After reading yesterday’s post you’re probably wondering “where is the fun in all this?” So on a lighter note, I thought I’d share information about some of the great places to travel to and things to consider when travelling with kids (if you didn’t already know).
Now time used to be when travelling by road around Nigeria was fun and not extremely dangerous. Those of a younger generation might look stunned right now and go “really?” It’s true……trust me. I remember as a child, going to places like Yankari Game Reserve, when driving up North wasn’t a foolhardy venture and my parents had friends in Jos who grew strawberries and apples in their backyard; fruit not typically grown in our climate. We also visited Obudu Mountain Resort in Calabar, back when it was called Obudu Cattle Ranch and the only way up there was a narrow, windy, dangerous lane (couldn’t really call it a road) and when most of the country had never even heard of the place (thanks to former Gov. Donald Duke for letting the cat out of the bag). Anyway, enough with the reminiscing. Suffice it to say, going on holiday in Nigeria is now viewed as a situation arising from not having enough money to travel abroad. Even visits to one’s village / hometown are not as exciting a prospect as they once were; if you live up North, no psychologist needed to realize why and if yours is in the South, East or West you probably have issues with bothersome relatives or witchcraft…….or whatever (funny, ha-ha……..not).
My focus therefore will be on travel that involves getting on a plane and going as far away from Nigeria as you can afford or are interested in getting, be it other African countries or other continents. First off, travelling with children can be…….trying. I don’t think I need to spell out why. I’ve travelled with toddlers enough times that I think I am now an authority on the subject and I’ve gotten enough compliments from passengers and flight attendants in different countries and airlines to believe that I figured out ways to make the experience as painless as possible for parents and fellow passengers alike – or it could just be that my children are so well behaved they’ve fooled me so for what it’s worth, bear in mind that if my tips don’t work it’s probably because of this…….the delusional state they have placed me in.
Tip 1: Preparation
- Pack 1 or 2 sets of extra clothes for each child to handle any ‘accidents’
- Toddlers and fussy eaters will most likely not like airline food – heck, a lot of adults don’t – so pack a lot of their favourite snacks and drinks. In the UK and US they might make you take sips from their drinks. In Naija, depends on who’s on duty; just insist as long as you have young kids.
- Lollipops to relieve pressure in their ears (don’t take anything else with sugar in it if you want to avoid hyper’ children)
- Even if your child is potty trained, I’ve found that children below 5 have difficulty ‘holding it in’ if they really need to use the bathroom. You might want to pack some pull-ups for your newly potty trained child and make him/her wear one for the trip…..just in case.
- Activities galore – take enough colouring books and crayons (not markers), a favourite stuffed toy or rattle and a pad (ipad, kindle, galaxy, something) if they’re into them yet.
- If you have more than 1 young child, you might need a double stroller; depends on ratio of adults to children in your party
- Take plenty hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial hand wipes (which can also be used to wipe toilet seats before use), in addition to regular wipes, diapers and scented diaper trash bags. It all sounds like a lot to carry but trust me, you’ll likely regret not taking them.
- Jackets and long socks for each child. An extra set might be needed in the event of soiling.
Tip 2: During Trip
- For infants, if you’re nursing you have the magic key to keeping them calm during the flight. Nursing is recommended worldwide now so even if you were not planning on breastfeeding alone for the first 6-months (what some refer to as ‘baby friendly’) or even at all, travel is a good reason to reconsider. You can always use a pacifier but a lot of babies don’t take to one and sometimes the suction involved isn’t enough to provide relief for them; the coziness from skin contact is part of the soothing process.
- The plane is not the place to introduce your children to completely new foods or drinks. You don’t want to find out that they’re allergic or react by barfing, to any foods.
- Get your potty-trained children to use the restroom just before boarding, as soon as possible after take-off, before meals or drinks are served ’cause of the food trays being lowered, and just before the pilot announces descent.
- I recommend changing any diapers just before descent as well.
I can’t take all the credit for this insight as though a lot of it comes from my personal experience, I often refer to http://www.babycentre.co.uk for extra tips….great resource.
(NEXT POST: Travel Time – Places To Go)