Do your children look this relaxed on their travels?
No? Do you want them to look this relaxed on your holiday?
Well look no further!
There are many ways to ensure that both you and your little ones have a pleasant or at least bearable vacation as well as their fellow-travellers. Here are a few tips to hopefully ensure a smooth and happy trip. Of course this is not exhaustive and if you have a miracle working suggestion please by all means add it on the comments below! Who knows – you may have the suggestion that works on for a frazzled parent who has tried everything else!
1. PLAN! PLAN! PLAN!
Planning ahead can save you and your child a lot of heartache and unnecessary stress. Use stopover transits to stretch the legs and use up some pent-up energy. Don’t be scared to book longer stopovers to allow time to get to your next gate with time for toilet stops and eating. Perhaps play a game or two to alleviate any stress or boredom.
It also pays to book ahead when traveling with children rather than playing it by ear. The last thing you want when you arrive at your destination tired and hungry is to have to try to find a hotel that can fit you all in or worst case find out that your chosen destination isn’t suitable for children.
2. HAVE A BACK UP PLAN
What are you going to do if your flight is delayed? Do you have a contingency plan in place if the ferries or trains suddenly go on strike? Researching your transit destinations may relieve some stress of not knowing what is around if you do have to kill some time due to unexpected delays.
3. BE PREPARED FOR YOUR DESTINATION
Make sure you research the type of climate you are traveling to. Will it be cold or hot? Is it likely to rain? Pack according to the expected weather and the type of environment you are holidaying in. Pack the beach or reef shoes if you are heading to a beach to protect little feet! If you are heading to the snow make sure you have suitable and well fitting gear for the children so they are comfortable. Comfy kids make happy kids!
4. PACK A SURPRISE!
Kids LOVE surprises! Pack a special travel pack full of surprises for those times when other distractions are just not working! Make sure it is something they don’t already have and don’t let them have it all at once. Spread out the surprises to make it last. You could even use it as a reward for good behavior on the plane or train. Some good suggestions would be a new book, coloring book and crayons, magic markers, maybe a puzzle game for older children, a new soft toy etc.
You could also get them a disposable camera for them to take some holiday pics with. They will love getting them developed and you may find some really interesting mementos! Click on the links below for some great ideas!
5. DON’T FORGET THE SNACKS!
A hungry child can turn the start of a lovely vacation into your worst nightmare really fast! Make sure you pack some good healthy snacks to stave off the hunger monsters. Just remember to check airline and country of destination regulations to make sure you are not breaking any rules or customs violations with your snack stash. Remember that most airline regulations don’t allow liquids over 100ml. Baby formula is excluded from the restrictions in most cases.
6. GET THEM INVOLVED
Let the children help make the decisions on what to do and where to go. This will start to get them excited about the trip and give them a vested interest in what is happening. This can also teach them organizational skills in making sure everything fits into the schedule. It also means they will be able to do some things they want to do. You may be surprised at some of their suggestions!
7. KEEP THEM SAFE
If you are holidaying in a busy tourist area or attraction it pays to have some sensible safety options in case your child gets separated from you. There are a couple of suggestions to aid in the speedy return of your little adventurer!
- Use a location tag device such as a GPS tracker.
- Try a Universal Tag System such as pickles.pro tags. These tags can be attached to a wrist band, back pack, carabiner etc and basically all the finder needs to do is scan the QR code and it automatically sends you a sms or an email. You can then send them a message straight away to advise your location.
- Write your cell number on their arm. A simple but easy option.
- For older children set a meeting point so if you get separated you can meet up at the chosen point. This is especially useful at theme parks or a shopping mall.
8. THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU SHOULD PACK
Depending on your destination you may be better off with a stroller as opposed to a baby carriage or a baby sling. Check the destination first as you may find it easier to pop baby into a sling if the streets are cobbled. Similarly, if you are going to be doing a bit of walking you may find it easier with a stroller than a baby carriage. Of course this will depend on what your baby is used to. Strollers are quite versatile and a good lightweight one can be a godsend.
Don’t over pack as usually on a flight an infant does not get the same luggage allowance as an adult or full child fare. So you need to be smart. Remember a nappy bag is also classified as carry on luggage and normally you are only allowed one piece. Packing Cubes will be a big help here. Check out my review here.
9. AIRCRAFT SEATING
If your family adventure involves a long distance flight then you will need to consider where on the aircraft you need to sit. As most airlines these days now like to charge for seating it means you can prepay for your preferred seats at the time of booking. The earlier you book the more options you will have.
Some airlines such as Air New Zealand and China Airlines offer the SkyCouch. This is a revolution in economy class seating and is an absolute godsend for families. How it works is you purchase a whole row of seats and once in the air the seats can be converted into a couch by pulling up the foot rest. You get a mattress and duvet and comfy pillows to use. This means your little ones can lay down and have a decent sleep! If there are three of you in the row it is a really cheap option – prices start from $200. Please note that sometimes there is a blackout period where purchase of the skycouch is restricted.
Check with your travel agent for the best options to suit you.
10. DON’T FORGET TO HAVE FUN!
Making memories is what a vacation is all about! Don’t sweat the small stuff. So what if junior is an hour late for bedtime – sleep in! Who cares if they only want to wear their favorite t shirt to Disneyland? Does it really matter that they have not eaten veges for two days? As long as they are safe and happy let things happen. After all – that is how we create the magical memories that will be talked about for decades to come. Your children will thank you for letting them be a bit independent.
I hope you enjoyed my post and if you have anything you would like to add please comment below and share your knowledge with our readers.
Finally – I have found a really great blog that has even more fantastic tips on how to travel with kids and survive! Check it out below: