By Danielle Galvin
One of the most anxiety inducing tasks any parent can endure with children is hopping on an aeroplane, while mentally preparing for a long haul fight with a baby and toddler in tow.
The mad rush at the airport with baggage and strollers and hyped-up or over-tired kids can be stressful enough in itself, let alone the hours-long flight to look forward to with a child intent on making their presence known on a packed flight.
But well-travelled Monbulk mum of two Kristen Dias has come up with a business idea to take some of the stress out of plane travel.
Her start-up business, Travel Karma, includes educationally designed activity packs not only to keep kids busy while travelling but to keep them engaged and captivated.
The idea was born out of her own travel willingness and sense of adventure with her first child, Scarlett.
She travelled with her for the first time when she was only seven-weeks old, which would probably be a terrifying prospect for many first-time parents.
Kristen was a teacher for 10 years and has a Master of Education.
There are some similar ideas out there to hers, but Kristen has put a lot of thought into putting together different activities in each of the travel packs for kids. It includes activity ideas, craft materials, board games, colouring pages, puzzles, a travel journal, various bags of creative goodies, and more.
“I found heaps of websites with advice on how to put stuff together yourself, but none that was already done and put together,” she said.
“Everything has educational design behind it. I’ve thought about what will they learn when they do this or that.
“It’s all fine motor skills, creativity, learning colours or whatever the case may be.”
She didn’t just want to hand her daughter a box with a few stickers or pencils inside, she wanted to carefully craft and design activities to keep her engaged and learning something new.
And while originally the idea came from making travelling easier, she said it could be useful while eating out or at a wedding.
It’s another tool to keep the kids off their devices.
The Dias family certainly are well-travelled, flying to Perth, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Sydney the Gold Coast and India twice.
Each time she travels, Kristen picks up a new hack like always checking in with the flight attendant to ask if they have a spare snack or something for the kids.
She also said once you get on a plane, try and let the stress go, using the analogy that like labour at least it has an end point.
Kristen is big on being prepared and doing your research.
“As much stuff as you bring, even if you don’t use it, you feel prepared,” she said.
“It’s like your nappy bag – there’s so much stuff you almost never use, but that one day you need it it’s in there.
“Don’t listen to the people who say to give up.”
It’s that carefree attitude that’s helped her take the stress out of travel.