After a nine-month tour of 31 countries and six continents, ex Dubai residents AJ Ratani and wife Natasha know a thing or two about traveling with kids. Read the full story of their amazing escapades here, and in the meantime grab some useful tips on globe-trekking with the little ones…
1. Plan your travel around nap times
We timed our travels, whether we were driving, flying or taking a train, during morning or afternoon nap times, or better yet, at night. If your child can sleep, it will reduce the boredom and make it easier for you.
2. Drive or take the train, when you can
We generally preferred taking a train to driving or flying; it allows someone else do the work of getting you there, but gives more freedom to move around and sleep than a plane. On the other hand, driving allowed us to take as many breaks as we needed, to have more room, and to have music – our son loves to sing to Bollywood tunes!
3. Pack toys and snacks
We always packed our son’s favourite toys, as well as some brand-new surprises, to keep his attention longer,. Snacks are a must for cutting down on hunger-induced tantrums when stuck on tarmac. We recommend having an emergency chocolate to calm your child down when nothing you do works.
4. Focus on your child
Don’t worry about others’ feelings when you child is having a tantrum. Instead, worry about your child and how you can calm him or ease her stress. Don’t allow other travellers to get in your head.
5. Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask others around your for help, especially on flights. If you need something, ask the flight attendant for it. We found people to be super nice and accommodating when we simply asked.
6. Have an emergency plan
When things go wrong, which they sometimes will, have a plan. Know which parent will take the lead, how you can calm your child, as well as keep yourself stocked with medicines, extra clothes, and medical supplies for illness and accidents.
7. Remember: It’s never as bad as you think
You may hear your child’s cry and it’s breaking your heart or he’s angry and you fear other parents are thinking you are a bad parent. Remember that all parents have been through this, and most people are very understanding and helpful. Transit is just temporary and soon you will get to the destination and discover it was completely worth the short outbursts.
Must-have travel products for the globe-trotting parent
After nine months on the road, AJ and Natasha have found the these are the best products to have when travelling:
The GB Pockit Stroller is our go-to-stroller because it’s sturdy, durable, easily foldable, and weighs only 4kg. GB Pockit Stroller, Dh1,049, Babyshop
AJ and Natasha love the MMI Go Car Seat, but this doesn’t deliver to the UAE. The Urban Kanga is a foldable, portable car seat that meets European safety standards and weighs only 3kg. Urban Kanga, Dh1,949, Desertcart.ae
Guava Family Lotus Travel Cribs can be easily set up in 30 seconds, weigh under 6kg, and can be worn as a backpack when carried through the airport. Dh767, Amazon.com
Keep kids safe on flights with a harness, as lap seatbelts aren’t made for kids. AJ and Natasha like the Kids Fly Safe harness, which is small enough to fit into a handbag and easy to use. Dh419, Babysouk.com
AJ and Natasha love the Baby Flashcards Apps for improving little one’s vocab; Chu Chu TV for diverse educational videos and The Monkey Preschool Series to boost learning.