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Kids have a mind of their own on the best of days. Planning a successful vacation with the children doesn’t have to be painful or expensive when their needs are taken into consideration and certain accommodations are made. Speaking from years of experience, here are some great tips on how to successfully travel in Europe with kids
Traveling in Europe with Kids
Traveling in Europe with kids isn’t like traveling in Asia or in North America. There are a ton of things to do, right next to each other, and it can be overwhelming at times. Making a “battle plan” for the day’s activities is the best way to keep nerves calm, see what you want to see and save time/money at the same time. Here are our tips for traveling in Europe with kids.
Slow is best.
Take your time in each location. Going too fast only adds to the kids’ burn out and overstimulation. Try not to visit too much in one day; Google locations has a great little review section where people mention how much time they have spent or would recommend you allocate to each activity/experience. Take these into consideration.
Plan a few things just for the kids, either by visiting a kids’ museum or visiting a playground. This is when the kids get to blow off some pent-up energy and just be themselves. You will soon find that the more you allow them to do, the more willing they are behave while fulfilling mommy and daddy’s bucket list.
Don’t always go to the cities
Not every vacation needs to be in a large city. While we have done our fair share of city-scaping, taking time to explore the countryside also has its benefits. A nice resort on the beach, hiking the trails or skiing with the family; there is something for everyone.
They will be jetlagged for a few days.
Don’t plan too much for the first day or two. Learn more about how to deal with jetlag by clicking here.
Bring your own snacks
Having a little bit of home not only reduces costs while on vacation but lower the children’s anxiety. While in a strange place, with strange sights and sounds, having that familiar snack can ease their nerves and settle them down just long enough to accomplish a task or two.
Budget airlines are not always the best option
While finding the best deal on a flight around the world sounds like the greatest accomplishment of your planning stage, there are unforeseen drawbacks to saving money. The departure times and layover lengths, for example, may get the vacation going on a rough start. Do they provide in-flight entertainment and are drinks provided? The devil is in the details.
Checking in online means you don’t have to wait in the drawn-out queue at the airport to print your boarding passes and drop off your bags. Going Carry-on only? Even better, no lines for you today.
Also, checking in online means you can choose your families seats and ensure you are all together and in an area of the plan that you feel most comfortable. We don’t want to be too far away from the toilets, or too close either.
1 checked bag per family
This both saves money and a headache. Most budget airlines allow guests to purchase carryon only seats and add a number of checked bags to the reservation. By booking this way, you can have your 4 seats, and only one checked bag.
The headache comes from waiting at the carousel for your luggage and lugging them around the city and to your hotel. By only having one checked bag, you alleviate that stressor. Now one parent can focus on the children and the other on the bag, instead of both parents pulling double duty.
Carry-on only when you have kids that can help
For every child that is capable of pulling their own carry-on bag without assistance, for the duration of the journey, they should be allowed to do so. This will help lower the cost of checked bags, as well as free mom and dad’s hands for more important things, like duty-free packages.
Taking the train? Carry-on only
The storage compartments in trains are not the largest, and they do not hold much. The overhead bins, on the other hand, are made to hold a carry-on suitcase and can fit just about one piece per seat. This has the added advantage of never being too far away from its owners, making theft or damage less likely (though never impossible)
Packing cubes are a life saver. Having everyone’s clothes neatly divided into cubes means no more rummaging and giant messes in the suitcase. One can also easily transfer the contents from the suitcase to the hotel dressers easily.
Use a stroller that is small and compact, but durable
Not all strollers were created equally. Some are made for day to day activities, some for less active families and even others for more off-roading needs. A compact, flat, durable stroller can be hard to find, and even harder on a tight budget but we have never regretted getting a proper travel stroller. The smaller and more compact, the less likely of it being damaged in transit, and will also fit in your hotel room that much better.
When all else fails, have a baby/toddler carrier. Not all buildings are meant to allow strollers and even less have free, guarded stroller parking. If the stroller needs to be left at home, or in the hotel room, having a backup to managing the little ones is imperative.
