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.
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.
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:
Chapter 1 and 2: Dads the Way I Like It – Jan. 9
Chapter 3: Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes – Jan. 16
Chapter 4: Kids Yoga Stories – Jan. 23
Chapter 5: MarocMama – Jan. 30
Chapter 6: Spanglish House – Feb. 6
Chapter 7: Spanish Playground – Feb.13
Chapter 8: The European Mama – Feb. 20
Chapter 9: Kid World Citizen – Feb. 27
Q & A with Ashley Steel: Chasing the Donkey – March 6
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