Keep calm and carry on! Advice for travelling with kids.
Are we nearly there yet? We've all heard it a thousand times haven't we? It's so old hat now that it's gone beyond a cliche. But if anything spells out what it's like to travel with kids it's those five little words. It says it all: I'm bored, I want to be there now, I'm fed up with travelling. Of course there's nothing you can do to make the journey go faster or to get you there any quicker, but there are lots of ways of keeping them on your side until you get there.
So, seeing as half term is looming here in England and Wales and the October holiday starts today in many parts of Scotland, we thought it would be useful to offer some travel advice and tips for parents, grand parents, aunties and uncles travelling with young children. Good luck!
- Make it fun. That’s the best advice we could ever give. If it’s fun it won’t be stressful. But if you’re stressed, they will be too.
- Manage your expectations and don’t try to do too much in one day. When they get tired it’s going to kick off!
- Taking the ferry? Book a cabin. On a rough crossing it’ll be the best £30 you ever spent.
- Work as a team. If there are two or more of you, help each other. One can entertain the kids whilst the other drives / fetches the car / books the taxi etc...
- Don’t forget the comfort blankets and favourite cuddly toys. Parents beware the toddler who lost his doo. That’s all we are saying.
- Long journeys are hell for kids. So make sure you have plenty of games and toys and can keep them entertained with word games, singing (ABBA mostly) and joke telling.
- If they can walk, encourage them to. Getting by without a buggy can save some space and headaches. It also helps to tire them out, which can be useful on long journeys.
- Leave plenty of time for wee stops. You know that already though, don’t you?
- Treat them. How about a rule whereby they are only allowed treats like fast food on holidays? It’s a good incentive to behave!
- Encourage them to pack and carry their own stuff in a little rucksack or bag. They will soon learn to look after it!
- Pack as light as you dare but don’t forget the essentials.
- Put together a kids’ emergency box. Include Calpol, plasters, antihistamine (for stings and bites) and any of their medicines.
- Make sure you’ve got some sun cream in your case somewhere. You never know, the sun may shine. Especially important in hot countries as kids can burn easily.
- Don’t stress if you forget something. Most stuff you can buy where you’re going.
- Take spare clothes for long ferry or plane journeys. If they get ill you'll need these. You don’t want them to sit in it for five hours do you?
- Pack pens and pencils. Small enough to pack away, fun enough to fill the long hours.
- Take car seats if you are going on a fly drive. Hiring them can be expensive and most airlines won’t charge you for carrying them.
- Have some nice surprises up your sleeve. Got a child related problem? Whip out a nice surprise and you’ll have your sanity back - for a few moments at least.
- Don’t be a stressed out parent hassling to get on the plane first. Relax and be calm. They won’t separate you from your kids if you board last. Others will have to move to make room for you!
- Make sure your World First Travel Insurance is in order. Little gripes and visits to the doctor can soon add up. Best be worry free with a good policy that will cover you all - including your medical conditions.
- Take some time out. If you can, find a reliable babysitter for at least one night. It’ll give you a break and allow you time to refresh yourselves.