While travelling with kids can be overwhelming and a lot of parents will tell you not to do it, there are a few ways you can help save your sanity and enjoy every moment of your family holiday.
1. Allow for plenty of time
Let’s be honest, when travelling with kids everything will take much longer than expected. From checking in to getting through security, it’s important you get to the airport early and leave plenty of time for things to go wrong. Leaving extra time also applies to other parts of your holiday. For instance, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to fit three museums, a walking tour, shopping, and multiple restaurants into a single day when you have the kids in tow.
2. Pre-book as much as you can
When you’ve got kids, your pre-booking shouldn’t end with flights. While you might be used to showing up at a destination, getting a feel for the town, and picking a place to stay. This doesn’t work with children. When you arrive at your destination, you’ll want to go straight to your hotel, drop off your bags, and give the kids a chance to rest if necessary. In fact, anything you can book in advance is one less thing you have to worry about while you’re away.
3. Enjoy some alone time
While the idea of going on holiday is to build shared memories, it is also important to remember that as a parent you need time to rest and enjoy some adult company as well.
4. Home comforts are key
To help keep the kids happy and ensure they don’t get home sick, allow them to take one or two comforts from home such as a stuffed toy, reading books, or a portable music player.
5. See your doctor
If you’re heading overseas, particularly to a developing country, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor a few months before you leave to discuss your plans. Make sure you get copies of everyone’s vaccination records and blood groups. It’s also a good idea to travel with a few over-the-counter medications such as headache and allergy pills and something for upset stomachs or motion sickness.
6. Explain the trip
Introducing your children to your travel plans ahead of time is especially important for first-time travellers. When there are too many new things going on, they can get uncomfortable and anxious. Explaining the trip can include telling them what they can expect at the airport, on the plane, and once they arrive at your destination.
7. Document your holiday
Asking your kids to document your holiday is a great way to keep them entertained and it will help them feel valued. Consider giving them a journal and an inexpensive digital camera so they can show you the world through their eyes. When you get home, print the photos and create a scrapbook of your holiday together.
8. Expect the unexpected
When travelling with kids it’s important to go with the flow because no matter how organised you are, something is bound to go wrong.