How to travel with kids

I am an American that lives in Europe and travels the world. I am also a father and I always travel with my family. The purpose of this post is to write about how to pack for a trip for children. In this post you will learn:

  • The form of entertainment for kids during travel.
  • Basics of packing which are really common sense, however, one travel tip you might already do.
  • How to relax before and after the trip so your trip is easy.

The first rule is, your children come first. That means you pack based and travel based only on their needs and your needs are secondary. I have traveled for weeks with only changing my underwear and a tooth brush. You do not need a lot as an adult. However, children are another story.

There are two parts to packing for a trip for children.

  • Functional component
  • entertainment component

Traveling with kids – the entertainment part

They are both equally important depending on the age of your child. After about the age of seven kids are at the age of reason and entertainment can be simply a book or a small computer game device.

Before the age of seven it is very hard to find something that is entertaining all the time. This is why I recommend a palmtop or ipod or netbook. Even with children under the age of one you can load it up with videos from baby TV and YouTube. If you need information how to do this just let me know. My net-book has a 11 hour battery life.

I tried to bring Legos and other traditional toys, it was a waste. Too complicated for a trip. Books are often too heavy. This is why I recommend a simple portable electronic device.

Traveling with kids – the packing part

Packing you already know:

  • Undergarments are the most important including diapers.
  • Some to clean them with is very important also. I take a  basic natural soap. I do not like soap and things with  too much perfume. Kids are sensitive to these even if you are not. You do not need to take all the hair conditioners and soaps you have at home. Just buy some very good quality natural things, like Burt’s Bee products for example, sold at any CVS.
  • Extra clothes in case you have a child under 2 and their clothes get messed up
  • Baby formula, baby food, extra bottle in case they drop it. Pacifier
  • Little pillow or teddy bear for them to sleep on.

My one tip about packing is cleaning your house and doing all the wash before you leave. If you do this you will come home to a spotless home and feel good about it your whole trip. I also pay all bills in advance and add extra money on my Visa. Photocopy all important documents like insurance etc.

The truth is never seen in the beginning or the end but always the whole – Hegel.  Therefore , all parts of your trip are important from before you leave to when you come back.

How to relax on a trip and before

If you try these things your travel will feel different. Especially the salt bath.

My two secrets  for traveling are:

  • Chamomile
  • Magnesium salt bath

Use these for you or your kids before your trip. Believe me I have flow 100s of times.  I know what I am talking about.

If you are on a train or a plain I take chamomile tea. I am a big believer in vitamins etc, but there are few things that I trust for safety like chamomile.  You could take capsules too.  Of course I am not a doctor, only my personal experience. Other things I seriously question the safety.

Some people like to stay up late before the trip and sleep during the trip. I highly recommend against this. I recommend everyone sleep as much as possible before traveling. Traveling is very stressful on your body. Sleep before the trip as much as you can.

I take an Epsom salt bath. I use lots of magnesium salt not just one handful.  This will help you and your kids relax that night and all the next day. Do not use anything with colors or perfumes, just pure magnesium salt.

When you are back use the same two things to relax and detoxify as traveling is very stressful on your body.

Please let me know your experiences with traveling with children and how you pack and prepare.

How to pack for a trip

Learn how to pack for a trip in the most efficient way

I am a seasoned traveler. I was a business consultant and traveled five days a week. I know travel a lot as I am a dual citizen of the US and EU and love to travel. I have learned a lot about how to pack for a trip.  I would like to share this with you. I have four stories here about life and packing your bags.

Pack for a trip with the idea of less is more

The wisdom of less is more is applies to packing. Let me give you tell you four stories and you will get the idea. The you can decide if you really travel light.

Luggage as a consultant -Story one

When I was a consultant I packed my suitcase with everything I needed once a week. All my shampoos and workout clothes and a change of clothes for the week. When I got back home I unpacked and did wash all Saturday. I would bring a couple books to read for the plan and the hotel room. Further the traveling was harder because my bags were heavy. After a few years all I brought was a change on t-shirts and underwear. I wore a wrinkle free white shirt and khakis. I would pack a tooth brush and toothpaste. Nothing else. I would put this in my laptop bag. Therefore, there were no bags to check or collect. I would just carry this and for five days I was set. In the Hotel I read the Bible or went to sleep. It was a much simpler way to pack.

Do not pack at all – Story two

Story number two about packing My friend George Wheat and I were going out of the country for a long weekend, before I met my wife. He is a childhood friend and I have learned a lot from him. This is the way he packed. He slept in is jeans and a t-shirt and stood up and said I will be out in the car. Nothing else. I said what about the bathroom?  He said he would use the bathroom at the airport and at the hotel they have a toothbrush. He took nothing and packed nothing. He said it is more fun that way. You can enjoy life more.

We had a great time exploring this foreign country with nothing to fetter us down and did not miss anything. When we got back home, there was nothing to wash or clean or unpack. So after this story can you say you travel light?

On the plane the best thing to do is cross your arms and close your eyes and just kind of space out or sleep. Do not busy yourself with work or watching the movie. Save your energy and rest your eyes for when you get to your destination. I do not care if you are a girl or a guy or going to another country. You do not need to pack much. Mainly just a couple of pairs of under garments and a toothbrush. Nothing else and your trip will be a lot more fun.

Feng Shui your vacation – Story three

Why can I write this? I have traveled more than almost anyone reading this. The less you have the more you enjoy your trip because you shed all the things that are nothing more than your grown up version of security blankets. When I got rid of all the things I owned when I lived in Boston it opened up the possibility of a new life. I read some Feng Shui books and did just this.  Then I moved to Europe where I have lived for many years. I felt weight down by my stuff in the USA which was really just baggage holding me back.  Now I have new stuff, but the point is, if you need a lot of stuff there is something psychologically holding you back in your life.

Traveling with children – Story four

If you have children you need a couple more items for them, but do not much. We just got back from a 30 hour trip with my 17 month old. We packed toys she did not play with. All I needed was to show he videos from my computer we downloaded from YouTube and home videos. Or play with her with the cups and forks and talk with her and play simple games with our hands and voice. Remember when you are packing anything you think you might need you can get when you are at your destination, and probably a lot cheaper, unless you are going to Switzerland or something.

Therefore, the rule for packing is pack nothing or little. This is how you pack for a trip. After reading my for travel packing stories tell me what you think. Also, let me know how you pack for your trip.