Refillable water bottle
Instead of buying a new bottle each day, simply purchase a good, possibly collapsible water bottle and refill it in the hotel room each morning.
Traveling in Europe by Train with kids
Traveling Europe by train is the easiest and fastest way to get from one major city to another. And a quick transfer can get you to those more remote locations with just as much ease. Train travel means you don’t have to worry about cramped spaces, bathroom breaks or nap time – everything is at your disposal. There are, however, a few considerations and planning procedures that need to be taken before embarking on such a scheduled adventure.
Get seats in the compartment or near the door to keep an eye on the luggage. Furthermore, the earlier you book, the cheaper they are. Just like airline tickets, everything is based on supply and demand, and prices get increasingly more expensive the closer you get to your travel date. Seats also become increasingly harder to find, in a group.
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Bring your own snacks
This goes back to my earlier point of cutting cost and having comfort food for the kids. Being prepared for the unexpected delay also serves as a reason to at least stash a few snacks for a “rainy day”.
Stations are not all stroller friendly
While Europe is chock full of train stations, very few of them are stroller or handicap friendly. They will have the odd freight elevator but when multiple platforms are common in the larger cities, or tunnels that run under the train tracks in remote locations, lugging a stroller on your own is not comfortable and not always practical. Know which stations and platforms are accessible and plan accordingly.
Activities and headphone splitters
Have a few activities in your proverbial back pocket to keep the little ones happy. Be it colouring books, a game of tic tac toe or even a pack of stickers, anything to keep them happy for just a few minutes longer.
As for the headphone splitters, sometimes technology fails us and the kids need to share. A pair of headphone splitters will help settle most arguments – once they have decided what to watch, of course.
While tablets and iPods can only pair with one set of Bluetooth headphones, there are a few brands out there that allow their headphones to be converted to wired headphones, then attached to a headphone splitter. Our personal favorite is the Kidz gear Bluetooth headphones – they come with a set of AUX cables so you don’t need to buy anything extra.
Getting around in Cities in Europe with kids
Once you have arrived, it is time to find your hotel and get out into the city. City vacations are different than “off the beaten path” vacations. There are significantly more people around you, making transit and travel time a real concern, as well as distances needing covering in order to reach each activity/attraction. These tips are for getting around in cities in Europe with kids.
Taxi from hotel to airport
The majority of international airports aren’t actually within the city limits. Taking public transit may be the cheapest form of transportation, but it could be the longest option. Take into consideration how the kids are feeling after the journey, how you are feeling, and how will everyone manage the luggage and personal security while in transit. While a taxi isn’t the most economical choice, it may be your best choice. Check your options before heading out so you know what to expect when arriving.
Kids under 5 get free metro in most cities
Once you are in the city, public transit becomes the fan favorite mode of transit. The kids love the freedom of sitting in their own chair and looking out the window. Grab a 24hr or more city card for the adults and remember that all kids under 5 get to ride free with their parents – be sure to ask the selling agent about these rules, as they may assume the age of the children and charge you more than necessary.
Metro stations not very stroller friendly
While taking the local tram is the best way to get to and from a location, the stations themselves may not be amazing. Check out the transit maps for locations of handi/stroller friendly stations and make appropriate modifications to your schedule. Do you get out a few stops early so you have access to an elevator, will you collapse the stroller and take the stairs, maybe use a carrier while visiting that section of the city? Know before you go.
Plan ahead if separated from the kids
If the kids are old enough to walk on their own, without holding hands, make sure they know what to do if they get separated. Even the younger ones should have a little information on their person just in case they wander away.
As our friend Special Agent Oso taught us, there are 3 steps to finding help; 1 – stay put. Moving around after getting lost only makes it that much harder for someone to find them. 2 – ask a grown-up for help. Preferably someone with a badge (if they are in a store, an employee, or police officer), but a parent can also be approached – this means they can ask anyone that has a child with them. 3- Tell them “my name is… and I’m lost”.
