Travelling with kids will always be a bit daunting, no matter how many times you’ve done it. Whether you’re embarking on an overseas vacation, an extended road trip, or a family cruise, it’s important to be as prepared as possible. To help you make the journey as smooth sailing as possible, we get some first-hand advice from guest writer and globetrotting mother, Harper Reid.
1. Choose Your Destination Wisely
When travelling with little ones, it’s important to do extra research about the place you are visiting. Is there family-friendly accommodation available? What are the restaurants like in the area? Are they appropriate for young kids or toddlers? What activities are on offer? These are several key things to consider when choosing your destination and planning a kid-friendly itinerary that is suitable for the whole family.
2. Plan Some Road Trip Games
If you’re travelling by car, the first thing to do is to get your vehicle thoroughly checked. Make sure it’s safe and well-equipped to drive for the long journey, so that you don’t run into any unwanted problems. In case something does go unexpectedly wrong with your vehicle, keep your car stocked with plenty of water, jumper cables, a flashlight, spare tires, and an extra battery.
It’s also a good idea to plan some fun road trip games to keep the kids entertained and help make the time go faster. Playing simple games like “I spy” and going through the alphabet and getting everyone to come up with the name of a country starting with that letter, then an animal etc, are always fun. You can also give the kids a piece of paper and a pen each and get them to choose what they are going to count and see who gets the most. You don’t want them staring at their electronic screens for the entire car ride, as this can make them car sick, so games that involve looking out of the window are helpful.
3. Pack Some Healthy Snacks
Whatever you do, don’t forget the snacks. Pack some healthy, yet tasty, snacks that your kids will enjoy while you are on the road, such as crackers, fruit pieces, carrot and celery sticks, small bread buns, and cheese. This will save you from having to stop at fast food drive-throughs and expensive gas stations. If you are catching a flight, try and buy some healthy treats in the airport before you take off, that way you have a good back up plan if the plane food isn’t up to scratch and the kids don’t like it.
4. Prepare To Take Off
Speaking of flying, this can be a nerve-wracking experience for children, especially if they have never flown before. If your child has never been on a plane before, it’s important to prepare them for what to expect. Talk to your child before the flight, describe the experience of checking in to security, boarding the plane, and what it’s actually like to fly. Tell them about sleeping arrangements, in-flight meals, and what entertainment will be available (or not available). It is also very likely that your child will get bored and restless at some point during the flight, no matter how old they are. Make sure to pack some of their favourite items, electronics, or toys to keep them entertained.
Flying with babies or toddlers is a whole different story, as you never know how they are going to react. Preparation is key to staying calm and free of stress when flying with toddlers. Put together a well-organised bag of everything your baby might need, including extra layers of clothing, familiar toys or teddies to comfort them, and of course, the essentials like baby wipes, spare pacifiers, and extra diapers.
5. Don’t Rock The Boat
Travelling by sea is a lot of fun, but there are many things you need to look out for before making the decision to join a cruise or catch a ferry. Is your chosen boat company family friendly? Do they provide onboard facilities for kids, like baby changing stations or play areas? Once you’ve found the best option for your family, make sure to be well prepared with lots of sunscreen for excursions on deck. If you’re going on a prolonged cruise, you might also want to bring a health kit stocked with band-aids, insect repellent, pain relief, sea-sickness aid, or any required medications. Of course, you’ll be careful not to have any accidents – but it’s always best to be prepared at all times.
About the Writer
Based in the beautiful city of sails – Auckland, New Zealand – Harper has written articles on travel (her favourite!), lifestyle, career, and business topics. She has enjoyed the opportunity to work with local businesses that she personally supports. Head on over to Tumblr to know more about her.