In The Gypsy Mama’s Guide to Real Traveling with Kids, you can find advice on how to make your travels safe and fun with kids from all ages. The two authors (Jenn Miller and Keri Wellman) have experience in traveling with kids from the early months to teenagers, they have four children each.
I get asked questions about traveling with children all the time, and I have many answers, but this is a complete book on the topic, I highly suggest it. This is an affiliate link, but I really think it can help many families to make a dream trip happen.
I really loved the examples of games to play at home before getting on the road, like the ones about safety rules, airport and train security or tips on how to help your baby nap on the road. The two families were doing all kind of games, making it all fun for the children.
There are tips from packing (try the one bag rule), with lists of what they bring, healthcare options and emergency care conducts, besides what to do when a child is having a tantrum on a plane or how to work up the guts to let your teenager travel alone for the first time.
Take healthcare on the road, which puzzles many parents. I’ll say that I don´t have any insurance and both me and my girl didn’t have any medical need in one year.
We had to take flew fever vaccine before coming to Costa Rica. I only did it because it was mandatory to leave Brazil with that in hand, but if you are about to travel and are thinking about vaccinations, you might want to check this post: Should I Vaccinate My Child For Travel?
Anyway, there’s a health care section for the more careful than me in the book. I’ve been traveling with my daughter ever since she´s 8 months old, but I’d have benefited greatly to having read this before. I did some training myself, role-playing a trip, telling weeks prior to a big move what’s about to come, and I adjusted the itineraries with my girls routine of eating and sleeping.
But I didn´t train her behavior as the book suggests (and maybe in any way at all up till when she was 3) and so I think at times that most parents fear, like while at the check-in at the airport, or passing by the Federal Police, I did have Luísa crawl away and I nervously kept an eye on her and another at the bureaucracy. She did pass to the boarding aisle while I was at the waiting room once. I was watching the whole scene, fascinated at how easily a child could enter the wrong airplane.
I was alert and stressed and in the end, everything was well and worth it, but I can see how parents that take the time to make games in the house and practice some situations of stress on the road can make it all so much more pleasurable.
On the ¨Where to stay¨ section, there are examples of all kind of accommodation. These families have been to hostels, tents, hotels and rented homes. No kidding they can talk about all the possibilities on the road and they give links on where to look for what you want.
I was even more encouraged to go camping with my girl after reading the book. When I told Luísa that our next trip was in a tent, she was so excited! Kids like it simpler than we imagine. When starting off in Costa Rica, I always wanted a room with a bathroom. When we went to Nicaragua, we spent a few nights at places with shared bathrooms and the easiness this resulted on the budget plus watching my 4-year old never ask for more comfort was great.
This book might inspire parents not only to travel, but to educate properly their children. Traveling with children means having them learn from an early age social rules of behavior that sometimes can take longer to happen at home.
I love how it emphasizes that the younger a child is taken traveling, the easier and more used to it she´ll become: ¨Exposing the child to travel at an early age can better help her to cope with the stress of travel. It helps your baby gain her sea legs, figuratively and literally.¨