1. Have a Travel Plan

While we all wish to be as spontaneous as we were before kids came on the scene, gone are the days of ad hoc holidays dreamed up a few days before take-off. When kids are concerned, it’s easier to plan your trip, plan your time, make sure you get all the connections if you’re flying and have time for pit stops if you’re driving.

2. Take Your Own Entertainment

Most airlines these days have in-flight entertainment on the long-haul flights, but some haven’t and others need to be booked when you’re booking the flight. It’s also not really suitable for very young children so you need to pack your own entertainment.

For infants, books and small toys are the best. Buy some new books before you go so they’re more intrigued when you produce them. For toddlers; take a trip to the $2 shop before your holiday and buy a few little games and flight-suitable toys. Wrap them and take them with you on the flight. Plan to introduce them at intervals, or save them for when they need new stimulation. Sticker books are especially time-consuming; pack a few.

Of course, most kiddies these days are familiar with their parents’ phones or tablets, so download a few educational toys or games before you go, making sure they operate without internet connection. Save this as a last resort so you have a little bargaining power along the way.

3. Take their Favourite Foods

Unless your child is an ultra-fussy eater, food is the great settler. For road trips, it’s easy to take along whatever you need, but it’s a little tricky when flying as you have limited space in the cabin. Little cartons of raisins and sandwiches are easy to store, and last for the length of most flights. And take lots of fresh fruit, already prepared and packed to save space. Just remember to get rid of fruit before you leave the plane in some countries, like here in Australia where you can fined for bringing fruit into the country and in between some states.

4. Take Your Time

If you’re driving, take lots of breaks to stretch the legs. Stop at parks for a play and make the journey part of the holiday.

If you’re travelling long-haul, break up the flight if you can. Some airports have transit hotels near arrivals or just outside the airport so you don’t have to go far. Having a sleep in a proper bed helps both you and the kiddies by keeping frayed tempers at bay.

5. Always Carry Wipes

Even though your children are out of nappies and you’re not used to carting the wipes around with you all the time anymore, when you’re travelling they’re invaluable – for faces, hands, bottoms and spills.

6. Pack the Panadol

It’s holiday time, so Sod’s Law dictates that someone is going to get sick, and if you’re travelling with children, chances are it will be one of them. Pre-empt fate with a little plan of your own and make sure you have some paracetamol with you on the flight should you need it.

7. Teach them How to Deal with Pressure

On the plane, that is. If you’re flying and your child is old enough to understand the ins and outs of ear ache when flying, tell them what to expect and how to deal with it before you get on the plane. Get them to yawn, rub behind their ears or chew on something if they’re starting to get sore ears. And if you have an infant always feed on take-off and landing – if you can – to keep the earache to a minimum. Chances are, if you’ve ever heard a screaming kid on a plane that’s what the problem is.

8. How to Deal with a Screaming Kid on a Plane

First of all, don’t make eye contact with anyone – you’re guaranteed some useful being will be giving you the evils so it’s best not to catch their stare. Life is hard enough already so keep your head down and deal with the problem at hand.

Usually, the screaming is a reaction to being couped up, frustration or being over-tired. The only way to get through this phase is to stay calm, cuddle and try to get to the root of the problem. Just remember the mantra, “This too shall pass.” Recite and repeat until normal service has resumed.

9. Book in Advance

When you’ve arrived at your destination, the last thing you want is to be dragging a tried family around to find accommodation. Always book before you go – even if you’re staying in the same country – so there’s no chance you end up searching for a place to stay late into the night.

10. Give Accommodation Some Thought

While hotels are great for the spoil factor, when you’re travelling with children they have their limits. Of course, it depends on what you want from your holiday, too. Maybe you’re looking for a week away from the kitchen, while others prefer self-catering accommodation so you can continue to cook family meals at a time that suits you.

11. Hire Baby Equipment

Instead of transporting all your baby equipment along with you, check out whether it can be hired at your destination. This includes car seats and prams. As traveller numbers grow, so too have equipment hire sites, making life easier for us all.

12. Encourage Your Child to Record the Trip

Anyone old enough to hold a camera should have a go at being a photographer. As the saying goes, “From little things, big things grow.” This is their chance to be creative and record the holiday as they see it. Let them experiment, but give a little guidance. And encourage older children to keep a journal, collecting little bits and bobs along the way. The result will be a collection of wonderful memories to treasure forever.


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