7 hacks when travelling with children
Holidays with your children can be some of the most rewarding trips of your life. You’ll spend quality time together away from the chaos of life at home, you can discover places all over again through fresh eyes, and your brood can learn more about new cultures and landscapes. But, children aren’t known for being predictable, so smooth trips require planning. These seven tried-and-tested hacks will help make your next family break easier.
1. Pack a bag of treats…
Not many parents look forward to long journeys with children. But, with a bag of tricks, you can make a flight or road trip more enjoyable for everyone. And, while you’re away, don’t forget to take this bag with you for entertainment in restaurants too.
Kate from tripAbrood’s family concierge team and tripAbrood’s director of engineering, Aparna, suggest putting together a holiday backpack with inexpensive items such as sticker books, mess-free water magic painting, toy animals, a mini baby doll (which can also be played with in the pool), some new books and some pens and paper.
tripAbrood’s designer, Lida, is a fan of mini travel games on a journey, such as Jenga or Articulate.
And Melissa from our family concierge team points out that some of the best entertainment on a journey can be visual – and free. So, think of some games ahead of your trip such as I-spy, “first one to see” and counting games.
2. …and some essentials too
While you’re packing exciting travel treats for your children, don’t forget to think practically too. So, in your bag for journeys, it’s worth packing a couple of plastic bags (make sure these are in your bag and not the kids’), which will prove to be invaluable should one of your children be sick or there’s a spillage.
Similarly, pack a change of clothes for all of you, if you can, as well as some wet wipes.
If you’re flying, empty water bottles are a good idea as you can fill them up from the water fountain once you’ve passed through security. And, if you’re driving or flying at night, pack a pair of pyjamas for your children. The act of getting changed can signal that it’s time to sleep – and, if they do, you don’t need to wake them up to take off their clothes when you arrive.
Finally, don’t forget your secret weapon – snacks, snacks and more snacks.
3. Think home comforts
While going away can be exciting, it can also be overwhelming for children who haven’t travelled for a while. So, help your brood to settle in instantly by taking a few small reminders from home.
Victoria from tripAbrood’s family concierge team always takes her children’s pillowcases and bottom bed sheets so her little ones have familiar smells as they drift off.
4. Plan for the worst-case scenario
Many parents’ worst nightmare is being separated from their children in a busy airport, unfamiliar park or attraction. And, while this is unlikely to happen, if you have a plan in place, it will help you to remain calm if it does.
For younger children, put a piece of paper in their pockets or a bracelet around their wrist with your name and phone number on, which they can show to someone should they get lost.
With older children, agree on a point that you will meet them at should you lose each other – such as outside a certain shop in the airport or next to a landmark in a park.
5. Pre-book attractions – but allow free time too
If you and the kids have your hearts set on visiting a certain attraction or restaurant, make sure you pre-book them before your trip. Not only will you be guaranteed a ticket for your attraction, but you can save time queuing on the day. You may also save money by booking in advance as online advance prices tend to be cheaper.
But, allow some time on a holiday to be spontaneous too. No amount of planning can predict what your children’s favourite holiday discovery will be, so you’ll want some time to explore to find it.
6. Give older children some spending money
On holidays, the strangest items become appealing to children in shops. And, a combination of the power of nagging and the holiday mood can result in a small fortune being spent on “souvenirs” that will gather dust when you get home.
To prevent this situation, and to help your children learn about budgeting, give older children a small amount of spending money that they can use for small gifts, souvenirs and any other items they suddenly need. Spending their own money will make them assess what they really want.
7. Involve your children
While you may be a planning whizz, if you tell your children what you’re doing on a holiday, rather than asking them for their opinions, you may be met with sighs and protests.
So, before you go away, ask your children to do some research on your destination and then all compile a wish-list so that everyone has an activity that they have chosen.
Every time you book accommodation with tripAbrood, we’ll send you an award-winning Arrive Like a Local pack for your children. These are an excellent starting point for your children’s research as they are specific to the destination you are visiting and will be packed with fun recipes, craft activities, puzzles, phrases to learn and more.