Traveling with children no matter their age can always be a bit hit and miss. Here are some of our top tips for making your travel adventures less stressful and more fun:
Take it Slow
Take it slow and leave plenty of time when you are on your way to your destination. Especially if traveling via plane. Every thing at an airport just takes that bit longer when traveling with small children than if you are traveling by yourself. Be sure to arrive at the airport early in order to leave plenty of time in case any thing goes wrong.
Do NOT Overpack
You will feel the urge to pack everything that your child uses at home but there really is just no need. Bring enough of their belongings to keep their routine consistent (snuggle blankets, favourite toy) but leave everything else at home. There is no need for 10 books, 5 barbies and 6 toy cars to come along for the ride. Chances are if you do take them their will never be used.
Ok so you may be used to holidays where you do everything on the fly. This doesn’t work with kids. Try and schedule as many activities as possible so that you know what you are doing each day. Of course you are going to want a couple of days where you don’t have to do anything except lie by the pool or go to the beach – schedule those in! I like to schedule in a rest day every 2-3 days so that you actually feel like you had a chance to rest while away.
Include your Children in the Trip planning
This is important if you have a child that needs to know what is happening every second of the day! Explain to the kids the outline of the trip and where you are going. Let them ask questions. Explain to them what they can expect to see and do. This can help especially helpful with explaining to them what to expect at the airport. Once the children understand what to expect they are more likely to be happier and excited of what is to come!
SNACKS, SNACKS, SNACKS
Always be prepared for delays and HANGRY children. Hunger can mean the difference between a happy family and a cranky family. Takes snacks with you that you know your children will eat – muesli bars, snack packs of chips/popcorn and dare i say it lollies! Lollies are always in my travel bag for when I just need them to sit still for a couple of minutes or if I just need something for bribery. Bribery – we all do it and there is no denying that a chocolate Freddo frog or Allens lollies work a treat!
Ask for Child Discounts
If you are booking through a travel agent (Eat Pray Love Travel ) this is an automatic inclusion when booking your tours and transfers. But if you do that yourself it may not happen automatically. Be sure to ask for child discounts on:
- Private Guides
- Entrance Fees
- Restaurants – keep your eyes open for promotions where children under 12 eat for free with a paying adult.
- Things will go wrong
There is no stopping it. When traveling with children, Things WILL GO WRONG. The sooner you accept that it will be inevitable the less stressed you will feel when it happens. Just remember: Travel is an Adventure. Traveling with your children is an irreplaceable experience, even with a few speed humps along the way
Keep Track of your Child
Safety and security is a priority for us when we travel. Especially if visiting amusement parks, play grounds or anywhere that there is a high density of people. Now I don’t go crazy and put a GPS tracker on my children (they would be sure to lose it anyway!), but I do ensure that I dress them in bright coloured tshirts/ dresses to make it easier to spot them in a crowd. I also make sure that I take a photo of them every morning after they get dressed. This is important because it means that if your child does go missing then you will have a very current photo of them. You will also be able to tell authorities or who ever is helping you find your child, EXACTLY what they are wearing that day .
Make sure that your children know how to contact you at all times. For me this is by putting a note with my contact details in their pocket everyday. I have it laminated so if they get wet it isn’t going to ruin the information. This helps especially young children to be able to get a adult to help call you if they get lost. For the older children – lets face it they are never far away from the mobile phones….