With holiday travel taking place for many families and the anniversary of our big trip to Sri Lanka coming up, I thought that revisiting our trip a bit and talking about travel with children would be helpful. Let’s start with a photo of Bodhi sleeping peacefully on my hubby’s shoulder at a tea plantation in Sri Lanka. Awww… He’s already so much bigger.
Last year when we traveled to Sri Lanka with Bodhi, we knew we had to bring a huge variety of activities, snacks and more to keep a 2-year-old occupied for 30+ hours of travel each way. At that point, we hadn’t been big on screen time. He rarely watched TV, never played with a tablet or our phones and really just used books and puzzles as activities at restaurants and more.
The Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition tablet is the perfect option for travel. And would make a great gift for kids. I LOVE the book options on the tablet. Bodhi is a huge fan of being read to, but it’s nice that this tablet will read to your kids in many of the stories and it’s a much lighter option that lugging along his five favorite books.
Despite best intentions, sometimes kids break things. Amazon launched the Fire HD Kids Edition, a tablet that comes with the first ever 2-year worry-free guarantee. That means if anything happens, send the device back and they’ll replace it for free – no questions asked. And this isn’t a toy – it’s a full-fledged tablet. The Kids Edition features a quad-core processor, a vivid HD display, front- and rear-facing cameras and Dolby Digital audio.
The Fire HD Kids Edition includes a year of FreeTime Unlimited so kids get unlimited access to 5,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games—at no additional cost. With FreeTime, parents can personalize screen time limits, set educational goals, and choose which titles kids can access from their own personal content collection. I love this. This means that I can make it so B can just do books rather than games or movies.
SIX tips for traveling with young children
- Bring five times more snacks than you think you’ll use. Try to keep them healthy snacks. Trust me. You do not want a sugar crash meltdown on top of other travel challenges. You can always use the extra snacks while you’re adventuring throughout your destination. And bring a variety of snacks.
- Bring five or more different activities. We used puzzles, books, coloring books, sticker books, a tablet with games, movies, apps and more on our flights to Sri Lanka. I called my carry-on our “bag of tricks” and it truly worked. B loved the variety and I felt like I always had an option for him.
- Bring help. And by help, I mean an Ergo carrier or a small stroller. We had Bodhi’s carseat attached to our carry-on bag and he could actually ride in it throughout the airports some. You can rent carseats, by the way, but in Sri Lanka, almost no one uses carseats even though the driving is treacherous. For the carseat, they sell a strap on Amazon.com to attach it to a rolling carry-on and it’s pretty slick. While that worked some of the time, I knew we needed backup. Since bringing a big stroller to Sri Lanka was not a good idea due to narrow sidewalks, dirt paths etc…, I knew that B would get tired. We dusted off our Ergo carrier from his baby days because a toddler can honestly sit in it pretty comfortably. Boy did it come in handy when B was exhausted. I was 6.5-months pregnant and wore him on the front. It was comfortable for both of us even with a 35-pound big boy and my 3-4 pound baby. If your child isn’t a fan of a carrier like this, definitely bring a good stroller, but I liked having the Ergo in our carry-on and not having to worry about folding up and dealing with a stroller at each stop.
- Don’t worry about those around you. Please read on to truly understand what I’m saying here. Keep in mind that it is going to drive people to a bad place if your kid is screaming on a 14-hour flight. Trust me. I know. There were twin boys behind us on our flight from London to Colombo, Sri Lanka and they were literally yelling, screaming and kicking our seats the entire flight. They also looked over at us and made loud noises right above our sleeping Bodhi. My worst nightmare was them waking him up and our neighbors having THREE kids screaming. As a mom, I felt for the parents, but as a mom, I was also a little frustrated that some of the things were happening. I’m not saying that you should allow your child to be disrespectful, but if you worry too much, you might give off that energy to your child, further stressing them out and making things worse. To me, standing up and yelling over the seat in front of you is not appropriate. If your child has a mini meltdown, though, don’t worry about your neighbors. Worry about you and your child. Head to the in-flight restroom for a little break, find a distraction, chat with your child… do what you need to do to get past that moment. And don’t be afraid to ask the flight attendants for extra snacks or a visit to the cockpit. They let us do that on the International flights.
- Don’t think about what’s to come. If I would’ve started our first leg in the Minneapolis airport thinking about the 3-hour flight to Dallas, the 5-hour layover in Dallas, the 7-hour flight to London, the 6-hour layover in London, the 14-hour flight to Sri Lanka and then the incredibly long drive from the airport to our hotel and the hotel not having our room ready after all of that at 3 a.m. Sri Lanka time, I would’ve had a meltdown myself. I tried hard to worry about each flight and each layover as it came. Bodhi was actually excellent the entire trip other than a serious exhausted meltdown at London Heathrow on our way home. Oh and the 12-hour time change caused some major jet lag. Let’s just say we got to enjoy 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. in Sri Lanka in a lovely way. Back to the layover run London. Thank goodness for the American Airlines Lounge. Food, showers and recliner chairs for the win. Which leads me to my final tip.
- Purchase a lounge pass if you have a long layover. This only applies to long travel, typically international, but it is worth every single penny. My husband had the pass for the American Airlines Lounge included on one of his credit cards. We looked up the lounge ahead of time and went straight there. Little did we know, this was the time we would need it most as our son was screaming, crying and exhausted beyond words.
Having a tablet that is safe for a child to use while traveling is a life-saver. Truly. The Kids Edition tablet also comes with a durable, lightweight kid-proof case available in green, blue or pink to protect against drops and bumps. Fire HD Kids Edition is $149 for a 6″ tablet and $189 for a 7″.
Have you traveled with your child or children? We’re looking forward to traveling with both boys in the next year or so, but we’re also a little afraid.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.