The travel bug is undeniably one of the hardest things to shake. With so much of our world to see, cultures to explore and people to meet, travel is an amazing way to spend time with the family. Unfortunately, every parent will tell you, traveling with children comes with a whole set of challenges.
Once children are in the mix, you can say goodbye to the impulsive, spontaneous adventures. Traveling with children requires a lot more planning than a grab-and-go-bag, especially for parents of children with short bowel syndrome (SBS) and other disease states.
Your packing list may get a little overwhelming. Between the clothes (and extra clothes in case of accidents), snacks, and things to keep your child busy while traveling, it can make anyone anxious. As a parent of twins and a child with SBS, I’m going to let you in on a couple of tips and tricks that will (hopefully) ease your mind, put your worries aside and help you make the most of your awaiting adventure.
Have a Positive Perspective
The world awaits! No, really.
The world is a playground for adventure; a chapter book of memories waiting to be written. And while traveling with your kids is not as easy as just jumping in the car or catching the next flight, if you can maintain perspective, it’ll all be worth it.
How? Try focusing on why you want to go in the first place. Maybe you are taking a break from the daily routine to relax and create memories with your family. Or maybe you’re excited to experience a new place and culture and share that with your children.
Whatever your reason for your vacation, setting out with the right attitude is important. Also, if you can wrap your head around the fact that things will not go one hundred percent as planned, you can better manage the bumps in the road. The destination and the memories will be well worth any of the chaos.
Your trip is planned. Flights are booked, cars gassed up, and the hotel reservations are made. But your planning doesn’t end there.
As you get ready to travel, start by creating a packing list. First, get the easy stuff out of the way and figure out what you and your partner need. Next, tackle the kids. Walk through your daily routine and outline the responsibilities of caring for your children. For parents or caregivers of children with short bowel syndrome, your list will be just a bit longer.
Start from the moment you wake up in the morning until you finally lay down for night. TPN, medicine, hydration, ostomy, etc. whatever is on that list of responsibilities, write it down if you haven’t already. Now, multiply that list by the number of days you’re going (maybe add an extra day or two, just in case), and pack it in bags and go! No reason to overthink it.
While you’re doing your homework on local restaurants and things to do in the area, be sure to look into resources in the area you may need to support your child’s care in case of an emergency.
Refer back to the outline of your daily routine and responsibilities. Identify places and facilities that will be helpful should you need additional items on that list. Create a list of locations, phone numbers and relevant contact information to bring with you.
Again, not everything goes as planned. Maybe your bag gets lost in transit. Be ready with some backup resources.
To recap, here are three tips for traveling with children:
- Keep your perspective
- Create a packing list based on your daily routine and care responsibilities (don’t forget to pack extra)
- Bring a list of resources and contact information local to the destination
- Bonus tip: Enjoy yourself and make new memories as a family!