5 Tips for Travelling with Kids
Are you travelling home for the holidays or taking a winter break vacation, and need tips for travelling with kids? Whether you’re travelling with your family for the first time or you’re an expert family-traveller, taking your kids to a different country – perhaps even across the ocean – is never not stressful. You will always run into unexpected challenges, and in this case, it may help to be as prepared as possible to make your family trip home run smoothly. There are a lot of little things that you can do to improve your travel experience with your family, both mentally and physically, but also in terms of saving time and money. Below, we’ve listed 5 tips for travelling with kids to help you enjoy your holidays to the fullest.
Travel Tip 1: Make sure your kids know what’s going on
Especially if it is their first time travelling, make sure your kids understand in advance what the trip will entail. Whether you’re taking a train, driving, or flying, make sure they know that what they’re about to undertake is different from their usual routines. This will help them mentally prepare for the trip ahead, and decrease their level of stress/confusion in the moment. It will also help them understand why all their clothes are being packed away, and they’ll have adequate time to get excited to see family members they haven’t seen in a while. If possible, involve them with packing. For teens and adults, this experience may seem quite ordinary and not too overwhelming, but kids travelling for the first time experience many new stimuli that might make them uncomfortable. This can result in crying, tantrums, and unnecessary stress. Make sure they’re mentally prepared and know what’s going on to decrease the chance of unnecessary stress along the way!
Travel Tip 2: Take it slow and leave plenty of time
Managing time while travelling is always important, but especially when flying this is crucial. Airports are overwhelming places, especially for kids, so make sure to plan ample of time to slowly pass through the process of checking in and going through security. This will make sure your kids can grow accustomed to the chaotic atmosphere slowly, and don’t get overwhelmed. This also means: getting to the airport a bit earlier than you usually would, planning in time for bathroom breaks and buying extra food or snacks. If possible, take their favourite snacks from home to ensure they feel at ease. There are many unexpected things that can happen at airports, and you want to make sure you have enough time to go through them in order to still catch your flight. And it doesn’t just apply to flying. Inherently when you travel with kids, you will move slower, so regardless of your mode of transportation, make sure you plan your time wisely.
Travel Tip 3: Pre-book everything you can
When you’re flying, you definitely need to have your tickets booked well beforehand. Pre-booking doesn’t end there, however. You will want to make sure that you have a hotel/Airbnb, or have a place to stay with family. Often when we travel alone, with friends, or with partners, we like to get a feel for the place first and find a place to stay along the way. With kids, this doesn’t work. You’ll have many more bags that need to be dropped off, and your kids may be very tired and in need of some rest. If you do want some flexibility in terms of where you’re staying, book only 1 or 2 nights so you have somewhere to go, but can also take your time to find a new place. Depending on your trip, make sure that everything in terms of activities and other reservations is already booked. That’s one less thing you have to worry about!
Travel Tip 4: Know where to invest
Travel, especially with kids, is expensive. You’ll need to know when and where you want to spend your money to make sure it makes sense for you financially and enhances your travel experience. Areas we recommend to invest more in are good travel gear for kids. That doesn’t mean buying premium suitcases and travel bags for every member, but buying quality gear like a lightweight, foldable stroller and good and safe car seats. A rule of thumb is that: if it makes your life easier and you’ll use it a lot, it is worth it.
Where to ask for child discounts is during transportation (busses, trains…etc.), tours, restaurants, attractions, sights, guides…etc. This can save you lots of money, but the discount options won’t always be advertised. It is in your best interest to ask!
Travel Tip 5: Safety and Security
The worst fear of any parent is to lose their child at a busy public space. To make sure your child stays safely by your side, make sure you are always 100% where they are. Your first priority is your child. Not tickets, not boarding the plane, not catching your train. If you’re traveling with another parent, delegate tasks, so one person is always tasked with watching the kids and making sure they are safe, while the other deals with the travel logistics. If your kids do get lost, make sure they have contact information on them. Give them a card with your phone number on it, their name, and your email address, so that when someone finds them they can bring them back to you safely. Make sure the child knows to show the note when a stranger finds them. Traveling safely also means carrying basic and necessary medicines your child needs. Include over the counter medicines to cure headaches, nausea, earaches, motion sickness, and in case the child has allergies: an EpiPen. This is on top of any other medication they might need. Lastly, make sure you have all the necessary travel documentation with you for both yourself and your children, this includes their birth certificates.
We hope these travel tips will make your trip home or winter vacation as enjoyable as possible for both you and your child(ren)! Have a very festive holiday period, and we’ll see you in 2020!