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11 Useful Tips Every Muslim Parent Needs To Know When Travelling With Kids


Ridhwana •  Mar 12, 2018


Travelling with children can be a bit daunting, but let me assure you, the priceless memories and the amount you will all gain, makes it worth it ☺️ Credit: giphy There are so many reasons you should travel with your child. For one, they will have heaps of fun discovering things they only ever see in books!
Credit: @sunnahactive on Instagram Travelling is also a chance for them to develop tremendously through real life experiences. Their confidence increases, and they learn to become adaptable as they gain a better appreciation for cultural differences and similarities.
Credit: @sunnahactive on Instagram
Travel the Earth
Our Islamic tradition also encourages us to “travel the Earth” so that we can marvel at the beauty of creation and appreciate Allah’s majesty. We are taught to “recognise different nations and tribes”, to learn about each other and cooperate in worldly affairs.
Credit: @sunnahactive on Instagram Rose-tinted spectacles aside, children are hard work, ESPECIALLY when travelling. But it doesn’t have to be a complete disaster. As with many things in life, planning and preparation is key! Here's our ultimate guide to traveling with children. Credit: giphy

PHASE 1: Planning

1. Something for everyone
Oh the places you could go! The world IS your oyster, but picking a suitable destination is quite crucial when traveling with children.  Have a think about the type of holiday your family would enjoy the most, and select a destination based on what is appropriate in terms of the activities available there ?
Credit: @sunnahactive on Instagram For example, does your family prefer theme parks or wildlife? Are you planning on hiking and camping under the stars, or do you prefer suntans and building sandcastles on the beach? Would a historical seerah-inspired spiritual tour interest you, or are you after action and adventure?
Your child’s age will certainly play a part in the decision. Babies under 1 tend to deal with long flights pretty well and are quite portable, in strollers (avoid in busy cities) or baby carriers. As for toddlers who are constantly on the move (and quite frankly UNSTOPPABLE), you may be better off with a shorter flight and a relaxing, kid-focused destination where your toddler’s routine is not disrupted too much ? There are tons of blogs and articles online from parents who travel the world with their children, do your research and find advice from parents whose children are of a similar age range to yours.
Credit: @sunnahactive on Instagram Also, consider how your child will handle the flight (or long drive if it’s a road trip). Is this their first flight abroad? Is there a chance that they might experience motion sickness or travel anxiety on the flight? Remember to prepare for these scenarios beforehand!
2. Get your kids involved
Research your destination in advance and plan your activities by arranging them into a day-by-day itinerary. If you are travelling during peak season, see if you can find offers online for things like theme parks, shows and activities – this will also save you from having to wait in long queues on the day itself ?
Credit: @ri.ink on Instagram Having a rough plan for each day will help you organise your time and know what to expect, but always remain flexible for your children and their surprises! Remember to take note of local solat times and even research prayer area or halal food availability for each day, so you have a clear idea of what to expect. Get your children excited and involved in the planning too (once tickets are booked of course, to avoid any disappointment in case plans do change!)
Older children can use the internet for research, gathering information on things like expected weather, popular food to try, a list of useful phrases and maybe even things to do. Younger children can get involved too by flipping through information brochures or library books, copying bits that excite them as they create their very own “things to see and do” checklist.
My toddler is obsessed with planes, so a few days before we were flying out from UK to China, I told him that we would be going on a real aeroplane very soon.  Every day before the flight day, I would consciously talk to him about it whenever we saw an aeroplane flying above us or even on TV. On the actual day, I dressed him in comfortable clothing and a t-shirt which had planes on, to get him even more excited! Once we got to the airport (and on the plane) he was completely overjoyed and spent the entire first flight saying “wow plane”, “wow flying” until he fell asleep. It really did help keep his spirits up for a bulk of the journey. Throughout the airports as we waited and transferred, we’d play spot the aeroplane, and he would point at any poster or advert with an aeroplane on it. His obsession really came through!
Credit: @ri.ink on Instagram If you have fussy eaters, get them to research interesting dishes and focus on the fascination which may encourage them to be a bit more open-minded. You could even have a themed dinner one evening leading up to the holiday, this way your children can try the local food in a familiar and comfortable home setting.
3. Be organised & keep things simple
Be as organised as you can with the packing too, and try not to over pack. The less you have, the less you need to keep track of. You should always be prepared to drop everything you have at any given moment, and run after your child. In which case, the fewer things you have to drop, the better! If you do need to take a fair bit, keep only necessities on hand and try using a backpack instead of a handbag so you can be completely hands-free for your kids ☺️ Credit: giphy Older children can help pack their own main luggage with the help of a checklist. Younger ones should probably just be involved in packing their toys or an activity bag for the plane. If you leave their main luggage to them, well, I’m sure you can imagine how that would go ?
If it is a short trip where you’re unlikely to do the laundry, pack about two outfits for each day, your kids WILL get messy. Pack as many non-perishable snacks as you can, especially if the food is going to be dramatically different and your child is not that adventurous. It’s always handy having familiar food to hand. Remember your key documents, medicines and an emergency first aid kit and try to keep these as organised as you can. #HHWT Tip: There are many resources online with detailed checklists on what to pack based on specific locations.
If you are able to select your seats, make sure you are seated together as a family and choose comfortable spacey ones at the front (with bassinets if you have a baby), or seats at the back if you prefer to be closer to the toilets.  Don't forget to check if the airline serves Halal food!

