You may have loads of experience of travelling before you had kids, but once you throw little ones into the equation it’s a whole different ball game! Many people worry about their first (and sometimes subsequent!) trip with children, but with a little advance planning and preparation you can still enjoy a fabulous family vacation. Here are some handy dos and don’ts that should make your trip more enjoyable:
Book Accommodation in Advance
You may be used to freestyle travels, where you move around lots and find somewhere when you arrive. This method of travelling doesn’t work so well with kids, who may be tired, hungry, bored grumpy … traipsing around trying to find a place to sleep really won’t be any fun for any of you in this situation, and could lead to some serious nerves becoming frayed! Enjoy the feeling of knowing where you will be each night, no matter what else your trip throws at you. Linked to accommodation, when you make a booking also make sure that the property has any additional features that you require beforehand to save any unpleasant surprises on arrival. For example, if you will need an additional bed, a cot, or similar, check before you confirm your booking.
Allocate Plenty of Time
Allow extra time for anything that you want or need to do. This means that you went feel rushed or harried if your child wants to lollygag a little and take in all the sights and sounds all around them. It gives little legs chance to keep up and you unexpected toilet stops or little wobbles won’t phase you so much. Don’t leave checking in at the airport / arriving at a bus station / leaving for a pre-booked event / waking up for a trip etc until the last minute!
Pack Things to Keep the Kids Amused
Whether you’re chilling out in the hotel room, in a restaurant waiting for dinner to be served, on a plane or other form of transportation or so on, having a few small activities to keep the children occupied can really help to keep everyone happy. And, happy children typically mean happy parents! A Kids’ Travel Guide is a great way to give children something to do – they can read about all the places to come, complete the tasks and activities, and more. Having a small pack of colouring pencils or crayons along with a pad of paper is another quick and easy activity. Have a few small games in mind to distract your children for when you sense their mood starting to dip, and don’t underestimate the power of having a few small games and their favourite toy!
Let Kids Miss Lots of School
This is a tricky one, as some of the best deals on trips (and when places are usually less crowded) fall outside of the official school holidays. Some parents say that they are giving their children an excellent education in life, culture etc, and missing a few weeks of school won’t harm them in the long run. Whilst this may be true, some countries and individual schools have quite strict policies about kids missing school for holidays. Check beforehand – you don’t want your child to be the one to suffer with lots of catch up tasks when you return!
Forget a First Aid Kit
A small first aid kit is invaluable on your travels. Whether your kids get a small bump or scrape, get bitten by an insect, have an upset stomach, or any other minor ailment, having the means to make it better on the spot is so much easier than having to find a pharmacy in a new place. Also make sure that you pack enough prescription medication for the duration of the trip.
Let Kids Pack Their Own Day Packs
Of course you want your children to be involved as much as possible and you want them to take things with them that they actually want. But make sure that you either guide this process or check and edit before you leave. You don’t want to be left carrying another heavy bag because your child is too tired to lug around their entire car collection / selection of hard back books / multitude of dolls with outfits and accessories for any possible occasion … and similar.
These are just a few small tips that should help you when arranging your family travels.
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