO kiddos in tow?
Well, let me give you all the dirty details plus some tips and tricks to keep your sanity. *wink wink*
1. Keep your itinerary light and flexible
I cannot stress this enough.
You’d probably see a gazillion of listicles out there sharing how so-and-so traveled to XX countries in X days.
Nope. Not for us.
We’re the kind that wants to travel deeply, getting to know a place a little bit more, mingling and connecting with the locals, and basically just wanting to take it one day at a time. Plus not having to worry about limitations on your days out is extremely friendly for a freelancer/service-based business owner like me.
We did this before and we did it in our most recent travel with the kids.
We initially planned to stay in Manila for three nights but decided to stay for two more because we haven’t seen the museums and apparently, there was an cool exhibit going on over the weekend. We were there and it would be a shame to miss it. So our arrival date at home got pushed back a little more.
What’s even better about not having to rush things is you can still follow through your kid’s routines.
Our then-10-month-old son loved taking his morning naps, and because it was too hot out to stroll around the city anyway, we would decide to stay in and get out of our rooms in the afternoon. Or there were days we’d just stay in and enjoy being together in a foreign place. (There’s something about sleeping in a room in a city far away that just makes you forget your troubles temporarily. Haha!)
I understand though that not everyone has the luxury of time, especially since many are still working 9-to-5 jobs with limited vacation leaves. Nevertheless, if you intend to travel with the kiddos, make sure to splurge on time – we loved traveling at least four days (and this still isn’t enough if you factor in travel time).
2. Choose your accommodations wisely
While I’m a huge fan of hotel room (who isn’t when they’re extremely comfortable to stay in; and so much that my goal is to make our master’s bedroom like one), our pockets don’t always agree.
Or you can also go for transient inns and homestays.
What we love about these types of accommodation is that they are easier on the pocket when you talk about daily rates. But, what’s even better is that here, you can cook your own food or do the laundry in between (awesome for long-term travel).
During our most recent travel, we stayed in a studio unit in a condominium. Albeit small, it had everything that we needed but the most important is that it had cooking utensils and even the basic ingredients. The place also had a spinner so even though we had to manually wash our clothes, it was still convenient because drying time took less than a day even inside the unit.
3. Comfort and safety first
What we did notice when traveling with two kids though is that we were less stingy.
Sure, we still made sure to stay on budget – we started keeping track of every single centavo that goes in and out for around two years now – but we mostly splurged on good quality accommodation, transportation and experiences.
It probably also had to do with the changing climate and the fact that we were traveling around a polluted city, that we opted for Grab or chose to stay in an Airbnb. In between homecooked meals, we’d splurge on food and also made sure we had a constant supply of snacks for the kids. In fact, when we weren’t able to go out one day, we had Honest Bee bring us our groceries and McDo deliver our lunch.
It does mean that you’d have to have a bigger budget sometimes but try to keep a balance when it comes to choosing where to splurge or where to scrimp on. BUT never, ever sacrifice your child’s safety and comfort because you want to save money – it will end up doing otherwise.
4. Choose your battles well
One of the biggest changes that we had with our second baby is we went all the way with cloth diapering him, from Day 2.
We chose our battles well and, when certain situations did not permit us, such as when we ran out of cloth diapers or lampins or when we had to travel and it just became impossible to wash and dry the diapers on the road, we opted for disposable diapers this time around.
There’s also the difficulty in long distance travel here in the country.
We opted to take an 8-hour bus ride for the experience (and because it was slightly cheaper compared to taking the plane) and it was awesome. We’d done this before when our daughter was still three and we’d love to do it again!
What’s also great about this option is that we chose to ride the night bus which meant that we also saved money on one night’s worth of accommodations. Yay!
5. Start them early!
A lot of parents are scared about traveling with very young kids because…it’s honestly not a walk in the park.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you’d know that we are huge advocates of starting them young.
Why? Because kids are so much more flexible and resilient and the earlier you start, the better, because they get used to it earlier.
Our daughter had her first outdoor adventure camping overnight in Kalanggaman Island when she was just six months old. Her first travel to a different island was when she was three months old, when she also first swam in the sea.
Our son is somewhat spoiled in a way and we haven’t taken him climbing but we think he will still be a trooper and would still enjoy uncomfortable situations especially if it meant going out of the house. He already currently enjoys our short walks around the neighborhood, which is a good sign.
Over to you
Do you travel with young kids or are you considering them already?
If you have tips or questions on how to get started, share them away below. We’d love to hear from you!
Oh, hello there!
Pam is an outdoors-loving millennial momma who loves to hike, trek and camp in the beaches and mountains with her partner and their kiddos. When not exploring the great outdoors, she works with bloggers, coaches and solopreneurs to free up their time so they can work on the things that they love and enjoy the most.