Once you get to know me, you’ll find out that I make at least three trips to Norway every year. It has taken me TWO WHOLE YEARS to get the courage to bring Olivia, my now 7 year old along with me. I’m so glad I did! Here are 7 tips I can give you to hope your international travel will be as successful as mine, and make you want to travel with your kids more!
Tip #1 Get them excited about the journey!
When I first started to plan the trip, I thought about the best time frame she would get to experience Norway, and it doesn’t get much better than Christmas! We spent 10 days in Bergen where we got to experience a traditional Norwegian Christmas holiday and everything that beautiful town had to offer. I booked the trip months in advance and made sure to talk about it a lot with her to and show her lots of pictures. Before we left for the trip I got her the cutest travel journal from Amazon! She was super excited and wrote in her journal every day!
Tip #2 Plan your flights!
Do your kids follow a normal sleep schedule? Or do they throw your through a loop with a weird sleep schedule? Plan around it! Our first flight was perfect. Olivia usually goes to sleep at 8:30 pm so picking the latest flight which left at 10:00 pm was our best option. We got to the airport in enough time to sit and eat dinner together, and then it was lights out for the entire flight until breakfast! The flight back was a little different.. We had an early morning flight so she stayed up until the end of our last flight.
Check with the airline you’re flying to see if they provide headphones, pillows, and blankets. We brought Olivia’s eye mask and pillow, along with her iPad and favorite headphones so we didn’t have to pay extra for things on the plane. When we finally got our bags and to the car it was still her bedtime, so she was still able to sleep in the car for the . Don’t forget to give yourselves a couple of hours to stretch your legs, play, eat, go to the bathroom and get ready for the next flight!
Tip #3 Pack Smart!
If you’re traveling for a weekend getaway or for several days.. Only pack what you need, especially when you have to bring your winter wardrobe! When I was getting ready for the trip I was thinking.. How am I going to maneuver all of these bags? The truth is, I wasn’t. I got all of the essentials together for the two of us and all of the Christmas presents she would be opening and packed those first. My big suitcase and my laptop bag were all I needed, and I brought a carry-on size suitcase and a backpack for Olivia, to carry her toys and snacks.
Traveling with your kids has its advantages, I got the airport to weigh both suitcases together, so we didn’t have to pay an additional fee for my heavy bag. My suitcase had all of the Christmas presents, so I was so hoping I didn’t have to move anything into hers. It worked out great! I was able to check both of the suitcases and only had to worry about bringing two bags around the airports for 20 hours. The airport also weighed both bags together so I didn’t have to pay additional fees for the big bag.
I also skipped out on packing her car seat and we borrowed one from a friend when we arrived. One less thing for me to tag along!
Tip #4 Pack Snacks!
It doesn’t matter what country I’m in, Olivia is a picky eater. I personally think the food on the plane, when heading internationally can be better than some of the airport food, but the kiddos do not think so. We flew Norwegian Airlines and the flights are cheap, but you have to pay for all of the extra items, including your meals. I purchased the meal plan for Olivia and I through the airline. But, naturally Olivia refused to eat because she saw vegetables. I made sure to pack lots of snacks like nutella, popcorn, and Go Go Squeez . The Z bars were my saving grace when Olivia turned her nose up at breakfast sandwiches. I also packed enough so whatever she didn’t eat in the airports, she had for snacks throughout the trip, and they all fit in her bag.
Tip #5 Do Your Research!
Do you need a passport for the country you are visiting? The answer is always yes, when traveling internationally. But do you need a Visa? Some places require them and others do not. Although we did not need to have a Visa where we were going, I had to provide our passport numbers well in advance. Also, they did not accept the passport card where we went. Make sure to bring the book! If you don’t have a passport and you’re planning to travel soon, check out where to find your nearest passport office. I decided to wait closer to our trip to get Olivia’s because I wanted to make sure I got my paperwork back right away. We also have an office in New Orleans, so it wasn’t too far away. Do what ever works best for you and your family!
Tip #6 Leave In Plenty Of Time!
I was lucky enough for this trip, to have started working from home about a month before we left. This gave me the perfect opportunity to pick up and work from wherever I wanted to. While I only worked for a little while on our trip, I did work there and back. We drove from New Orleans, LA to Orlando, FL and made a trip out of our trip. We stayed in Tallahassee, FL which was the perfect halfway spot for us. Naturally, when we got to Orlando, FL I made a pit stop at the Airhead’s trampoline park. It was a sweet treat for her and it helps make traveling with your kids easier when they’re not so filled with energy. We stayed close enough to the airport to where we weren’t rushing to get checked in. We also did the same going back.
Tip #7 Have Some Fun!
Try and remember to have some fun with it! This is your chance to give your child memories to last a lifetime! If they decide to throw a fit because they’re bored, take the opportunity to embarrass them too. I know I did! We were getting ready to board the plane from London and we had a delay. She got cranky, so I turned on some music and had a dance party. Mortified, she decided to calm down and I chose to stop dancing. You would too if you saw my mom moves!
I hope I was able to provide you with a little inspiration to travel with your kids! If you’re looking for some other ideas, check out the Life Twinning blog.