Friday, March 6, 2015

Worry Free International Travel with Kids

  Well, look who's back?!!! Yours truly.. My quick hiatus turned into months long break. It was crazy busy last holiday season, between school events, church and planning for a trip ..it got really hectic. I love to blog and I just could not get myself to write just to publish something. And besides, I always advocate spreading love with the one closest to you..your family. I did enjoy the break!






    We spent our holidays in Philippines, We are so elated and blessed to have this opportunity to see our family. I must say that I've heard bothersome stories about traveling with kids..young..think of a 2 yr old and a 4 yr old. It did worry me at first but we prayed and I told myself that this blessing doesn't come very often..so I will enjoy every minute of our travel. It is our first International travel as a family. Call us brave I guess, We are a testimony that traveling with kids is not as awful as you may think.  Every situation , every  family is different of course  and every child is different , know that our suggestions here are merely based on our own experiences.

1. Call ahead for kids meal.

            You can call your airline to request a kids meal ( under the age of 12) in flight. Ask for their policies first, while some may offer it for free,  others may have an extra charge. Most airlines provide special in flight meals , for those who can not eat the provided regular in-flight meal -- for babies, toddlers and children ( 2-12 yrs old) and due to health conditions , age , religious practices.We flew with Asiana, We must say we are pretty impressed with their kids meal.

2. Pack snacks and an empty water bottle.

              Yes, you can pack snacks for your kids. Just make sure that it is a non messy snack ( sorry chocolates) Instead pack their all time favorite snacks. Pack snacks like granola bar , pretzels, raisins and fruit snacks.
             I don't know about you but I have a problem buying a $3-4 water bottle. It is the 4 of us traveling so buying those bottles can add up really fast. You can fill up the bottles ( water fountains)  after the checkpoint. We used  Contigo Autospout Addison Water Bottle.
   
 3. Pack activities for the kiddos and some for you .

              Divide certain activities depending on the length of your trip. Since we had the red eye  trip, I pretty much know that they will not be needing one on the first leg of our trip. Going to Philippines, we had a quick lay over in Korea. It is just enough time to go through another checkpoint and then find our gate. So the flight from Korea to Philippines, we made sure that it was well divided into 4-5 hrs. You wont need much though, there is a movie with a lot of choices for kids in flight.  
                Here's a few of what we brought:
                - pipe cleaners ( tons of things you can make with wonder fuzzy sticks)
                - sticker books
                - Highlights Hidden Pictures ( with paid subscription) See here for info
                - coloring books and crayons ( small pack) or just download some pages from the internet.

We also printed some of their favorite characters , Dora for Lily and Little Pony for Lucy.
                -  Melissa & Doug Design-Your-Own Bracelets

 
                  - Books to read :
 

 


 

            We packed sets of activities (2 , one for each kid) in a ziploc bag , so I don't have to choose from the variety. I'll just grab one.

4. Rewards.
We prepared a few small baggies ( gift bags) with inexpensive toys. Just small enough so it is not that bulky for your carry on.  It can be challenging to reason out with a two year old that she needs to stay buckled until the pilot says it's safe to take it off. Either during take off or landing or when needed due to turbulence. We are not afraid to reward them for staying buckled and seating still.  Those little toys are handy during lay overs or those long lines at check points.

5. Traveling with kids does have PERKS.

                Call your airlines and ask about any special family services. They are very accommodating when they see that you have kids in tow.  As with our experience, we were able to avoid the lines at the check in area and boarding area. They let you go first , right after the seniors or passengers with disabilities. BUT , at the NAIA Airport ( Manila, Philippines) it was a different story. They only prioritize female passengers traveling with kids without another parent or guardian. Needless to say call ahead as every airline and airport have different and awesome support or services for families traveling with kids and babies.

6. Know the airport.

             I did research in advance as far as the lay out of the airports ( including the lay over). You may be surprised on how awesome some of the airports are. We really loved the Incheon ( Korea) Airport, they do have a nice sleeping area , kids area ( play area), internet area ( though most airports offer free WiFi) , shower area and so on. In that way, you can kind of plan ahead specially if you have a long lay over.(like us!)

7. Take turns

             Lets face it..traveling internationally is exhausting. I advise that parents take turns. Let the husband stroll around the shops or look for a nice coffee shop while you take charge of the kids. Give each other a breather.

8. Pack your carry on wisely and bring an (umbrella) stroller.

             Yes, you can bring a stroller. A lightweight , small and foldable in straight line(umbrella stroller). As far as the car seat is concerned , we did request for one .The airline said,since she is already two yrs old, there is no need for it. Pack your carry on very wisely, remember .. it is also nice to enjoy the journey not just the destination and carrying a heavy  carry on would not only leave you feeling like a packing mule but exhausted..beyond words. Trust me..we learned from this.

9. Relax

          Don't stress yourself thinking how well ( or not) will your kids behave on the flight. Sometimes, not over controlling the situation is the key. They will at some point fuss, complain..talk..and talk some more, after all they are kids right? You may encounter some bad looks, some unkind comments but hey.. we can not please everybody. You will be surprised as well at how many passengers , strangers , even the flight attendants will step up to help you.

10. Pray

         Nothing else can calm you down like a good talk with the Lord.


 -- Philippians 4:6-7
" Don't worry about everything, instead pray about everything. Tell God your needs and don't forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do these you will experience God's peace which is far more wonderful than the human can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus. "


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How We Paid Cash for our International Travel 






5 comments:

  1. Welcome back, my friend! It sounds like you had a wonderful trip and I so appreciate those travel tips. I can't even imagine, but it sounds like it went smoothly. :) I hope you are doing well!

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  2. I would love to visit the Philippines! I appreciate your tips for traveling with kiddos. We are planning to go just one state away with a 1 year old, but I'm nervous HAHA I love your ideas to call the airlines, check out the airports, and pack little rewards!

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  3. I'm a nervous flyer so your #10 would be me... the whole time.

    We don't travel much but these look like fabulous tips. I love that you included some suggested books too (I'm all about reading with kids)!

    Thanks for sharing and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop.

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.
    xoxo

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  4. How great you just visited the Philippines. It's a huge topic we've been having the past couple of days. having flown many times with my kids since the oldest (now 18) was 4 months old, I know it can be overwhelming. You tips are very practical and helpful.

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  5. This sounds intimidating! I have not taken my kids on a plane before but at least I know what to do.

    Thanks for hosting and linking up at #bloggerspotlight!

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Thank you for stopping by and know that all of your comments are appreciated !