The irony of taking a well-deserved, restful vacation is that it can be absolutely draining to be on-the-go. Packing the night before, setting off early, and sitting cramped in a car, airplane, or train compartment for hours can add to the physical exhaustion of interrupting your normal eating and sleeping patterns. Moreover, a post on travel fatigue from the BBC’s Science Focus also suggest that the real reason we feel tired when we travel is because of mental strain. The act of traveling is really boring, because we have to sit around for a long time before the actual fun can begin. Once we arrive, the new sights, smells, and experiences engage our attention and distract us from the physical tiredness.
Of course, traveling with children is an entirely different ball game — because their needs and expectations are not the same as adults. As we discussed in our article on ‘Packing and Traveling with Kids’, the chaos in changing up comfortable routines can lead to outbursts from hunger or complaints of boredom if you’re not prepared. And on some days, your family will just really need some downtime to relax, unwind, or take a nap. Bringing the right equipment can also prevent children from getting too tired and cranky, especially while you’re sightseeing. Here are three things you should bring to ensure young kids get enough rest on the road:
A baby carrier
There are a wide range of baby and child carriers available, from those that keep an infant strapped to a parent’s chest to the rucksack-style ones you can wear on your back. Although it can be a bit of a balancing act, baby carriers are ideal if you’re planning to have a great range of walks on your trip, like walking on cobblestone streets in Europe or hiking up more difficult terrain. Here, the priority is to find a model that emphasizes ease of use and comfort for the parents, as well as ensuring adequate fit and support for the child. This baby carrier by LILLEbaby demonstrate this to a tee, as the adjustable belt distributes a baby’s weight evenly. You can even customize the straps to carry your child in six positions, and the carrier has an air panel to keep you both cool while you travel this summer.
When older toddlers get tired, they often want to be carried instead of walking back. And that can be a hassle if you’re some distance away from your accommodations. Bringing a sturdy stroller can save you the trouble of carrying your child everywhere. The pushchairs from iCandy show how contemporary models are designed to be ultra-compact and multi-purpose — not to mention stylish — travel systems, so you can easily keep your child comfortable on very long walks. Do note that strollers work best when pushed on flat surfaces; avoid rough and narrow paths, steep hills, or routes with a lot of gates and stiles. You should also remember to put up the stroller cover to protect your tot from the sun, then reinforce this with sunscreen and a hat.
A toddler travel bed
When a child’s sleep routine is disrupted — as in the case of journeys abroad — they’re probably not going to be the best company on your family vacation. Plus, neither you nor your child may like sleeping in the same bed so much. The best thing to do is to set up a toddler-friendly sleeping space using a toddler travel bed, which usually comes with inflatables, guardrails, and other neat features. For example, the portable toddler bed from Joovy fits easily into a diaper bag but can be unpacked as a folding tent with a self-inflating cotton mattress. Even if you’re not frequently travelling as a family, your toddler would enjoy this product for playtime, camping, or days at the beach. Do help your child adjust to an enclosed toddler bed by having trial runs at home first.