Smaller children need to know the difference stranger-danger and helpful-citizen. What information are they allowed to tell and what do they keep to themselves. Preferably, all they are allowed to say is their name and their parent’s name. If they know a phone number, this is also great to give but a note in their pocket or safety-tattoo on their person is best at this age.
Booking family-friendly accommodations in Europe
Hotels and other forms of accommodations in Europe are not the same as in North America. We were used to standard rooms with two double beds and that was it. In Europe, there are a great number of variations and different types of accommodations outside the chain-hotel brand. Some have 1 double bed, some have 3 single beds, and some have bunk beds, it all depends on your needs and how much you are willing to pay for that Perfect room.
Most hotel rooms are small and have occupancy restrictions
Rooms don’t have an excess of space. With so many tourists and only so much room to build, Europeans are used to everything being a little smaller. Homes are smaller, yards are smaller, hotel rooms are smaller. This is normal, so don’t expect your $200-night room to look like the Presidential Suite.
Also, when they state that only 4 people can stay there, this is law, not personal preference. According to the fire code, they are only allowed so many persons in each room and they are very strict. Babies count as a person; be sure to check if and how many children are allowed on top of this occupancy restriction. On booking.com they state specifically if 1 child is allowed free of charge when using an existing bed. This means you are not charged for the extra body, but they will not provide a spare bed. A baby bed can be requested, and they may charge for this service.
Apartments are generally best, as they have 2 rooms; Bedroom and living room
Apartments, still reserved through Booking.com, have proven to be the best choice financially and physically, for families. There are separate rooms for the children to sleep, meaning mom and dad aren’t forced to bed at 8 pm, and there is an optional kitchen. When a kitchen is available, breakfast is not included, but this also means you can feed the kids what they like without paying for a buffet full of foods they don’t like.
Not all hotels have an elevator.
If your party requires an elevator, check the fine print for all bookings. Chain-brand hotels typically have an elevator or two but they tend to cost more than local hotels and apartments.
If a stroller is required, consider leaving it in the car or behind the front desk while not in use.
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What happens if you lose your passport in another country
We all have that friend; the one that would lose their head if it weren’t screwed on tight. That friend that misplaces things and still can’t manage to learn their lesson. And sometimes that friend goes on vacation and manages to lose their wallet and travel documents while daydreaming of spending the day on the beach soaking up the rays. So what happens if you lose your passport in another country?
Since they can’t waltz into the nearest DMV and have ID replaced, there are steps a traveler needs to cover in order to have everything registered and replaced before moving on to the next location.
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Tips Before Traveling
“Failing to plan is planning to fail” – set yourself up for success and you shouldn’t have a problem. Follow these tips for before traveling preparedness and your chances of running into difficulties after a robbery are significantly lessened.
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Always empty your wallet of non-essential items/cards before leaving. Do you really need your state/provincial health card while in Germany? No. Leave it at home.
Keep a few ID cards in a different place: partners wallet, hotel room safe, glove box
Even if distracted or overwhelmed, keep track of everything. The more you do it while calm and collected, the higher chance of it being second nature when the stress really piles on.
Don’t put anything down on counters, car roofs, bathroom stalls … On your person or locked up tight.
Have photocopies of your passport and license number in a separate location, or even stored as a PDF onto your cloud account
Make sure your traveler’s insurance covers any costs associated with replacing lost/stolen luggage and ID, as well as vacation time lost like extra nights in a hotel or buying a new flight home.
Once you have lost your wallet
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Sometimes things just happen; whether it was lost or stolen, you need to report it to numerous agencies and have it replaced ASAP. Immediately consult your country’s consulate website. They will spell it all out if you forget these tips.
There is a big difference between political “to do” and reality: you can’t file a police report without ID, even if your ID is what was taken.
Order a Western Union transfer of funds so you have some cash until the cards arrive – do this before calling the bank. Under a certain amount, they don’t require ID to pick it up, just a verbal password that you created. If all of your cards aren’t missing, you can always move money to the card you still have. Just be sure all of this is done and collected before canceling the cards, or the transaction itself will be canceled.
