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Tips for Women Traveling Alone

Travelling with children can be a bit like taking a herd of wild goats on holiday. Whether they're your own or someone else's, factoring a child's needs into your travels involves a lot more than sticking on a CD full of pop music and making toilet stops.

Take your time

First, come to terms with the fact that you will be travelling at your child's pace, not your own.

The greatest thing you can take - whether at the airport, sightseeing or getting from A to B - is extra time. Toddlers love to explore and don't care for the time pressures of travel, so you're more likely to all retain your cool if you factor in the gawping, stalling, toilet stops and tantrums into your timeframe.

Traveling With Baby Formula, Breast Milk, and Other Liquids for Infants and Small Children

Medically required liquids, such as baby formula and food, breast milk and medications are allowed in excess of 3.4 ounces in reasonable quantities for the flight. It is not necessary to place medically required liquids in a zip-top bag. However, you must tell the Transportation Security Officer that you have medically necessary liquids at the beginning of the screening checkpoint process. Medically required liquids will be subjected to additional screening that could include being asked to open the container. They recommend, but do not require, that medication be labeled to facilitate the security process. When travelling by air with an infant, carry a bottle or pacifier for the baby to suck on during takeoff and landing. This is a help to equalize ear pressure making the baby more comfortable.

Breastfeeding

In the event you are breast feeding, it is a good idea to take your cues from local women. There are cultural differences country to country. When in doubt, try to breast-feed in private.

""I've been travelling with my kids since the youngest was 3 months old. When she fussed, I went into a larger than life singing or dancing routine to distract her. Often, this made fellow travelers laugh and sympathize instead of trying to get as far away as possible from an upset mother and child."

Invest in a Child Locator

Never leave a young child unattended. In my experience, toddlers aren't fans of reins, backpacks with a leash, or any infringement on their freedom. Keep tabs on them at airports, train stations and crowded attractions with a child locator. The child wears a small unit (strapped to a belt or shoe) and you keep the transmitter. If you lose your child set off the alarm and follow the sound to find them. Always keep some form of identification in your child's pocket in case you accidentally become separated. For emergency identification purposes, take along several recent photographs of your child. Also leave copies of those photographs with a family member at home.

Brand Them

If you're going to be travelling through busy, crowded airports or transport hubs, write your mobile number on your child's arm in case they get lost.

Be Prepared for the Climate

It's simple advice, but children dressed comfortably for the weather and terrain will be happier in a new environment. With all the gear available, there's no excuse for dressing toddlers in ski-suits four sizes too big, forgetting their gloves, or leaving them barefoot on a beach where sea urchins lurk.

Pack Pull-Ups for Potty Training

Planes and other public transport during the potty training days can be a nightmare. As if you didn't have enough in your hand luggage, now you're expected to add a potty, three changes of clothes and bags of wet, stinky pants. Ignore the Potty-training gurus that may disagree, but if toddlers are still having lots of little accidents then I'm all for putting them back into Pull-Ups on the plane.

Don't Forget the Baby Wipes

Even if all your children are long out of nappies, don't forget the baby wipes. They're useful for washing hands, cleaning toilet seats, and wiping down restaurant tables. In the same spirit, little bottles of hand cleanser can be a lifesaver at home and abroad, but check the travel regulations for liquids well in advance.

Do Not Let the Children Pack their Backpacks

We once went on a trip with our eight-year-old, who complained incessantly that her backpack was too heavy. The reason why? She'd brought along her entire collection of fossils "just in case". Do let the children have input but remember to edit this heavily before departure.

Avoid sweets

Resist the temptation to keep them going on a long journey by feeding them sweets. Pack a mixture of savory snacks like cheese cubes, breadsticks, fruit and bagels - anything to avoid arriving in a strange city with children in the middle of a sugar rush.

A Camera in the Hands of Toddlers is Amazing

Giving toddlers their own (robust, child-friendly) camera encourages them to observe their surroundings and focus on what interests them. You might be surprised at the results from their knee-high view. Amongst pictures of feet and wheels, I have a friends with a three-year-old who has shot flowers, animals, helicopters, boats, rocks and rabbit poo.

Encourage Your Older Children to Keep a Travel Journal

Get your kids to draw and list things they've seen and interesting foods they've tried. Who knows, this might also encourage them to try different foods. Collecting postcards from places you visit and asking them to write themselves a message on the back means they can reach adulthood with a library of memories all their own.

Safety

Teach your child never to open the door of your hotel room to anybody. When entering or leaving a hotel elevator, make sure your child is right beside you. If the doors close too quickly, he or she could be stranded.

Engage and Involve Older Children

The best way to avoid a soul-destroying sulk from your teenager is to involve them in the planning of the holiday and ask them for input on what they'd like to do. You might be surprised to hear it's not spending all day on the internet.

Finally and Most Importantly

Check Your Passports!!!!!!!!!

Children's passports only last five years and they have a habit of running out when you're not looking. Allow at least four weeks to renew one. The cost of a last-minute passport is astronomical, and particularly annoying if you only realize that it is necessary when at the airport trying to check in. Your travel agent has all the information on passports and visas and can help with acquiring them when necessary. Your passport needs to be current and have at least 6 months before it expires. Calculated the 6 months from your return date.

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