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Top 10 Travel tips with kidlets

Maddy M O

(aka how we survived the 36 hour door-to-door car/plane/plane/car trip)

Now that we’ve been back from our EPIC first family-of-four journey to visit the grandparents in Nigeria (via Dubai) I’ve had a chance to think back and pull together the top 10 things that got us through (and what we learnt to do/never do again!)

Before we left, I asked  the “village” over on the Mumma’sBoysMumma Facebook page what their top tips were. I also picked up a few from a couple of fantastic travel blogs- Caz&Craig of Y Travel and Prue of Modern Nomads with Kids.


Pack LIGHT and use a backpack

Handsfree, plenty of easy-to-reach pockets, also meant I could carry Lewis (then four months old) in the babyBjorn and gave me a free hand to hold Oscar (four years)…and his bag, and Fergus (the bear) and Jimmy (his monkey).

And remember -you can always buy things WHEN YOU GET THERE! (Lesson Learnt #1-you’d think I’d know by now!)

Ziplock bags are my new best friend

Packing “an outfit into a bag” (including wipes and nappies) meant only having to grab ONE bag-perfect for car trips, flights and changing in those tiny plane toilets!

PREPACK all the “100mL or less” liquids and keep in one bag that’s handy (Lesson Learnt #2)

Reuse/pack extra ziplock bags – great for separating baby socks/bibs/chargers/toiletries and perfect size spew catcher (Lesson Learnt #3)

Keep them busy

But you  don’t need to bring enough for a classroom! (Lesson Learnt #4)

From activity books and crayons, a game of “I spy” or “Can you count how many….”(not the best during a night flight), and in our case, an iPod Touch and his own screen on-flight (thanks Emirates!), take some portable entertainment.

But pack a MAX of three things (trust me, you’ll end up carrying them anyway!) and get your kids to pack them into their own backpacks (and NOT a rollaway – Lesson Learnt #5). As cute as it is to see a little kid wheeling them around, do you know how frikkin’ annoying it is to lug around?!

Take your time and expect delays

This one from Modern Nomads with Kids.

We factored in a three hour cartrip even BEFORE we got to the airport: pit-stops, checking-in, dinner, feeds, changes,tantrums (repeat). A more relaxed you means more relaxed kidlet (in theory, at least!) In practice (and Lesson Learnt #6), there may have been a few meltdowns, but at least there was plenty of time to do so!

Plan ahead (where you can)

Visas? Passports? Travel immunisations? Accommodation? Attractions? Do your homework and prepay where you can. We had the amazing opportunity to spend four days’ stopover in Dubai on the way home and prebooked a tour to go up Burj Khalifa – so glad we did because spaces book fast!

Book night flights if you can

Definitely helped us! Took a bit of settling (the four-year old, would you believe?!?) but once dinner was done and lights were off, so was he! The little man, honestly I don’t know where we got him, but three out of four flights sleeping pretty much the whole way? I was one very happy mumma. Lollies (also serve as bribery tools), soft toys and feeding (of any kind!) and  even “Count how many…” are all definitely great distractions during take-off and landing.

Get some shut-eye (if you can!)

As tempting as it is to catch up on FOUR years worth of missed films – you need to recharge as well! Even if it is to keep up with the kidlets when they wake up  (Lesson Learnt #7) – in between meltdowns and in transit…

Improvise and be flexible

I know, easier said than done, but when you’re away from home, you sometimes just have to make do. Forgot the baby carrier? Use a cloth and turn it into a sling – or in my case, learn to piggyback Nigeria style 🙂 (Lesson Learnt #8)

Remember you were a kid once too!

This is one from Y Travel – I love this one! Remember when five minutes felt like an eternity, and anyone and everything new and unfamiliar needs to be pointed out…loudly (Lesson Learnt #9)

“Yes Oscar, some men do wear dresses, no he’s not getting married and no that is not a tea towel on his head…people from different countries wear different outfits…yes, Oscar a bit like dress ups.” Just go with it…

 Finally, (and my favourite) SNAP HAPPY! (happy optional)

Or better yet, if the kidlet is old enough, give him the camera! Oscar had his iPod touch, which kept him distracted and captured the stress (I mean the memories J) of the journey.

And if all else fails, mummas and papas, have a glass of vino (or two)… Smile, just keep walking, and if he’s far away enough, pretend he’s not yours…I’m KIDDING!

Maddy Mendoza Orubuloye

Maddy is mumma to Oscar & Lewis I wife I list queen I op-shopper I shameless reality TV junkie. Voice of II My life on Instagram:@mummawoosah More about the Author

  • Great tips!! Thanks so much for linking to our post. Glad you survived and had a great time

  • Shelley Eldridge

    Great Article! Love the advice!

  • Thanks ladies!

    • Georgie

      Amazing !! thankyou so so much these are some great tips xoxox

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