Read our top tips for travelling abroad with kids in tow. Share our treasured moments of pre holiday stress before feet have even left the tarmac. Have you got any moments of pre family holiday bliss you would like to share with our community then drop us a line!
Of the many experiences we have as a family, I find traveling abroad a stressful time, more so for me than the kids. After spending two weeks meticulously packing for the whole brood, there are some things you can’t plan for. Like your dearly beloved getting in late the night before your precious family holiday and shoving his favourite jeans in the wash. Then sleeping in sub tropical temperatures (and that’s before leaving home turf) with the radiators on full blast to get them dry in time. I am flying before I get to the airport!
A friend of mine has laminated lists with all bits and bobs noted for a flight, car journey, accommodation – it works for them. For me: passport, confirmation of booking, insurance documents, visas, tickets and a few sachets of Calpol tucked in handbag, are crucial – all else can be acquired elsewhere - normally!
Arrive in plenty of time - the most likely source of my stress comes from my largest kid – my husband. We are complete opposites. He’s a seasoned business traveler, specialising in getting to the airport 5 minutes before the gates shut. When traveling with 3 young kids in tow and a highly-strung wife THIS DOESN’T WORK. We once arrived with 3 hours before take off at the airport, only to find it was the wrong terminal - I collapsed in a heap on the pavement in floods of tears waiting for the airport bus to take us 5 minutes down the road! Irrational it may be, but I like to be very early…
If you pack and plan well in advance the kids will be occupied and carried away with the experience. Ideally get them their own travel bag with their own toys, comics, books and activity pads, DSIs (said it) to keep them busy – you will know what they encompasses. Mine love freewheeling along the concourse independently with me 10 paces behind huffing and puffing with our wonky trolley.
Once on the plane be prepared for hundreds of toilet visits, pencil hunting, walking the aisles, ignoring other passengers tuts and incessant “stop kicking the back of the chair” messages over a four hour period – the simple chant “It will all be worth it” should be on repeat throughout!
The other end: make sure your car hire firm know that you want car-seats – double check at least 20 times! Get in car making sure you drive on correct side of road and get to your accommodation, preferably away from the flight path and less than an hour away – retire to bed for at least one hour with a hefty G & T – it’s easy from there on in - happy holiday!!!
Do take some boiled sweets or lollies on the plane – bad for teeth maybe but fab for helping ears unpop!
Fold up trays, steaming hot food, drinks and little ones in a confined space are a recipe for disaster and are likely to notch up the stress levels. Avoid going for the hot meal option on the flight.
Take as little clutter as possible – get a company like Kids Away.com to deliver goods, such as nappies, wipes and baby food to your accommodation so that it’s ready and waiting and you don’t have to bob out to the shops!
Go for the best accommodation that you can afford, with little ones you’ll spend more time there than you might have been accustomed to travelling and exploring as adults.
Find suitable days out and put together a loose itinerary together before you leave so that you don’t get fuddled with planning whilst there.
Loosen up any routines otherwise you’ll go stir crazy!
We have a fantastic range of family holidays abroad should you wish to go further afield than the UK. Please have a browse for inspiration.
© Away with the Kids 2012