Travelling with children offers a unique blend of excitement, wonder and—let's admit it—a tad bit of apprehension. From forgotten teddy bears to unplanned bathroom breaks, travelling with kids can be unpredictable and at times challenging. However with a little preparation, it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Here's a guide to help make your next family holiday smooth, fun and memorable for all the right reasons.
Plan Together: Get your kids involved in the planning process. When they have a say in the destination or activities, they'll be more invested and excited.
Set Expectations: Talk about the journey, the expected behaviour, and what they might see. Knowing what to anticipate can alleviate a lot of anxiety for younger travellers.
Reconnaissance: Research family-friendly activities, places to eat, and child-specific emergencies like nearby paediatricians or pharmacies in advance.
Travel Schedule: While spontaneity is thrilling, kids thrive on routine. Try to maintain regular meal times and naps, especially for the younger ones. It can make a world of difference in their mood.
In-Flight Prep: Discuss the journey with your kids—how long the flight will be, the concept of time zones, and the importance of rest during the flight.
HOT TIP: Opt for a short haul destination such as Fiji for shorter, more manageable flight times, particularly for first time travellers.
The Basics: This includes clothes, nappies, wipes and medicines. Always pack an extra set of clothes in your carry-on for unexpected spills or accidents.
Snacks: Keep an array of healthy snacks like fruit, crackers or muesli bars on hand. Hungry kids can quickly turn cranky!
Entertainment: Think portable board games, colouring books, tablets with downloaded movies or storybooks.
Comfort Items: Whether it's a blanket or a favourite toy, having a familiar comfort item can help kids adjust to unfamiliar environments.
First Aid: Include basics like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers suitable for kids and any necessary prescription medicines.
Interactive Games: Classic road trip games like 'I spy' or '20 Questions' can keep kids engaged. These games not only occupy them but also help enhance their observational and cognitive skills.
Travel Journal: Encourage older kids to maintain a travel journal. They can jot down what they did, what they saw or even draw pictures.
Local Cuisine: Introduce them to local foods. You'd be surprised at how many kids fall in love with a new dish while travelling!
HOT TIP: The food in Bali is surprisingly family friendly and the kids will love the cultural opportunity to eat with their hands!
Nature Activities: If you're near the great outdoors, activities like scavenger hunts, nature walks, or even simple picnics can be a hit.
Educational Stops: Museums, historical sites or science centres can offer both education and entertainment. Opt for those with interactive exhibits for a hands-on experience.
HOT TIP: Thailand's Khao Yai National Park is an amazing attraction that is home to an abundance of nature, wildlife and opportunity for adventure.
Stay Close: Airports can be overwhelming. Use child harnesses or backpack leashes for toddlers who're prone to wandering.
Transit Tours: If you have a long layover, check if the airport offers transit tours. This can be an exciting way to explore a new city.
Airport Lounges: Some offer family-friendly facilities, including play areas or quiet zones.
Stay Hydrated: The air inside planes is dry, so keep reusable water bottles handy and refill them post-security.
Stay Flexible: While it's good to have a plan, be ready to adapt. Sometimes the best memories are the unplanned ones.
Safety First: Make sure your kids know what to do in case they get lost. Using a wristband with your contact number can be helpful. Always have a recent photo of your child with you.
Time It Right: If possible, travel during your child's nap times or when they're typically most calm.
Travelling with kids is indeed an adventure of its own. While it comes with its set of challenges, it's also an incredible opportunity to introduce them to the vast, diverse world out there. With preparation and patience, you can ensure that your journey becomes a treasure trove of shared family memories that make every challenge worth it.
So pack up, prep well and embark on a journey that your family will cherish for years to come!