Call your bank to have cards canceled and replaced. Many banks can expedite the replacements to your foreign hotel.
Go to your nearest consulate office to report the missing passport
They CAN cancel the passport over the phone if it is too hard to visit in person but they prefer in person to make fully sure that the documents are gone and not just misplaced under the bed or passenger seat. This greatly depends on the agent you get, some may not be aware that this is possible. It happens. Be nice. When applying for a replacement passport, you will not be using a standard passport renewal form. Your passport number has been compromised and deleted from the system in order to keep the “bad guys” from using it. For information on how to replace a lost passport, it is important to check with your states/countries official passport website – and only their website.
What to do if you lose your license? Begin the online process of obtaining a replacement driving license. Some Canadian provinces have a number you can call and request a forwarding address intercept the mailing address on the card, and therefore obtaining your card before getting back home. You can request the temporary license be expedited to your hotel, or try to have one printed right there. It is not valid without a Photo ID, but this will come soon enough.
If you have an ID in another location, get those to you ASAP. While some agencies seriously discourage putting ID in the mail, governments mail ID all the time so what is the difference. Have the package insured and trackable. If the mailman loses it or steals it (since you need to declare the contents before insuring it), it becomes mail fraud and no ID is required for this complaint, just a tracking number.
Photocopies of ID will not get you a police report. They will, however, help the police flag your ID as stolen and identified at the Lost and Found office. Only official ID will be good enough for a report. Confused yet? Photocopies can get your ID reported as stolen and prevented from being used, but they will not get you a Police Report Document for your insurance.
In many countries with a National ID system, it is illegal to be without ID. For example, in Portugal, you can be detained for not being able to present ID. Know your host country’s laws and take appropriate steps to keep yourself on the right side of it; Passport in your hotel, Drivers license in your wallet, Secondary Photo ID in your travel companions wallet. Work together to keep each other safe.
Lost Property in Transit
Planning to keep ID safe is all well and good until it disappears before those plans can be put into action. Lost/stolen in transit from one hotel to another can happen.
Report it to the town that it was lost/stolen in and give a reliable phone number for them to contact you if they find it. This can be a little tricky if you aren’t staying in the town you lost it in (just passing through). Once you are at your destination and have received proper ID in order to file a report, go to the local police station for your police report and have them contact the Police station and Lost and Found centre for the town you lost it in.
If it was stolen, you will need to stay behind until the police arrive and see what you can work out in terms of filing a report.
Travel products that lessen the chance of losing your important documents
This anti-theft backpack is a great day bag option. Its zippers are cleverly hidden and nearly impossible to break into without the owner realizing it. This bag also has a handy USB charger built in, making it a multi-functioning anti-theft day bag for every traveler.
Cross Body Shoulder Bag
Crossbody bags like these are also a great option for keeping your belongings safe. They are tight to your body so thieves have a harder time access your wallet and documents without you noticing. These bags also serve the added purpose of not getting in the way when registering at the hotel, using the toilet or sitting down at a restaurant; if you don’t need to remove it, there is one less opportunity for someone to nab it from you.
Call it a fanny pack, bum bag, or the newest term – waist bag – the purpose of this piece of kit hasn’t changed since the 90’s. By having your items in your “personal” area, it is less likely that someone will dare to venture there. And even if they do, you are sure to notice someone THAT close to you.
If the world wasn’t scary enough, thieves have come up with a way to steal your money without ever touching you. All they need to do is get close to you, so all of this physical protection could be for not if you happen to come across one of the “smart” ones. These anti-RFID card holder will keep electronic information safe from hackers. Products range from wallets, card holders, accordion card holders and ladies clutch.
All of this sounds like a lot of work, and a lot of money, to replace lost/stolen documents. This is why is it vital that you purchase proper travel insurance. The right coverage will help cover the cost of hotel stays, any vacation cancellation fees, and document replacement fees. While nothing can be done to recover time lost, you can help make the situation a little better by not taking any further costs out of pocket than need be.
