Travelling with children can be a stressful experience – especially when flying to your holiday destination – but its well worth it once you arrive at your hotel and you can begin to unwind and relax (as much as a parent ever does).
When it comes to preparing for your family holiday, one of the most important things is packing with your children in mind. Being prepared and keeping your children involved during the packing process will make all the difference in the world when it comes to reducing the usual chaos and stress you’ll encounter on the typical vacation.
So to help you get it right for you next holiday, here’s my top 5 tips for parents travelling with children:
Pack the right toys; with the weight restrictions airlines impose, it’s essential you pack the right toys to ensure your children stay entertained. A great idea is to ration the toys throughout the flight and holiday itself, bringing out another item each time their attention begins to wane.
Older children are more easily catered for when it comes to toys, especially if they have an MP3 player or smart phone to keep them entertained.
Take out travel insurance; this is something you really shouldn’t go on holiday without. Travel insurance can help to protect you against eventualities such as, cancellation, loss of baggage, accident or injury, theft or loss of holiday money, etc.
Buying a family policy can often be cheaper than taking out separate policies and many have a “kids go free” policy. Try making use of a price comparison websites such as moneysupermarket.com and Compare the Market – who knows, you might just save some money in the process!
Get your kids involved in the packing; if you let your kids help you to decide what to pack for them, you should get a good mixture of what you think they need to pack and what they actually want to have with them on holiday. You’ll avoid many tantrums this way with younger children and it becomes more important as children get older to feel that they have had an active part in the decision making process.
Take only the essentials; it’s good to be prepared, but you don’t need to pack for every eventuality. When it comes to items like nappies, take just enough to get you through the first few days; you’ll easily be able to buy them wherever you travel to (as long as you’re not planning on travelling to the middle of a tropical rainforest).
It’s much easier to buy a new item of clothing if something’s damaged and you’ll be thankful for the lighter luggage when you’ve got kids in tow. When it comes to keeping your children happy, you might have to sacrifice some of your luggage space in order to make sure they are well catered for, but it’s more than worth it.
Give you child their own hand luggage; Giving your child their own backpack will enable them to take their favourite toys and books and teach them how to pack the most essential items – they’ll soon learn to pack more efficiently if they have to lug a heavy backpack round with them in the airport (it’s also a good idea to make use of their baggage allowance if they have their own seat).
Pack some snacks; children can get hungry again quite quickly after eating, so it’s good to carry a variety of snacks to avoid any temper tantrums ensuing from a rumbling stomach. Try to go for slow energy release food such as nuts, granola bars, etc.
If you follow the tips above, you should find your next holiday a less stressful experience; who knows, you might just be able to relax and enjoy yourselves (if your children let you)…