Having just come back from our first holiday as a family of 4 the travel experience is still very fresh in my memory so I thought I would put together some hints and tips for travelling with kiddies, in my case ranging from 4 months to 11 years! Travelling with children can be a nerve-wracking and extremely stressful experience so hopefully some of these tips might come in handy. I also put together some of my travel essentials for the kids while on holiday in sunnier climates!
Take your time
Whatever your mode of transport, the best thing you can take with you when you’re travelling is extra time. Kids don’t tend to understand the time pressures that come with travelling and so you’re much more likely to keep your cool if you factor in the snack breaks and toilet stops into your timeframe.
At the Airport
If your kids are flying for the first time, explain the security screening process before you arrive at the airport and be ready to go through the X-ray machine. If there is a family lane, use it!
Pack as much baby food and snacks, breast milk and formula as you need for the flight. Cans, jars and pouches under 100mls are permitted on board by most airlines but always double check before flying. Our yummy wafer wisps and coconut squishies are a perfect travel snack as they are compact and under 100ml, so I had plenty of those stashed in my hand luggage!
Check your passports
Childhood passports only last five years and have a stinking habit of running out when you’re not looking. Check passport expiry dates well in advance of your trip and allow at least 4-6 weeks to renew.
Bust the boredom
To try and avoid the dreaded “are we there yet?” questions make sure to pack some lightweight activity books such as sticker and activity books. These can provide endless hours to amusement. I also find a compact game, such as snap, is also good to keep little minds amused.
Don’t forget the medical bag
Whether they are out of routine, hot and bothered, eating less or drinking bucket loads of pool water, kids always seem to get ill on holiday! Which we all know is never ideal but you can at least plan for it, sort of! Pack a small thermometer, plasters, antibacterial wipes, insect spray, and I swear by calpol sachets, they are so handy, can be packed in hand luggage and were a life saver for us on our trip with a teething 4 month old!
What to wear
If you’re off to sunnier climates, choose clothing made from natural fibres, such as cotton. Sweat can irritate delicate skin, resulting in sweat rash or prickly heat. Children are likely to need two sets of clothes per day and sunhats with wide brims and neck flaps are a must.
Don’t forget to drink
Children are prone to dehydration, which can then lead to constipation, as they don’t normally drink unless they feel thirsty. Ensure they drink plenty of water (stick to bottled if you’re unsure if the local supply is safe to drink), and check their urine from time to time – if it’s darker, cloudy or smells stronger than usual, ensure they drink more.
Giving kids their own (child-friendly) camera encourages them to observe their surroundings and focus on what interests them. Aside from taking pictures, there are lots of ways they can preserve memories of your travels, including keeping a travel journal with drawings and lists of things they have seen and eaten, collecting ticket stubs, badges and even postcards.