Whether you are yearning for a city break packed with culture, an energetic adventure holiday or a relaxing beach holiday, a break away with your family is always going to be a good idea. Travel is good for the soul, a change of scenery gives your a real boost, and spending quality time together is second to none. The only problem can sometimes be in the logistics, as travelling with kids can be challenging at times. But have no fear as we have got your covered, as today we are sharing 8 tips for travelling with children.
Get the children involved in the holiday planning
The more involved your children feel in the holiday planning, the more they will understand what’s needed of them when you do travel. They are also more likely to be excited.
You can take this to whatever extent you want to, depending on the age of your child and how far you have already got with the planning. Whether you have chosen to go for a holiday to France, narrowed the options down only by holiday type or know that you want to visit a certain city, there will always be more decisions to make and your kids are likely to enjoy helping you to make them.
If you have only got dates in mind and a vague idea about your destination, then encourage your children to do some research into where they might like to go. If they are old enough, you could ask them to present you with a few facts about their options to help persuade you all where you should be going.
If you are clear on where you will go, they might be able to help you choose the resort that you stay at. If this is already organised, they can look at what’s available to do there, what day trips they might want to take and what they might need to pack to make the most of their time there.
There will always be a point at which your children can get involved with the planning so encourage them to do so. This can heighten the excitement and it can help to reduce anxiety in nervous travellers.
Choose a family friendly destination
Unless you are a regular traveller and very laid back, then it will probably be easiest for you all if you choose a family friendly destination.
You might want to first narrow it down by area and then look at individual resorts and hotels to find the most suitable holiday for you and your family.
It is worth checking out the children’s activities available, the kids club if you want to use one, and the food options. This should give you a clear idea on how family friendly the location is and whether it is going to be right for you.
Research activities and equipment needed
It is worth spending some time looking at what will be available for you all to do on your holiday. While you probably don’t want, or need, to plan a full itinerary, it can be a good idea to have a look at what will be there to do and what you might need to take or hire.
For example, you might spot that there are go karts available to hire at your campsite, a mini golf course and a large swimming complex. Look for additional charges and factor them in and ensure that you all have all you need to take advantage of the facilities.
If you are opting for an adventure holiday you will be expecting to need to pay for some activities and hire some equipment. Just build this all into the cost of your holiday.
Think of the irreplaceable when packing
There is a temptation when packing for a family holiday to take everything!
There are obvious things that you will need to pack, such as all clothing and toiletries, and you are unlikely to forget those. However, these are also the items that tend to be easy to replace, so if you haven’t enough tee shirts with you, grab one or two more from the shops when you are away. The same goes with swimming trunks, shampoo, flip flops and so on. If you have not got enough entertainment, again you can probably buy more books and games at your resort. So yes, aim to pack what you need, but you can relax knowing that a shortage here can easily be rectified.
When travelling with your children, you need to make sure that you don’t forget the irreplaceable. Many kids have something special that they like to sleep with each night, remember that. Some kids need certain medication, remember that. Some children like to have a specific book read to them each evening, remember that. These are the sorts of items that you put at the top of your packing list and tick off first.
Focus on the journey details
You will need to be absolutely clear on every aspect of your journey for everything to run smoothly. And even then, you are a parent, you know it will never all run smoothly! So this is where you prepare for eventualities.
Where possible, it is worth booking ahead, so get those flights arranged and book the seats so you are together and use transfer companies such as T&A Transfers to ensure a smooth transition from airport to resort without having to stress over it. When you have several sets of luggage and tired children, the last thing you need is to be at the airport trying to figure out how to make it to your hotel.
Ensure that you have every step of the way covered, from your front door to your hotel. Do allow plenty of time for traffic and hold-ups and the inevitable toilet and food stops that your children will always need. It is also worth taking an easy to grab a change of clothes for any mishaps along the way and packing extra snacks for potential delays.
Provide entertainment for the journey
If you are likely to be travelling for more than a couple of hours, it is worth providing some entertainment for the journey.
Many people choose to use tablets and films these days, which can work for you as long as your children don’t get travel sick looking at screens. If they do, you could try audiobooks, word games, and family singalongs.
On planes, trains, and ferries you tend to have more freedom to move around, so perhaps prepare a backpack full of goodies to surprise them with. Colouring and puzzle books go down well and small toys, books, and treats can all be used to fill it up and keep them busy.
If it is within your control, build in breaks and make stops at fun parks to allow everyone to stretch their legs, refuel and pop to the toilet.
Factor in arrival time and set expectations
Your children are likely to be really excited about going on holiday. They will want to know all of the details, but the ones uppermost in their minds will be about that very day.
They will wonder what time they will need to get up, will they have time for breakfast before travelling, who will pick them up? Where will they go then, how long will they be at the airport or in the car? When will they have lunch, where will that be and what will it be? When they get off the plane or out of the car, what will they do?
You can safely assume that any and all of these questions will be running through their heads. In order to prepare them and help them to travel comfortably, pre-empt as much of this as you can and explain to them all that the day will hold.
Let them know what they can expect and most importantly, let them know what they can and cannot do when they arrive. So many first day meltdowns can be avoided if the children know that they are not going to have time to get straight into the pool or visit the beach when stepping off that plane.
Set these expectations with them and reassure them they will get to do all that they want in good time.
Expect and accept hiccups
This is probably the most important advice of all.
When travelling things can often go awry, when travelling with children things will pretty much always go awry!
No matter how well you prepare, no matter how much research you do and how involved and onboard everybody is with the plans, something will probably go wrong. Hopefully it will just be a minor hiccup and you will soon be able to manage it and get around it.
As is often the case with these things, you are going to feel a lot better if you just roll with it and accept it. Try not to get stressed over it as you don’t want it to ruin your break.
Expect that something will happen, solve it as calmly and quickly as possible, and move on.