First Time to Travel with a Small Child? Here's A Survival Guide For You

in #ocd-resteem5 years ago

Last week, my little family had a short vacation in Hong Kong. It's been 5 (or 6?) years in the making for we waited for the right time so that our daughter could enjoy the new experience and also, made sure that our finances will allow us to have this most-awaited break.

Our daughter is now 5 years old. We have had our first domestic journey in Cebu, Philippines in 2014 (She's only 1 year old then) to attend a friend's wedding. We are from Davao City, an hour flight away. Bringing a toddler with you can be stressful but sometimes can be easy too. The 2014 flight to Cebu has been so relaxed as we could easily carry her along with us. But during our recent trip, she's a child already, weighing 21.5 kilograms. You know, a little child could bring so many surprises along the way: the acting up, the mood swings and everything you could imagine. Despite the possible hardships along the way, we pursued with our first international trip with our child. Well, she did great in her class in the last school year and I guess she deserves this wonderful treat also.

As a mother, I've juggled so many thoughts in my head as the day of the flight comes near. I've made sure that everything is taken care of. Because of the big expectations, I've asked my husband to add a check-in baggage to make sure that I could bring everything that our daughter wants. He hesitated at first but well, the boss says so and he must obey. LOL.

Aside from that, here are the other details about our vacation:

  • We booked our trip to a travel agency that is offering a Hong Kong tour package.
  • The package only includes Manila-Hong Kong-Manila plane ticket so we have to secure for a separate ticket for the domestic flight (Davao-Manila-Davao).
  • As I've mentioned earlier, we've bought a check-in baggage for additional room for our stuff.
  • Our domestic and international flights are not connected (same airline, though) so it means we have to move as fast as we can as we reach Manila International Airport so we could go through the process (pay travel tax, terminal fees, immigration) and note, we need to have time also to retrieve our check-in baggage.

Bits and Pieces

We've departed from Davao International Airport around 10:00 in the morning on May 14 and have reached Manila 11:30 a.m.. Then we've waited for our check-in baggage from the baggage carousel. Then had our lunch as fast as we can for we have to fall in line to pay our travel tax, to check-in our baggage and to check-in ourselves. Our flight is at 4:40 in the afternoon but because of the long queues, we've reached the final immigration check at exactly 3:00 p.m., almost boarding time. The immigration officer even asked us if we still can make it in time for our flight. We just nervously smiled. However, our daughter have unleashed her first surprise: she wants to go to the bathroom to do number 2! So yeah, I've hurriedly assisted her and after she's done, it's already boarding time! Can you just imagine? That's only exhibit A. Hahahaha!

Well, even if I wanted to share all the things that have happened, I will instead share with you the lessons I've learned from the recent trip and I hope parents like me can learn something too:

1. Prepare yourself.

Of course, you have to prepare so many things about the trip especially for a mother with a child like me. However, before you think of anything else, think about yourself first. Make sure you are 100% well. Take multivitamins, eat nutritious foods to make sure you are on your best shape for your journey. Remember, a child greatly depends on you during these times.

2. Prepare your child.

Even if you don't know what to expect on your vacation, you have to orient your child for the possible scenarios. Of course, as I've said earlier, a child can pull out so many surprises along the way but giving some heart-to-heart talk can help. A child can understand simple instructions when you speak to them in the right way.

3. Bring the child's comfort object.

Some children have their favorite stuff that they love to carry along with them to make them feel relaxed and at ease in some situations. Some have their so called-security blanket and some have their soft pillow or stuffed toys. It's really a big help in making your son or daughter occupied and feeling at-home despite of some chaotic moments in your travel experience.

4. Pack some healthy snacks for the little one.

Adults like us can manage the hunger one in a while but the child cannot. Bring biscuits, healthy chips and the likes (not sweets) to keep the child's tummy stuffed while on the move.

5. Always, always, always have a wet towel/wet wipes handy and hand sanitizer too!

In a fast-paced trip, it's inevitable to get dirty especially you have a child in tow. Child can get stained or dirty while eating, playing and just being themselves. Wet wipes and hand sanitizer are your best friends in these sticky (literally sticky) situations.

6. Keep an eye on your child.

Of course, if you need to take care of your belongings, your child requires more of your attention. Never ever wander around without your child being kept safely with you. Just-hold-your-kid-no-matter-what! Your little one's safety must be on top of everything. Well, your child can explore if he/she likes but make sure that it is in the right place and in the right situation.

7. Consider the climate of your new destination.

If it's cold in the place you're going to visit, bring the necessary clothing. Hot? Bring fresher outfits and bring sunscreen or sunblock. Or, you can just buy but prepare enough money for it.

8. Do not bring unnecessary stuff.

This is my greatest mistake in latest travel. I've brought so many things because of my "just in case" mentality. Well, you can't blame a mother sometimes. However, because of my mindset, it caused us unnecessary delays. We bought an additional check-in baggage so we will have a room for the additional things that I've brought that turned out to be useless (too many clothes, too many socks, extra pillow, towels, etc.). So, if you have a baggage, you have to wait for from the carousel after you deplane. Imagine, we deplaned 4 times - that's four times the hassle. Also, it's not economical too. We paid for that baggage for the four flights. My bad.

Lesson here, you already have a free 7 kilograms hand carry: use it! Do not add if it's not really necessary! Also, when you don't have extra bags, you'll have an extra hand for your little one too.

Looking back...

Our vacation ended last May 17 when we departed Hong Kong. Well, despite the small mishaps and hiccups our latest trip, it is still one of the most memorable moment of our lives. Our daughter definitely enjoyed the new adventure and us, as a couple, had some of our bucket list checked. If you'll ask us if we'll do it again? Well, we would - in time. Everything is all worth it! Maybe on the next trip, no matter where the destination is, we can enjoy it more as we are wiser the next time (fingers crossed).


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That's really amazing ...

this post is upvoted and resteem

Great tips! I remember when I had to travel with my 3 kiddos by myself last September. That was... wheew! :D

I just can't imagine! You're indeed a super mom. ;)

Haha. You can read here the saga. Well, almost. Hehe

I survived traveling with my then 5 and 8-year-old daughters from Butuan City to Davao City airport to catch our flight back to Manila.
It was insane though that I am more stressed out by my Mom and big brother's quarrel during that said trip. hahahahha
This year my man's planning to visit Nigerian soon and I don't know if we can handle our almost a year old fussy little monster for 23hrs up in the sky..Goodluck to us hehehehe
Thanks for the tips :)

Oh, wow! Good luck! Well, mothers can do anything and everything. ;) lavaaannn!