Travelling with kids can be daunting, especially if there are long flights and time zone changes involved. We’ve got ten helpful tips below which we hope will encourage you to take the plunge and get out to explore the world with your brood.
1. Fly At Night
When it comes to flying, it’s best to travel in the evening to make it smoother for all involved. After you get through security, get the kids into their pyjamas, brush their teeth and let them know it’s bedtime. If all goes well they will drop off quite quickly after the excitement of take off (we hope, we pray!) meaning you can get some shut eye yourself.
2. Leave An Extra Hour.. or Five
We all know how difficult it can be to get out of the house on time with young children. And chances are leaving to go on holiday will take ten times as long! Set off even earlier than you think you need to anticipate any traffic jams and toilet stops. The last thing you want is to be rushing to make your flight. If you arrive at the airport super early, then you needn’t worry about them being bored. There will be lots of cafes and shops to explore, and watching the planes take off is a failsafe game to keep all ages entertained.
3. Announce Your Arrival
Let everyone involved in your holiday know in advance that you are travelling with young children, and see if there are any special services they can offer. Many airlines can offer “meet and assist” services. Transfer companies may let you skip the queue and hotels could offer speedy check in – it’s always worth asking. This is a simple tip that lots of families forget when travelling with kids.
4. Involve The Kids
Children like to know what’s coming in order to feel secure, so make sure you explain the journey to them ahead of the day, especially if it’s their first time flying. Make sure you include the car journey, the transfer bus and so on – make it sound adventurous and fun! Continue their participation when planning your days whilst on holiday -children love being given a choice (or the illusion of one!) so offer two places for lunch and let them decide which one you go to. Happy faces all round.
5. Make a Goody Bag
A surprise goody bag for long journeys can be a lifesaver for keeping little ones quiet. Simply fill a party bag with a small toy, a colouring book (we love these fab ones from Kiddy Charts), and a little picnic of healthy snacks and a drink. Then watch their delight as they see what’s inside! Travelling with kids will never the same again.
6. Go Big or Go Home
On the luggage front, this is not the time to pack light! Don’t skimp on things you think you may be able to buy there and risk a meltdown – take their favourite bath toy, pillow or storybook… you will be thankful you did when they are tired and need some home comforts.
P.S. – You can never have too many snacks, drinks or wet wipes.
7. Take It Slow
Make sure you factor in regular breaks, both during the journey and whilst on holiday. We sometimes forget that children tire quicker than us. Don’t try to see all the sights in one day…they will still be there tomorrow. Take a break in a cafe, sit and enjoy the view, or even return to the hotel for a family siesta. You might be surprised that you needed it too!
8. Keep Routine
Of course holidays are for doing things outside of your usual daily life, but when it comes to young children, it is wise to keep some semblance of routine. So while they may stay up later in the evening, make sure you still do bath time, or stories, or songs before bed – whatever it is that you do at home that will make your child feel secure and settled. If you do these same things each day, even if it’s at a different time, your little ones will quickly adjust.
9. Make Flying Fun Again
As adults we have become accustomed to rushing through the airport in eagerness to get to our destination, but for most children it is hugely exciting! Make the journey part of the adventure, rather than a chore. Arm yourself with some fun facts about pilots, airplanes, airports and passports. You know they will have a lot of questions: that’s the beauty when you are travelling with your kids.
10. Make Memories
Whilst on holiday, at the end of each day, encourage your child to create a scrapbook, draw a picture or simply talk through with you what their favourite part of the day has been – a mindfulness trick which works a treat for adults too. Writing this down can help you express your gratitude for being able travel with your family, and make wonderful memories along the way.
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