Family Travel Book Club >> Kids Yoga Stories

Family Travel Book Club

Welcome to the Multicultural Kid Blogs Travel Book Club.  For January and February, we are featuring Family on the Loose: The art of traveling with kids by Ashley Steel and Bill Richards.  Ashley is one of our MKB members, and each week, another blogger from our group will write about a chapter in the book.  The full schedule is available on the MKB website. It is my pleasure to tell you about Chapter Four.

As you may know, my husband, daughter, and I are currently living in the United States, but our families are in Canada and Australia.  Therefore, plane trips are an essential part of our expat family life to ensure that our daughter grows up knowing her family.

Besides that, my husband and I love traveling, and my yoga stories are based on my own travel experiences.  Even though our daughter has already been on many flights in her first two years, we are still in need of practical tips to making the journey more successful.  That’s exactly why Family on the Loose has become my go-to travel companion.

Travel Book Club

What I love about Family on the Loose:

  • practical, informative, straightforward, comprehensive, and thorough writing
  • reading it is like having a conversation with a friend about traveling
  • it takes a holistic and educational point of view toward traveling
  • the practical lists: first aid, day-pack contents, packing lists (including a visual one for children), carry-on luggage
  • the engaging activities: airport activities, in-flight quiet activities, and mealtime activities
  • the creative ideas: plane gifts for different age groups, travel bingo, country craft ideas, and make-your-own board game
  • the fun printouts: museum activity sheet, budget spreadsheet, city scavenger hunt, and travel journal pages
  • the useful tips: breastfeeding on the plane, Internet travel booking, planning timelines, and travel gear
  • the layout of the book with tips for before, during, and after your travels

Great stuff you’ll find in Chapter Four of Family on the Loose

Chapter Four is my favorite because it provides practical tips for pre-flight, the flight itself, and post-flight.

Before the flight:

Don’t miss the plane gift ideas broken down into age groups (ex. under 3’s, 3-6’s, and 6-9’s).  My favorites for our two-year-old daughter were Crayola Wonder markers and paper, stickers, masking tape, and animal cards.  The carry-on checklists for both child and parent are invaluable.  They’re great for double-checking what you’ve packed, because inevitably, there’s a mad rush to pack at the last minute.  Do you have things to do, extra clothing, water bottle, and snacks?

On the way to the airport, the book reminds us to take a deep breath and focus on being calm. Otherwise, our children will sense our nervous energy.  Being organized and thinking through every step of the check-in and security process will help avoid some upsets.  Ask for help when possible!

The book details twelve active activities for the airport.  My favorite, of course, is Number 6: Yoga poses!  For more information about yoga on the fly, read Travel Well: Family Yoga at the Airport.

During the flight:

This is the time to enjoy the plane gifts, making sure that you space out the goodies over the duration of the flight.  Plastic bags are useful to keep everything organized.  Check out the list of fourteen quiet plane activities, including an I Spy game, tic-tac-toe, mazes, and Mad Libs.  The book also recommends playing with plane photography and looking out the window to spot landmarks.

After the flight:

Highlighting the fact that everyone might be exhausted after a long plane trip, the book recommends taking your time through the arrival process.  Arrivals can be confusing, and we need to be sensitive to our children’s needs.  The book suggests taking a taxi to your hotel that you have booked at least for the first night.  Then you’re ready to enjoy the adventures of your travel together as a family.  As the authors say, “You have time with your kids to talk, play, cuddle, and enjoy.”

Where to get the book

Family on the Loose is available on Amazon.

MKB Travel Book Club

Don’t miss summaries and discussions about the rest of the chapters for this Travel Book Club.

These bloggers will be hosting the chapter discussions:

Share your ideas in the Multicultural Kid Blogs Google + Community.

Link up your travel stories in the linky below.

Follow the MKB Travel with Kids Board on Pinterest.

Do you have tips for plane travel with children?  Share your ideas in the comments below!

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14 Responses to Family Travel Book Club

  1. Jonathan January 23, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    I really agree with what you say about the practical nature of the book and general tone being great. With this chapter, I loved the way spending time at airports or on a plane was seen as an opportunity to do lots of little fun things rather than a major challenge.

  2. Jennifer Brunk January 23, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

    I thought this was a great chapter! As you mentioned, those check lists are the best. One great tip that I wish I had had when my kids were little was “tagging teddy”. I know people who make sure they have duplicates of the blankets or toys their kids get attached to, but for some reason my kids latched on to one-of-a-kind things. I remember a few desperate searches when they were left behind. A tag is a great idea!

    The one things that the authors did not mention (or maybe I missed it), and that my kids really depended on for travel, was music. With today’s technology, you can make playlists for quiet (plane) time and kids can listen with headphones as they play or fall asleep. Music is also a wonderful language activity to get kids thinking in the destination language before you get there. The best part about music and audio stories is that they take no space. Music is also a wonderful way to start connecting with local kids once you arrive – little ones jump into traditional children’s songs and with older kids it opens up the whole pop culture conversation. Plus, in my experience, music can calm or cheer up a travel weary child (or parent).

    Thanks for a fun post!

  3. Leanna @ Alldonemonkey January 23, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

    These are really great tips! I like the emphasis on being aware that your kids are sensitive to your emotions. This can be easy to forget when you are, ahem, arguing with the person at the ticket counter or the hotel, but kids really do follow our cues about how they should feel. And modeling calm can, of course, help us to be calm, too! Thanks for this great post!

  4. Cecy January 28, 2014 at 2:44 am #

    I wish I would have read this book before. Somehow my previous trips with the whole family have been pretty anecdotic, I still wonder if it was lack of planning or just life with small kids and a husband that hates flying. . I think the stress factor definitely did not help. We always were sure to bring their very special teddy or blanky but I never thought about tagging it. Our last trip was me and the girls, I was super nervous and my girls could sense it, my way back was better and I could tell the difference even in their behavior. Plastic bags are a must, I had a bad accident with one of my babies, and a plastic bag did the trick. The plastic bag was not brought by me, it was a very kind lady that gave me one.

  5. Ashley Steel January 30, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

    Our car died (the final kind of death) last week and I totally missed this most awesome post! We just got back from a long plane trip (right before the car died) and I felt fairly … well, proud… because our kids were good at plane travel. I never thought of it as a skill before but it sort of is. They know what to expect, they have some strategies for spending time alone in a chair, and they realize that they need to be respectful of everyone else on board. They have also learned to get excited about the little things on board – the EVA Hello Kitty Christmas Video (which almost killed me by the time they repeated it the 1000th time), congee for breakfast, free soda, “window” shopping at the SkyMall, old episodes of favorite TV shows etc. So each hard plane trip, makes the next one a little easier I think.

    I also have to reiterate the importance of always having ALOT of extra plastic bags. I don’t know how people traveled before plastic. Seriously! And when your kid throws up on you as you are boarding an international flight (yes – it happened) … you maybe have to give a little extra thanks for everyone around you who also has plastic bags in their carry on.

    Thanks for the review and comments!

  6. Bill Richards February 1, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

    On our last family trip to Thailand we spent some time transiting through the Taipei airport and found that each gate in the our terminal had a theme. There was the postal service gate where you could write a postcard, a forest ecology lounge with massage chairs, a river ecology lounge with beautiful pictures of Taiwanese scenery, and a library gate where we were encouraged to read. We went from one end of the terminal to the other just to check out the themes. Our flight left from the Hello Kitty gate, which might have been great if our kids were a little younger, but we all enjoyed the idea of making an airport more than just a waiting room with a big shopping mall. Thank you for leading the discussion on our book chapter!

  7. Kids Yoga Stories LLC February 2, 2014 at 12:25 am #

    Thank you all for your amazing contributions! It’s so encouraging to know that there are families all over the world going through similar challenges and excitements as we cross borders. All for the sake of creating adventures for our children. Thank you for the reminders of keeping positive and accepting the “now”, which might be a lot different than the “later”. Thanks again to Bill and Ashley for a fabulous book. A great read! 🙂
    Giselle

  8. Frances February 6, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

    Great post Giselle! I love the idea for the quite plane games. My 5 yr. old is a pretty active little boy, and needs to be kept busy at all times. In the past we’ve also brought with us DVD player, and movies… but that’s just another bag to carry! I have to step up to my game in our next trip. Thank you!

  9. Becky February 28, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    I think one reason parents don’t travel (besides $$ and not enough time:) is that they are intimidated by “getting there.” I Loved this chapter too when I read it because it breaks it down into manageable chunks, and gives you the encouragement to plan ahead and make it happen. I would add that having a sense of humor and *trying* to be a little laid back helps exponentially.

    I was once traveling by myself to Mexico with 4 kids 6 and under. I had filled out ALL of the immigration/customs forms with the only writing utensil I could find- a pencil. My kids were this close to having a meltdown, and I get to the front of the line and they asked me to go back and do it again with pen. It was either laugh or cry at that point, so we went back to the end of the long line, I sat on the gross floor with kids hanging all over me and I filled it out all the papers again with pen. We snuggled and moved up in the line and finally made it through:).

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