Practical Tips for Travelling with Children
Travelling with children can be daunting, challenging, and unexpected. However, if planned correctly, it can also be an incredibly fun opportunity for your children to explore the world and for your family to bond. This is why it’s so important to think strategically and plan ahead when making arrangements for your family’s next vacation. To help with this, we’ve compiled below a list of practical tips for travelling with children. If put into action, these tips will ensure that both you and your children enjoy your next travel destination to the fullest!
1. Plan Ahead When Booking Your Travel
The more you can plan ahead, the less you’ll have to worry about when you’re on vacation. This obviously applies to your flights and hotels, but you should also be thinking ahead and making arrangements for things like airport and hotel transfers, tours and/or activities, and even dinner reservations. If you have it all planned out ahead of time, you can properly prepare yourself and your kids for whatever may come next.
As you make these arrangements, be sure to also keep your kid’s needs in mind. For example, when booking your flights, give yourself long layovers so you have more time to get the kids from one terminal to the next. Be sure to factor in bathroom breaks, and snack time, and be prepared for a generally slower-paced walk – you’ll have your kids, the luggage, and maybe even a stroller, it’s definitely going to take longer than you think to get your next flight.
When it comes to planning activities, be sure that you don’t overbook your days. Your kids, especially if you’re travelling with young ones, will need some downtime throughout the day, and chances are you’ll appreciate the break as well. For those activities that you do decide to attend, see if you can obtain “skip the line” tickets, this will not only save you time but will also keep your kids engaged and entertained, something that can be hard to achieve when you’re simply waiting in line.
2. Pack Light, Pack Smart
Chances are you’re already going to be carrying your children, so the last thing that you’ll want on top of that is a heavy suitcase to lug around as well. When it comes to packing for your kids, keep it as light as you can. You don’t need to bring everything with you, only pick the essentials that you know you can’t live without. And, once you get to your destination, if you realize you need something that you forgot or overlooked, you can always purchase it there. Most destinations will have stores or shops available that are stocked with all the travel essential items that you may need.
When it comes to clothes, choose items that you can mix and match. This will reduce the number of clothes you have to bring for your kids, as you’ll be able to get multiple uses out of each item. If you’re worried about your kids staining or spilling things on themselves, make use of your hotel’s laundry services. Depending upon where you are staying, you should be able to find a coin-operated washer and dryer in your hotel, or, as a more convenient option, the hotel may offer in-house laundry services, where they wash and dry your clothes for you!
3. Bring Snacks
Kids are constantly growing, which means they’re hungry pretty much all of the time! And the last thing you want is to wind up in a situation where you have a hungry, upset child and no snacks on hand. So even though it’s essential to pack light, don’t skip on the snacks. Bring them on the plane with you, take them with you when you go out on tours, and have them on hand when you’re transiting to and from your hotel – no matter where you are, always have a snack on hand in the event of a hunger emergency!
4. Travel with Some Form of Entertainment
There will come a time, either at the airport, on the plane, on a bus, train or taxi, when your kids will need some form of entertainment to keep them preoccupied. Without one, they are likely to get bored, and boredom usually leads to some form of trouble. To prevent this, be sure to always travel with something that you know will keep your kids entertained. This could be a personal electronic device, such as a phone, tablet or handheld gaming system, or it could be small toys and books. It really depends on your child’s interests and age, so you’ll need to look at your specific situation and decide what will work best for you and your family.
5. Talk to Your Children
Travelling can be pretty scary for kids, especially if it’s their first time doing it. So it’s best to talk with your children ahead of time and explain to them what’s about to happen. You can share the itinerary, speak with them about the different modes of transportation you’ll be taking, and explain how they should act in different situations. It’s also important to give them the opportunity to express their fears, and even suggest ideas and offer input on the trip that your family has planned. Not only with this ease their concerns about the uncertainties of travelling, but it’ll also give them something to look forward to.
6. Make Sure Your Children Know How to Contact You
Losing track of a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. And while we all hope it never happens to us, we still need to be prepared, in case the time comes when we are separated from our children – and this is especially true when travelling. To prepare for this worst-case scenario, your children must always know how to contact you. If they’re old enough to have a phone, double-check and make sure they have your number and give them the name and number of the hotel that you’ll be staying at. If they’re younger, you can always write your contact information on a note and leave it in a pocket, tie it to a belt loop or even stick it in a shoe – be creative and attach it to them any way you can. The important thing here is that they know how to contact you, in the event that you are separated from them!
7. Stay Calm & Remain Flexible
This is probably the best piece of advice that we can offer you – stay calm and remain flexible! Chances are things will not always go as planned, and that’s okay. Once you accept this and learn to go with the flow, you’ll find that you and your children will have a much more enjoyable vacation, despite the bumps and hiccups that may arise along the way!