Travelling Overseas with Kids? Here are 10 Clever Travel Tips You Need to Know


Are you getting ready to jet off somewhere spectacular with the kids in tow? So exciting! There’s nothing quite like flying overseas and experiencing new adventures with your kids as your travel partners.

While it can be a tad nerve-wracking to do so, it’s totally worth it! The lasting memories. The exciting new experiences. The change of pace. Not to mention the incredible learning experiences travelling can provide for the kids (patience, resilience and flexibility all come to mind!).

But before you pack your bag, be sure to check out our top tips for travelling overseas with kids. Travelling overseas is a whole new ballgame and here’s what you need to remember to knock your next trip out of the park.

Travelling overseas with kids - 10 family travel tips
Overseas adventures can be a huge eye-opener for the whole family. Source: Supplied

10 family travel tips when flying overseas

1. Check you’re up to date on everything

Passports, vaccinations, travel insurance, VISAs – all of these things need to be sorted out before you go. Make a spreadsheet of all the things you need to apply for before you fly to a new country and stay there. Before you go, also check the Smartraveller website for any government warnings at your destination.

Finally, make sure you’ve arranged everything for while you’re away, especially if you have pets. If you’re travelling overseas for a long time, you may want to hire someone to mow the lawn, service the pool or even house sit if you’re comfortable with this.

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Make sure your passports have at least 6 months validity before you leave. Source: Bigstock

2. Talk about the trip beforehand 

As exciting as it is to venture away from home, it can also be a bit scary for your little travellers. Before you go, explain the journey to them. Break it into “parts” – part 1 could be the taxi, part 2 could be customs, part 3 could be the flight, etc.

Do these throughout the journey so they know what to expect each day and can prepare for it, especially on days when you might be waiting around or in transit for a fair bit.

Talk about any concerns they have (the plane crashing is a common concern) as well as what happens in the event that something does go wrong.

mum centralTRAVEL TIP: If you have little kids, it might be fun to ‘play’ aeroplane beforehand. Set them up on the couch with a small snack tray, an iPad and a blanket and see if they happily sit still.

Travelling overseas with kids travel tips
Talking about the plane ride before you leave can ease anxieties. Source: Bigstock

3. Plan activities (or at least have a bit of a plan in place)

Many families like to pre-book tours and activities in advance while others would rather simply decide what to do when they arrive. Either way is perfectly fine but we do suggest taking a look at the various activities or things to do, especially as some activities may get extra busy and need to be booked in advance.

mum central TRAVEL TIP: One thing we do is every family member gets to choose one thing they’d like to do while away. A place to see, an outing, a hike or walk, or even a meal they would like to try. This gives us five things to do (we’ve got three kids) but also allows for plenty of free time, downtime and last-minute plans.

4. Always, always, always plan for downtime (and jet lag)

Travelling with kids is a different experience than travelling before kids. It’s a lot slower. Everything takes longer, from going through the airport to visiting a popular tourist site. Once you learn to let go of the fast pace you may have been used to, it can be a lot more enjoyable.

With this in mind, schedule a few hours every day for a rest/nap and try not to cram too many things in. We also suggest not planning too many early mornings or late night activities, especially during the first few days.

Family travel kids
Plan for downtime too. Source: Bigstock

5. Find your nearest transportation service, grocery store, and chemist before you go

If you’re using public transport, which can be really fun with kids, check your options before you arrive and see how close you are to any train lines, buses, etc. Transportation can be a real killer price-wise but sometimes it’s easier to just hop in an Uber than deal with four different stops on a bus. Be sure to weigh up your options before you go.

It’s also a good idea to check to see how close you are to any grocery stores or convenience stores. We always recommend stocking up on nappies and wipes once you arrive at your destination but you’ll also need some snacks, fruit, water, milk and other items to keep in the mini-fridge in case anyone gets hungry.

We also suggest looking into any customs that may be different from what you’re used to. If you are going somewhere the language is different, study a few key phrases before you go. 

mum central TRAVEL TIP: Look into ‘travel’ flash cards which are specially made for travellers who need help with foreign languages. Either make your own or purchase them premade and packaged.

6. Pack like a pro 

Packing … probably one of the hardest parts of travelling overseas with kids. Start a few days early. Make a list and if you happen to discover you’re missing something or a key item is worn, broken or the wrong size, you’ve got time to replace it.

