Are you dreading your next family holiday because you’re unsure how your little ones will travel? Don’t delay – book that trip as we have complied our top family travel tips to help you travel like a pro!
Pack Smart – take only what you need
Be conscious of space and weight restrictions. Pack as little as you can. You do not need your whole wardrobe, but make sure you are prepared for all weather conditions. Choose practical play clothes for your little ones, steer clear of light colours that show the dirt and make sure everything can be mixed and matched. Leave the pyjamas at home, simply put the kids to bed in a clean set of clothes ready for the next day.
If you are heading to an outdoor location try to keep toys to a minimum, as you will find Mother Nature will provide the best entertainment for your little ones. If you have the space a few must have travel toys are lego/duplo, colouring pencils, watercolour paints and paper plus a few small books. A Dvd player or iPad are always winners too.
Include The Kids
Show them on a map or brochure where you are going and explain what will be there so they know what to expect. Let them help you pack a few toys, pick some clothes and their tooth brush. When possible let the kids choose activities or outings during your travels so they feel a part of your adventure.
Snacks And Activities
Most travel has an element of waiting or having to sit still which is not easy when you have excited or tired kids. Pack loads of small games and toys. Plasticine/play dough, stickers, puzzles, drawing, anything to keep little hands busy. On long trips you could bring along a blow up neck pillow and their favourite teddy to help encourage them to sleep. We also like to pack a lot of snacks as our kids love to eat, even more so when they are bored!! Need some travelling food ideas? You may want to read our Healthy Food Ideas for Travelling with Kids article.
Embrace Slow Travel And Be Realistic
Travelling with kids is very different to travelling alone or as a couple. You will have to slow it down a little and stop and smell the roses, pick them… and maybe even make a fairy garden with them. Remember that everything is new and exciting for your little adventurers and it’s not just about your destination but all the fun activities you can do along the way.
Know Your Limits
Keep in mind your child’s limits eg how long they can walk, sit still, or stay outside in the heat and cold for. Travelling as a family always takes longer with more pit stops needed in between destinations. Exploring a city all day will perhaps not be possible so make sure you prioritise and include rest periods. Depending on the location, we like to travel with a fold up pram or a baby carrier/sling so the kids can rest while we are on the go if needed.
Don’t Be Shy – Chat To The Locals
If we spot a local park or play equipment while travelling we stop for the kids to have a quick play. These little stops often lead to us chatting to other parents who are locals or fellow travellers. These conversations can lead to some great insider family friendly tips on local hot spots, or unique activities that we should do in that region.
Safety And Child Proofing
When you walk into a new room do a quick safety scan, is there anything that can break and can anything hurt the kids? Does your hotel room have a high balcony, maybe you need to remove the chairs or lock the doors?
When exploring a busy destination pop a wrist band on your kids with your phone number and name inside it. You could simply buy a plastic coloured wristband and write your number with a permanent marker, or look up the range of ID bracelets available online. With older children create a ‘meeting point’ to go to if you do happen to get lost, and a buddy system is a great way to keep everyone looking out for each other if you have a large family. It is also a good idea to travel with an up to date first aid kit.
If visiting another country research their cultural approach to public breast feeding. If using formula, find out if you can purchase it there or do you need to bring a supply from home? If so, ensure you pack your supply between a few bags in case one bag is lost. You should also find out about the quality of water at your destination and consider if you can purchase bottled water or how you will sterilise it?
Prepare older kids for new rules about drinking water, showering with their mouth closed and brushing their teeth with bottled water. We like to pack our own water bottles for each child so they know they are allowed to drink from it.
Be wary of contaminated food. Choose to eat at busy restaurants and do not ask for ice with your drinks. We like to seek out the local market when we arrive to stock up on things like bananas and avocados (fruit that can be peeled) for a fresh safe snack for our little ones. We also bring these along to dinner incase our little ones don’t like the strong or spicy foods that may be served. If you have food allergies a comprehensive translation card can be useful to simplify ordering food in restaurants.
Family adventures are a wonderful time to bond with one another, enjoy exploring together and always have an open mind as sometimes things will not go to plan. Do you have any tips to share with us? Please pop them in the comments below.
Our Travel Must Haves:
- Baby Carrier – MacPack or Ergo Carrier
- Fold up Pram – Baby Jogger or Mountain Buggy
- Food – LunchBots travel tin and Contingo water bottle with pop up spout
- Travel Cot – Phill and Teds porter cot
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