It’s never easy traveling with toddlers but it’s especially harder when it’s during a pandemic (covid).
This article is specially written for those parents who are traveling to Pakistan from abroad with small children (0-7). My daughter is 2 and I’ve come to Pakistan for the first time with her. I really hope you find these tips useful. They were mostly given to me by the experienced ones and I’m sharing them with you after successfully trying them out. Sharing some tips that have helped me keep her safe in Pakistan (with Allah’s help):
Every country has a different set of vaccinations that are given to all babies born there. When we are traveling to Pakistan, we must educate ourselves on the main popular illnesses there, their vaccinations, precautions & medicines so we can prevent them.
We booked an appointment with LifeMark, a travel clinic in Halifax, Canada that updated us on all major illnesses in Pakistan and their details. The following were the most popular diseases:
- Hep A
- Dengue fever
After the session, we decided to opt for Hep A vaccination for Nyra. The first shot was given before traveling and the last one is required after 6 months. Regarding Dengue fever, we decided to use mosquito repellant and covered clothing towards the end of the day.
- Frequent handwashing & sanitizing is vital. I wash Nyras hands many times a day esp before all meals/snacks, after all outings & after she touches pets. If not possible, then wipes/sanitize.
- Bath every other day is important so the whole body can be washed with a soap properly. But if you ever see a sign of being unwell (leaky nose, fever etc), then no bath that day. Using warm wet towels is a good idea in those days.
- Even if it seems like no one else is wearing masks in Pakistan, it is vital to wear them to all places (especially indoors) where there is a risk of coming close to others. In Canada, it is mandatory for people to wear masks after age 2. In Pakistan, its common for adults to say ‘our kids don’t wear masks’. We must keep trying and explain to them nicely why must always wear masks when we are surrounded with people in public places like parks. I think if we explain to them nicely and are consistent, they obey.
- Always prefer outdoor to indoor. Meet less people. Stay far away – as much as possible.
- I use Aquafina bottled water (heard its better than Nestle) to wash Nyras face, brush her teeth & for rinsing her bottles/soothers (after they have been properly washed with dishsoap & tapwater). In case you can’t afford it, then try boiling filtered water for over 25 minutes after first boil (to make it fully safe). My sister gave me this tip and I think its great for kids who are traveling from abroad to protect them from contaminated water intake & I’ve found it very effective too.
- When Nyra takes a bath, I wash her face with Aquafina water and then put a clean soother in her mouth. This is to reduce the chances of her drinking any contaminated bath water.
- Nyra takes probiotics with something cold daily (or 3 times a week). If you buy it from abroad, you can get Culturel probiotic. If in Pakistan, then the following are recommended by a pediatrician: Enterogermina, Enflor, Hidrasec. I’ve tried these first 2 throughout the trip and had a good experience. These can be used as a diarhea prevention (probiotics) and can be continued in case a child gets diarhea. You may discuss a doc for further queries.
- During diarhea, it is important for kids to have Pedialyte. If they don’t like one flavour, different flavours can be tried.
- Dengue fever is a deadly disease in Pakistan. Here are more details.
- We always apply insect repellent when we go outdoors in the evening/night. I use this spray by off and highly recommend it. You can find any insect repellent spray and keep it with you at all times in your bag.
- Best to wear full-sleeved clothes in the evening/night to avoid mosquito bites too.
Jet-lag & sleep issues
I consulted a pediatrician and found out that it’s perfectly safe to use melatonin for kids (around 2 years) if their sleep has been affected by flights/jetlag etc. I have also found it to be very helpful when I can’t sleep. I’m sharing the photo of the bottle (liquid melatonin) that I use along with the direction from my cousin pediatrician for Nyra: “You can start by giving her 0.5mls which is 1.5mg. If she doesn’t sleep within 45 mins. Giver her another 0.5mls. But hopefully, with 0.5mls she will be asleep. Also, encourage sleep hygiene. It really works wonders.
Packing from abroad
When packing from abroad, the following things are recommended:
- Tylenol (fever/cold/cough medicine)
- Benedryl (allergy/itch/runny nose medicine)
- Culturel Probiotic (probiotic to keep tummy well)
- Pedialyte (in case of diarhea. Available in Pakistan but berry type special flavours can be brought)
- Off insect repellent spray (this really helps keep all those nasty mossquitos away)
- Sunblock spray
- Melatonin liquid (to regulate sleep around traveling)
- A good multivitamin for your child & yourself for the trip
- A covid hat (I bought the following from amazon) for when they refuse to wear masks. Unfortunately nyra refused to wear this too.
- Handy sanitizers hanging from your bags. They’re the easiest to use and so accessible all the time.
Our travel time was 30 & 65 hours respectively and I was traveling with her in a plane for the very first time. So naturally, I was very nervous. Because of that, I prepared quite well. Thank God she behaved really well throughout. Following are some points that could help you:
- It is best to keep a small/light traveling stroller with you in hand-carry. As you can see in this video, I had a major problem at Doha and Islamabad airports where I had to walk so much with my handcarry luggage and my child. Then I found a cart and let Nyra sit in there (as shown in next photo). Despite promising, the airline couldn’t give me any stroller. It became a nightmare for me. On the way back, I had got this travel stroller & loved its convenience. Highly recommended.
- Ideas to keep your toddler busy while traveling:
- Paper dolls (I made some for her here)
- Crayons & paper
- Stuffed toys
- Other small toys (dog, cat etc)
- Play Doh
- Paper folding activity games
- Different snacks (chrisps, biscuits, lollipop, candy, etc)
- Gadgets: In-flight entertainment, kids apps on your mobile, kids programs downloaded on your laptop/phone from netflix/prime/youtube.
- Milk: I kept 2 milk bottles for her that I would wash at every airport. Kept hunting for milk for Nyra in planes and airports. Most planes had it but most airports didn’t. I had tried powdered milk earlier and she didn’t like it; otherwise thats a good option for traveling, where you can easily buy bottled water to add in bottles with powdered milk.
- Play areas: Many airports have play-areas for kids. These are great and must be researched before you travel so you know where to find them. They were great in my experience as they got Nyra tired and she slept well in planes.
Fav Baby products in Pakistan
- This travel stroller has to be my most favourite thing throughout the journey-back.
- I found Molfix pull-up diapers to be great for my 2-year-old. They are easily available in Islamabad.
- I love getting Nestle Cerelac for her breakfast. She really enjoys it too.
- Nyra loved Nestle Milkpak milk from the beginnning so we’ve been using that. Tried Prema milk in the end (wish had started earlier) as its really the best. Heard its yogurt is great too but Nyra refused it because of its strong taste.
I have friends who don’t plan to go to Pakistan, only because it’s harder with kids and because they’re scared kids will get sick. Please don’t let your kids miss out on this golden opportunity of going and meeting their extended family/grandparents. It is really a great learning opportunity for them and they really enjoy it too. What we can do is prepare for the trip well so we don’t have to worry about kids getting sick. That way we all can enjoy the journey.
If you feel I missed something else, please feel free to comment below. If this post was useful for you, please don’t forget to let me know. Best of luck for traveling to Pakistan with your kids.
Thank u. Really helpful.
Hi this is zaineb i had messaged u on insta and u gave me detailed information via voice notes i m so so thankful to u it helped ease my anxiety greatly i still have a week in my travel date and i m doing everything u shared thank u so so so much
You are most welcome. so glad it helped. Wish you a lovely trip.
I am traveling to pak next month with 8 months old baby i am excited and confuse also about his milk and all the plane journey i dont know how he will behave can you please give me some suggestions about traveling thanks
Oh hope you got some tips from this article. best of luck