It is no secret that travelling with kids can be difficult, especially if you are on public transport of some kind and have other passengers to consider.
Being a mum of six, I have seen it all. Been delayed for hours in a crowded airport, trying to stop a toddler running up and down the aisle on the train and trying to calm a scared child on an aeroplane, but I do have some valuable tips to share.
- Prepare them for the journey. Kids over the age of one have a fair idea of what is going on, so it is wise to explain what is going to happen. They may initially get over-excited, but should calm by the time the journey arrives. Mine like to spot signs for the destination we are travelling to.
- Be Prepared – I am not saying you need to pack everything but the kitchen sink, but I recommend you take an extra couple of nappies and a change of clothes for those little emergencies. If you are clever you can disperse these things in the kids hand luggage and I highly recommend getting a Trunki for children under the age of 10, as they can use them as sit and ride toys whilst you wait plus they are small enough to class as hand luggage. Do check an online baggage allowance finder to check the size and weight of your baggage before you travel – you don’t want any nasty surprises!
- Take some toys / games / books. Travel sized games are perfect, as are colouring / activity books and some pencils and a tablet, plus headphones, loaded with films or their favourite TV program. Avoid toys that require lots of little parts.
- Take drinks / snacks – when my children are bored they like to eat so I pack raisins, grapes, biscuits to keep them going but avoid sweets. If you are flying you are unable to take baby food and drinks in the hand luggage, but most airports sell it once you are through customs, so make sure you have some money with with.
- Hand sanitiser and baby wipes for day are essentials, especially when you are out and about in the great outdoors with no facilities on hand for a clean up
- Make sure you book accommodation that is suitable for your family. Check they provide the equipment you need, such as travel cots, as this will save you dragging them along with you.
- Take your time! Kids love to explore their environment and rushing them is likely to cause a meltdown so where possible take your time and give them a chance to get comfortable in their surroundings.
- Don’t forget the First Aid Kit – you can buy ready made first aid kits from the supermarket which don’t take up much room in your hand luggage. I always add sachets of calpol, piriton and some paracetamol for us parents too.
- With teenagers the best way to avoid a soul-destroying sulk is to involve them in the planning of the holiday and ask them for input on what they’d like to do.
- Don’t park too far from your destination and make them walk. If flying I highly recommend using a service like APH where you simply drive to the terminal and head straight to the check-in desks while your car is parked for you and returned to you on your arrival home!
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