Travelling with children doesn’t always feel like a holiday and a trip away to recharge your batteries can too easily leave you feeling more flat and frazzled than you felt before you set off, but with these top tips you can cover miles with smiles!
Your travel check list
We’ve compiled the ‘if only we’d thought of that list’ for you so all you’ll be kicking is your shoes off to relax, rather than yourself for forgetting some simple holiday life savers!
Spontaneity (and sleep) probably left your life when your little darling(s) arrived so planning is unlikely to be a new concept. Doing your destination due diligence is rarely a task you’ll regret, let staff know what you need to make life easy on arrival; cot beds/ kettles (to warm milk and boil wash dummies that got dropped en route) etc.
Life with young children is infinitely less stressful if you factor in enough time to go at their pace, especially when you quite literally have a plane to catch!
Factor in the faff factor not to mention extra toilet stops and all the interesting new sights little people like to admire; stickers on seats, an interesting leaf, a piece of discarded chewing gum. In a toddler world they all warrant careful acknowledgment and examination and allowing them a few seconds to do so can often be more time efficient than yanking them away and dealing with the consequences!
A device pre-loaded with your children’s favourite cartoons and games will liberate you from the cumbersome bag of boredom busting tricks you used to have to lug around.
Not smart to give your under fives your smartphone? Invest in a child friendly tablet. With parental controls in place you don’t even need to worry about where in cyber space they end up while you are trying to locate your holiday home away from home.
Hopefully it will always be un-necessary but putting contact details somewhere on your young children is sensible in case you are separated. You can go basic (permanent marker on the arm or piece of paper in a pocket) or high tech (transmitters that beep if they stray too far). Of course nothing is as good as vigilance
Travelling mid potty training can add an extra element of fun to your trip! Purists may disagree but re-instating pull-ups for a few days while you are in transit might be worth considering.
Novice nappy-free toddlers often have accidents when they are distracted with so many new things to see and do, so a break away from home might be less soggy with training pants or pull ups. They will buy you some extra time without you taking too many steps backwards.
Pack your first aid essentials and make sure all the grown ups on the trip know where to find them. A change of scene, lack of sleep, far flung places – they can all contribute to kids feeling less than tip top so your trusty Calpol may bring comfort and peace of mind to you and them quicker than a dubious trip to a local pharmacy.
Most mums can magic wet wipes from bags and pockets at a moment’s notice, a trick that is especially useful on the road (or on a boat or in a plane). Stocking up on anti-bacterial wipes and sprays is a great way to keep hands hygienic, and cutlery and door handles too. If in doubt, give it a wipe!
Travelling with kids means stuff. Lots of it. But those ‘just in case’ jumpers/ rain coats/ wellies/ sandals will absolutely be worth the ‘less space in the car’ trade off should they be needed. Being too cold/ hot/ wet makes little people miserable and a quick change from the kit bag is a speedy solution to continue on a happy holiday.
You don’t totally have to give up on your explorer-streak having joined the fully-grown rank of parent. Park the car, hop on local transport and have an adventure, buses are fun for kids of all ages!
Toddlers love to feel important and entrusting them with a (sturdy and cheap!) camera to document their adventures could lead to some refreshingly unique photo memories, as well as some blissful moments where they happily entertain themselves viewing life through a lens.