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We travel with a stroller, what consideration do I make when setting out on a holiday, below I take you through my thinking on the subject. Enjoy this article highlighting my reason to and NOT to travel with a stroller.…
Why you need a kids camera for your next vacation!
There are many reasons why your kid wants a camera while on vacation; experience the location, copy mom and dad as they take images, free souvenirs, amongst other things. But should you give the kids a camera? They are kids, after all, they’ll just break it or lose it.
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- Curious – children are naturally curious about the world. They want to explore the world like we do, and capture those images for a later date
- Individuality – being allowed to control their own entertainment is important to kids. They want to be in charge and since I believe in picking my battles, having a simple kids camera on hand makes it that much easier.
- No “photography rules” – unlike adults, kids don’t care about photography rules. They don’t even care if the photo turns out or not, they just like the act of taking a picture.
- Accessible – no need to read or write. Kids don’t need to be able to know much in order to use a simple digital camera. Just point and shoot and away they go.
- Instant gratification – while I don’t generally preach “instant gratification”, showing the children that their hard work has paid off – they learned the functions of the camera, found an image-worthy subject, aimed and held the camera still long enough to capture the picture. Now they can see their work on the screen, to be saved for years to come.
- Observation skills – children have a way of noticing things that adults may miss. Intricate patterns in the stone, for example, or the various shoes fellow travelers are sporting that day. Being that much lower to the ground has a way of changing a persons perspective of the world.
Best Digital Cameras for Kids
|60mm f/12.7 Lens||10 ounces||4.6|
Types of Kids Cameras
Kids Underwater Camera
It’s the perfect travel companion, ready to capture all your adventures and fun selfies – even under water. Rugged, compact, and lightweight, it goes anywhere and can handle every challenging journey, from the bumpiest, dustiest desert road tour to underwater selfies amid the coral reefs.
Pro: Since they are waterproof, they can be taken on many more adventures and no one has to worry about the camera’s functionality afterward. Also, this means parents don’t need to be afraid of the toddlers dropping their camera in the tub or a mud puddle while they take practice pictures.
Con: The housing can leave audio files a little “tinny”, or sounding boxed in. Unless the camera can come out of the waterproof housing for non-water based pictures, there is no way around this feature. However, cameras with an external housing have a risk of leaking, even if that risk is small, compared to a camera that is solid waterproof.
The Ivation Underwater Shockproof Digital Camera is another example of a fully waterproof, droppable camera.
Pro: Allows kids to learn the various functions of a camera; pressing buttons, centering the image, posing the subject, and being responsible with their property, without costing a small fortune should something happen to it. Training wheels for digital photography.
Con: The quality of the images is something to be desired and may put off a child from photography. These cameras are not meant for older kids, as they are more about the quality of their work, instead of the act of taking photos and doing the same as mom and dad.
Video Cameras for Kids
Pro: I also advocate for multipurpose products. If I can get 1 product that does the same as 2 or 3, why not? Practice photography and videography at the same time, without having to buy a separate unit.
Con: Because it can do more, these units tend to cost more than a standard practice camera. There are also a few more options for the children to learn, so it is best recommended for the older kids as they will be less likely to be frustrated with so many options.
Best Kids Camera Reviews
One of the great features is auto-detect; just turn the camera to take a picture of yourself and it will automatically detect faces for a perfect selfie! I love the audible electronic shutter sound that plays when a photo is taken. It’s a good indicator for the kids on when they can move the camera. I could do without the games programmed into this, though. It is a little distracting for the in-between kids – old enough to figure out how to use it but too young to ignore it when it’s time to focus on picture-taking.
When editing a photo, the original photo is preserved and your edited version is a new, separate photo. I was after a camera that wouldn’t immediately break and with few enough buttons that the kids would be able to operate them without throwing off settings. This definitely fits that bill. We have even bought it for a few friends on their kids’ birthday; it’s always a hit when we host play dates. We’ve owned ours for 2 years and it’s still going strong.