PHASE 2: Flying

4. Avoid rushing
Rushing through an airport to catch a flight is bad enough, rushing with children is worst! Have you seen Home Alone?! Credit: giphy Arrive at the airport with plenty of time and keep your children in the loop by explaining the different stages before getting on the plane. Encourage toilet breaks when you see the washrooms to avoid any last minute dashes, and also try and keep them hydrated and happy with healthy snacks ?
If you have chosen a flight that falls in line with your toddlers' sleeping routine, then maybe feed them before you get on the plane so that you don’t have to worry about waking them up mid-flight!
5. Comfort over everything
If your child is comfortable on the flight, there will be fewer tantrums. Dress them in suitable clothing, preferably layers that are easy to take on and off, and have a neck pillow and blanket too. I always have a carry-on bag with me when traveling with my toddler, packed with necessities such as a change of clothes, nappies, nappy bags, ointments, lots of wet wipes, hand sanitizers and all the other things I would need in an emergency.  I like to keep this bag at arm’s length so I can grab what I need, quickly.
Credit: @ri.ink on Instagram Have plenty of entertainment on hand for your little one. A loaded iPad with their cartoons, child-friendly earphones, favourite toys, books, and activity packs. For younger children, small surprises and new inexpensive toys that they have not seen before are a great distraction. Stickers, magnetic boards and mess-free colouring books are also fantastic for traveling.
Credit: @ri.ink on Instagram Pack plenty of healthy non-perishable snacks for the flight like dried fruit and cereal bars, a munching child is a happy child. As a rule of thumb, the fewer small pieces a toy has, and the less messy a snack is – the better!
6. Pick your battles
Flights are boring; especially long flights or flights that have taken your child out of routine. Traveling is tiring and your child may act up. Try and remain calm and diffuse the situation as best you can, and also remember that the plane is not always the best place for discipline.
I always keep aside a new and fun toy, so when my toddler decides he has had enough and starts raging, I can use it to distract him! This wonderful inexpensive toy that he has never seen before rids him of all his worries in a split second. Friendly passengers are also a huge blessing, not only do they help make you feel at ease, children also love making friends with them, and so this too can keep them entertained and distracted on the flight ?
7. Your vibe attracts your tribe
Children are very good at picking up on how their parents are feeling, especially if you are nervous or on-edge. Credit: giphy Try your best to relax and remain calm and hopefully your child will see things are under control and it will help them to relax too. When they fall asleep, you should take a nap too whilst you have the chance! #HHWT Tip: Being organised and preparing in advance should also help reduce your stress levels!

PHASE 3: Travelling/Exploring

8. Variety
Credit: @ri.ink on Instagram Plan your daily activities with variety in mind so that children are engaged throughout the day. Sightseeing time can be mixed with free time, and you can have a fun activity amidst touring to keep them from getting bored! Credit: giphy Be prepared to skip certain parts if it gets too tiring and remember to plan loosely. If there is something that you really want to do, try and make that the first stop so that it is less likely to get sacrificed. Some pre-prepared activities like puzzles, books and toys relating to your destination can also help entertain little ones whilst you take a bit of a break, at a coffee shop or tanning on the beach.
Credit: @sunnahactive on Instagram
9. A bit of home away from home
Holidays are absolutely about getting away from the daily routine, where you can just have fun and relax. Children do benefit from routines though, even on holiday, and sometimes they can get a bit cranky if this routine is disrupted too much.
Credit: @sunnahactive on Instagram Naturally some things will be very different when on holiday but sticking to some basic routines like nap times, bed times and snack time or meal times can really help children adapt better to change whilst away from home ?
If your child has a favourite toy or blanket that they find comforting, bring it along in case they feel homesick. When I was traveling around Asia (Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore) with my baby, I had to make sure I always had my nursing cover and spare pacifiers with me, because these were essential for my baby to fall asleep.
10. Capture the magic
Credit: @sunnahactive on Instagram Ask your child to capture the magic of their holiday by jotting down a few things from each day into their very own journal. (If they are too young, you can do it for them!) Encourage them to doodle, write poems, interesting words they hear, and anything else that flourishes from their creativity. Older children can also be given a spare camera to take their own pictures ?
Credit: @sabrine_lachheb on Instagram Names of friends they make on their journey, napkins in different languages, foreign wrappers, stamps and even small money can all be ideas of little things they can collect as they go, and paste in their very own keepsake. This is undoubtedly something that they will really treasure when they grow older.
Credit: @sunnahactive on Instagram
11. Giving back when away
Travelling and seeing how others live in various regions of the world can be a great way for children to realise how blessed we are for things like food, shelter and safety. It also deepens their compassion for others as they build a connection with the people they see and stories they hear.
Credit: @sunnahactive on Instagram Consider arranging a trip to a local orphanage or hospital where your children can exchange small gifts and play games with their new friends. We have an obligation as Muslims to maintain a sense of brotherhood no matter our differences and to try and help those in need. Taking time to give back whilst what is meant to be a fun time for the family, really highlights how central unity and charity is to our faith☺️
Credit: @sunnahactive on Instagram Whilst in Malaysia, my husband and I established links with an orphanage located on the rural outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. We would make trips down to exchange gifts, play games and just spend time with them. We also invited family and friends to donate a small amount each month, which we would use to purchase games and snacks. The children were delighted when we visited, we would practice their English, play football and have waterfights – but what mattered most, was knowing that Muslims all the way in UK were thinking of them. And there you have it - so much to prepare, but also, so much to gain ?
Credit: @sunnahactive on Instagram Children naturally love exploring and have a great sense of adventure; they notice fascinating details which actually gives us adults the excuse to slow down and appreciate the small things. Traveling will allow them to explore new sights, sounds and smells, and YOU will see their world expand as they become better-rounded from their experiences. And as parents, what more could we ask for??