Pack as lightly as you can. You can stock up on certain items at your destination (like nappies and wipes). We would suggest packing basic medications, however, such as painkillers, allergy medication, and nausea medication. There’s always a risk of getting sick overseas and having these in your bag can save you a lot of stress if one of your children does catch a bug.

mum centralTRAVEL TIP: Check out the comprehensive holiday packing list from TID, featuring an easy-to-follow checklist of what you need. Also, read our previous article on what to pack in your carry-on bag when travelling with kids.

maximising annual leave
Pack light but pack strategically. Photo: Adobe Stock/Halfpoint

7. Pack ALL the snacks 

Okay, so we know we said ‘pack lightly’, but NEVER scrimp on snacks! Snacks will be your best friend when travelling with kids, especially during transit days when you might be on a tour bus or waiting for a plane. Nothing cures “I’m bored” quite like a snack.

Make sure you have enough snacks for the plane especially if your kids aren’t keen on trying new plane meals. My son lived on snacks after being served “fried eel” on his last overseas flight. He couldn’t even look at plane food after that. And once you arrive at your destination, find a grocery store to replenish your stash. #winning

8. Keep ‘em busy (even better, sleepy)

Long-haul flights can be hectic. Your best plan of action is to keep them busy during awake time and try to time the flight around their sleep. I prefer to fly at night with my kids but every family is different.

Regardless of what time you fly, pack loads of interesting things to do. iPads are a real winner, especially if that’s going to buy you time to yourself and keep them amused and focused. Download some special new apps just for the flight so it’s a new experience … and don’t forget the headphones! Another winner is a bunch of colouring in and activity booklets.

real mum tipTRAVEL TIP: Wrap up a few ‘surprises’ as gifts to open during the flight – nothing too messy though! Ideas include a container of play dough, small LEGO sets, little puzzles, sticker books, stories, fidget toys and mini surprise eggs.

9. Car seat and/or pram? Go for just one (or none) 

This might not be the best advice for every family, but tracking a car seat and a heavy pram overseas can be hard work.

If you have a travel stroller, this is our top choice. If not, a sling or carrier is also a good option, especially if you plan on doing a lot of walking around during the day.

Many hotels also have prams available to use (sometimes free) so look into this option as well. The less you need to lug around, the better!

If you are hiring a car, then you will need a car seat but many companies will fit a car seat into the hire car (for a fee). If you want to avoid a fee and are planning on doing a lot of road-tripping, then bring the car seat. But if not, we would go without.

mum central
A sling or carrier will be a saviour for out and about. Source: Supplied.

10.  Keep track of your child 

Constant supervision is necessary when you’re travelling overseas with kids but in the event that someone in your family does get lost, have a system in place to ensure you can find them. 

As a first port-of-call, consider a smartwatch for kids that offers with a GPS tracker.

Many parents will also write their name and number on a child’s wrist or place a piece of paper with this info on it in their child’s pocket. If your child is old enough, make sure they know the basic information – where you are staying and your email address are two important ones when overseas.

Travelling overseas with kids tips
Source: Supplied

Travelling overseas does take effort

There’s a lot of planning, a lot of preparing and a lot to consider. But it is worth it all! The magic a family holiday overseas can bring will last a lifetime and, even unexpected events, will create a memory that hopefully, you will all one day look back on and laugh.

Often travelling overseas with kids won’t go to plan or be perfect but that’s part of the fun. The journey can be bumpy, but it’s these bumps that make it so memorable.

Now, let’s talk about travel insurance

We all know life’s better with a few extra holidays, and our friends over at Travel Insurance Direct (TID) couldn’t agree more.

But let’s face it, things don’t always go exactly as planned (even for well-organised mums!) – and that’s where TID comes in. With their expertise, cover and top-level service, they can help you stay on track and keep your stress levels nice and low.

TID travelling with kids tips
TID takes care of the important stuff so you can focus on the holiday fun.

✓  Kids are free – Your kids can be added to your plan and have cover without additional cost^.

✓  Unlimited overseas medical cover – International plans include unlimitedcover for medical, hospital and ambulance bills. Plus, 24/7 emergency assistance.

✓  Automatically includes cover for cruises – Cruising is a standard inclusion, so you don’t need to fork out additional premiums.

✓  Protect your belongings – From lost luggage, and damaged strollers to stolen cash, have cover for your belongings.

We’ve got an exclusive discount from Travel Insurance Direct to help protect you and your family on your next holiday.

SAVE 10% OFF* Travel Insurance Direct with promo code MUM10 at checkout. Be quick, this offer ends on 31 May 2023.

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This is a sponsored post for Travel Insurance Direct.

Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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