This item is great for a toddler. The size of it makes it easier for little hands to hold. It is also difficult to break, which is a huge pro since it will probably be dropped several times. The only thing that I wish was a bit different, is for the button to be in a different location. It is a bit awkward for them to push. You can download the photo’s onto a computer anytime to make more room but they can still take many photos with a 32G SD card
Deemed one of the best waterproof cameras for kids as outdoor gifts for those that are adventurous, surfers, snowboarders, for swimming, diving, and breaching. As a waterproof, dustproof, drop-proof camera, it is practically indestructible, which is perfect for little hands that tend to drop just about anything, pretty much anywhere you don’t want it to be dropped.
This camera is more than a toy. The colour was bright so great for kids – and it doesn’t look like those cheap toys we usually see for kids. It comes with the camera itself, lanyard, USB cable and the manual. Note: It requires 2 AAA batteries and an SD card which are not included.
The screen is a bit small but my 3-year-old does not mind. It does not take a lot of pictures – maybe 75 or so, but it is perfect for little children who just want a camera to play and practice with. It can double as a webcam on your computer, which is great for communicating with loved ones, not on vacation with you.
Digital Concepts camera allows you to take up to 75 quick photos to go and shoots video clips. Simply plug the digital camera back into the USB port and download and edit your photos. The camera includes a neck strap, PhoTags Express photo editing software for fun and cool pictures.
This camera, unlike the others in this list, does not protect from dropping and is not waterproof. It is a real “adult” camera, but smaller and less expensive. Overall this product is not the best camera out there but it served its purpose for the price.
Great for older and younger kids.
Bought two – one for each boy (ages 4 and 6) for a long 20-hour road trip. They loved taking photos (about 300 of in the inside of my van….) and played with all the special effects and learned all about the world of selfies! They took great pictures on our trip and the games were great for spurts of boredom on the road trip when they needed something to keep quiet (while their siblings were napping). I didn’t find the games to be a nuisance at all because they’re basic games (think Frogger)
You can disable or set a time limit on the games (the shortest limit is 15 min/day), which is a great feature to have, as they are not exactly educational games. It is drop-proof, I want to say splash-resistant (will survive a splash of juice, but not submersion in the tub) and durable. The colour is great for kids’ imaginations.
This waterproof shockproof camera for kids has worked great. It is a very simplistic waterproof camera which is great for young kids. You can take pictures and record videos. You are also able to view both the photos and videos and delete any you don’t like directly on the camera. Setting up the camera is super easy and to download the pictures or videos you just plug it in the computer and they pop right up!
The biggest card you can use with the camera is a 32GB, which is more than enough space for a budding photographer. The Powpro Kfun pretty shock proof as well. Just don’t expect the audio to be anything special. Its not, especially in the waterproof housing. If you speak directly toward the speaker its great. From the side or behind, not so much
It’s a little bit smaller than expected but is very convenient to carry around as it is super light, great size & weight for kids to play with, and fits well in pockets. Taking the price into account, it does deliver amazing image quality, pics look great on its 2.7″ TFT LCD display screen, brought lots of joy to the kids. And the photo quality is pretty good as well after transferring onto the computer. Very easy to operate, one button control with essential options. I would recommend this as the best point and shoot camera for kids.
Does not come with an SD card, however.
It’s easy for toddlers to use and very durable- it’s been dropped numerous times. The internal memory tends to wipe clean if the batteries are allowed to die before exporting the files, so it’s best to check often.
My only issue with it is the quality of the pictures it takes, but I wasn’t expecting a high pixel count for something meant for kids, and how easy it is for the pictures to get deleted by a kid exploring the buttons.
I would compare this to a Baby Go Pro. While this isn’t a perfect action camera by far, this is the perfect action camera for kids. It’s easy to use. You can take it pretty much anywhere: in the air, underwater, you name it. It floats, and it’s just about indestructible.
The video quality is about as low as it gets, but that doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that this is a great toy and that it gives little kids a chance to use a cheap action camera without any fear that it might break?
It is recommended to purchase a 32GB SD card with speed class VI.
