Travelling with children can be a wonderful, bonding and educational adventure you treasure for the rest of your life. It can also be a tumultuous and painful experience that leaves you traumatised, vowing never to leave the house again! The key to a joyous and memorable holiday is preparation and patience.
After chatting to some well-travelled Mum’s at Phil Hoffmann Travel, we’ve come up with the following.
1. ALLOW TIME
Whether it’s getting to the airport, travelling from A to B or sightseeing – allow plenty of time. Toddlers and children love to explore and rushing them will only make them grumpy and you flustered. Don’t plan too much in a day to allow for some dawdling, toilet stops and the occasional tantrum.
2. PACK LIGHT
Keep their hand luggage light. Chances are you’ll be carrying that Barbie daypack as well as your own the majority of the time. Don’t bring loads of kids’ stuff; an iPad, favourite toy and card game will be plenty. Most planes provide some form of entertainment. By the end of a day’s sightseeing the kids will be tired and a diary entry may be the most you get out of them before they fall asleep. If all else fails, cheap activity packs can be bought just about anywhere.
3. WHEN YOU SEE A TOILET, USE IT
Make sure when you pass a toilet you use it and have some small change handy. Many countries require coin entry and some charge for toilet paper – carry some just in case.
4. BE PREPARED
In your daypack have snacks, hats, Stingose, hand sanitiser, sunscreen, basic first aid kit with medicine and Band-Aids, plenty of water, tissues and a map. Clothe your child in layers for the flight, especially if stopping over somewhere hot for a few hours.
5. EDUCATE THEM
Let them have the map to work out where you’re walking to or get them to remember tube stops or street names. Teach them about the culture of the countries you are visiting so they have an idea of what’s appropriate and if it’s wrong to stare at something that seems unusual to them. Ask hotel staff what local children do on weekends and join in.
6. MAKE THE FLIGHT LESS PAINFUL
Have chewing gum or lollies on hand for older children and time your feeding for infants so they are sucking on something for take-off and landing. Nothing provokes a child to scream more than pressure building up in their ears.
7. KEEP THEIR SLEEP CYCLE
Try to get night flights or flights that arrive at the destination at night so they can either sleep on the plane or get their body into a sleep rhythm easily.
8. HOP ON HOP OFF BUSES
These are a great way for adults to get their bearings and kids to have some rest time between sightseeing. A lot also have a video playing that keeps the children entertained and gives you some time out. Otherwise use public transport – a novelty for kids of all ages.
9. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE FREE STUFF
Lots of hotels offer ‘kids eat free’ while many museums and galleries offer free entry on certain days of the week. Every cent counts when travelling so it’s worth finding out what you can get for free.
10. HAVE FUN
This is your holiday too but even the most cultured traveller gets bored with museums and churches everyday. Be sure to mix educational stuff with fun stuff. Let the kids have a day where they get to pick what they’d like to do. Make walking fun by pointing out interesting sights and things they wouldn’t normally see at home. Give them the camera and see the holiday through their eyes. Most importantly, remember to enjoy this special time you have with your children. They will look back on this time together as fondly as you do!
Call now [1300 88 99 53] and make a time to pop into one of the eight Phil Hoffmann Travel branches to plan your next family holiday.
They have loads of well-travelled Mums and Dads working for them that would love to help plan your trip. Children get a colouring pack to entertain them while you work out the details, making the experience an enjoyable one for everyone in your family – from start to finish.