Tips For Travelling With Kids – The Essential Guide
Travelling with kids can be a total nightmare or a walk in the park. Preparation is definitely the key to drama-free travelling.
Under 10 Minutes, When Travelling With Kids? Not A Chance
So you’re hitting the road for an impromptu trip or a holiday that has been planned for months? Preparing well for car, rail or aeroplane travel when you have small people in-tow, is vital if you want a stress-free trip. Gone are the days when you can simply pack up your backpack or handbag, in under 10 minutes, with only life’s essentials such as your passport, money, toiletries, phone, earphones and book. Of course, you’ll still need all that stuff, but you’ll need a lot more if you’re going to have happy kids and a nightmare-free journey.
Tips For Travelling With Kids Looked Very Different Before The Pre-Mobile Phone Era
Back in the day when wi-fi didn’t exist, and mobile phones could only call and text, preparing for a journey with toddlers meant that entertainment was not readily available on a screen. You had to pack colouring books and pencils, travel games, reading books and more. You needed enough to rotate over the hours so that your little one did not turn into a monster because of mind-numbing boredom.
Nowadays, most people prepare ‘phones or iPads as sources of entertainment, making sure that there are enough videos/games downloaded to see the kids through the journey. This is great, and I am the first to make use of modern technology, but too much screen time can cause little ones to become totally overstimulated creating the kind of meltdown you don’t want to happen at 35,000 feet above the Alps. Best to add in a variety of non-screen activities your child likes and to eke them out over the travel time.
The Practical Tips When Travelling With Kids
The bag you pack for your child should, therefore, have enough activities to keep them out of mischief. But what about the practical items you might need? Here’s a good list of things to consider:
- Change of clothes (including layers and warm socks)
- Water bottle
- Comforter (favourite teddy bear/soft toy/dummy/blanket)
- Nappies/underwear/travel changing mat if appropriate
- Ready-made baby formula/bottles if appropriate
- Baby wipes/muslin cloths/tissues
- Calpol/ Ibuprofen sachets and spoon/plastic syringe and any other medicines
- Little first aid kit for any bumps or scrapes
I’d also recommend packing one bag for all your kid’s travel needs. It’s a cute idea to give them their own little bag or case to carry. But I guarantee you’ll end up lugging it around for them. So leave it at home, it’s easier to have one bag to take, than two or three or more. Also, the more bags you have to keep track of, the easier it is to lose one; and it’s every parent’s nightmare to lose ‘Bunny the Rabbit’ or ‘blankie.’
If you are travelling by ‘plane, and your kids are old enough, a top tip is to take lollipops for taking off and landing. They’re handy for keeping the children calm and helping to banish any earaches they might get. I would not, otherwise, overdo the use of sweeties for keeping them occupied. You’ll end up regretting the miss-use of chocolate when the sugar rush hits and you’re doing 130 km/h in the outside lane of the A10 in France or sat next to the grumpy guy on the coach. If you can, aim to eat regular meals and pack fruit, sandwiches and healthy snacks. Although that doesn’t mean you can’t have your airport breakfast beer if you want to!
If There Is Only One Thing You Remember
Finally, it’s good to remember that everything takes so much longer with small people.
Ushering the kids through airport terminals, up and down escalators and moving walkways takes double or triple the time. Then there are the bathroom stops to consider, wrangling of pushchairs and dealing with tired little legs. While us adults can move quickly and grab food on the go, the same cannot be said for our 3-year-olds. So factoring in a lot of extra time is sensible. There’s nothing worse than trying to leg it with your brood to get to the last gate call or to the bus stop on time, with everyone crying. Definitely a scenario to avoid.
By thoughtfully preparing everything in advance not only will your children have a stress-free trip but so will you; ready to start the weekend or holiday relaxed, happy and raring to go.