The camera quality makes you feel like you’re in the 90s, it’s great as long as you’re not expecting crystal clear, see every one types of pictures. Great for when you hang out with friends, and perfect for scrapbooking.
As a kids polaroid camera, it takes the cutest pictures ever, a lot of people may not like the quality of the picture but I love it because it gives it this old fashion look and feeling to it. It’s so much fun to see a printed photo right after you take it. This is the best instant camera for kids and adults.
Hopefully, I’ve helped you find the Best Kids Camera for your needs! If you are looking for more kids or baby products for travel, you can also read our guides to best travel stroller, the best toddler travel bed and many other useful travel products here.
Dealing with jet lag in kids
– Melanie Grosjean from Travel-Wise
If you wish to see the world, jet lag is one of those unavoidable realities. It can be bad enough to get rid of jet lag by yourself, but when you add a baby or small child to the mix, the fun really begins.
I’ve certainly spent many early morning hours rocking a jet-lagged baby or playing with a toddler who is completely awake when I’m beyond sleep deprived. The reality is that only time will cure jet lag for kids — but with a few tips, you can make the transition from one time zone to another a bit easier to bear.
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Enjoy the Sunshine
One of the things I’ve found to be most effective in helping our toddler get over jet lag is getting her outdoors during the daytime. Spending time in the sun seems to help their little bodies understand it’s daytime and get them acclimated to the new time zone.
Once the sun is up, get out and enjoy the day as much as possible. Spending time outdoors usually helps my daughter be in a better mood as well which can be difficult when you are getting over jet lag.
If the weather or season at your destination does not permit you to spend much time outdoors, you can at least spend the daytime in a sunny part of the house with the curtains open. If you have a young baby, letting them play in a sunny place (with sun protection of course) will help them re-learn when they should be waking and sleeping.
Take it Slow
Traveling with kids means taking it slower anyway, but when you are jet lagged, you have to step this up a notch. Planning a couple of days to recover at your destination after a long flight will certainly pay off in the end.
It’s great to get them out and do a few activities during the day, especially to let them soak in some sunshine. However, don’t overdo it.
Plan a few low-key activities and don’t set your expectations too high. Everyone will be running on fumes and your kids are less likely to be able to keep their cool.
Sleep When the Kids Sleep
When your kids take a nap or go down for the night, you should certainly take the opportunity to also get some rest. Even though it can be tempting to use that time to get things done, going to bed when your kids do can help guarantee you get just a little sleep before their confused bodies wake up again.
Related Article; Hotel Bedtime Routines
The first few days of jet lag always make me feel like I’m back to those sleep-deprived days of parenting a newborn, but the old sage advice still stands — sleep when they sleep.
Be Consistent with a Schedule
When we are fighting off jet lag with our two-year-old, we let her sleep whenever she wants the first day in our new location. I think of this as a survival period — you are just doing what you have to do to get by.
Once she’s rested a bit, we then start to encourage a schedule. Sticking to meal times, nap times and bedtimes can certainly help with the adjustment.
If you can get into a routine that is similar to your routine at home, then your kids will quickly adjust to the new time zone. The hardest part of this for us is waking up an overtired baby or toddler from a nap, but sometimes that is necessary to keep a nap from turning into a full “night” worth of sleep.
Have a Lot of Patience
While you may have clicked on this article hoping we would have a quick fix for helping your kids get over jet lag, the real answer is time. Your young kids will eventually be back on their normal schedule and back to their typical cheerful, well-behaved selves.
Related Article; What they don’t tell you about traveling with kids
Keep your expectations low and remind yourself to be patient with your kids. The experiences you will have traveling with your kids are more than worth fighting the good fight against jet lag.
Plan for Help at Your Destination
Getting help with jet-legged kids can make all the difference in the world. I know it’s not possible to always have this luxury, but when you can plan for a family member to help you out with jet lag duty, it can be a real lifesaver.
You might even consider hiring a babysitter for a few hours, even if it’s just to help mom and dad get a few hours of sleep.
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