Are you taking the kids on holiday? I travel with my kids a lot, so I’m always looking for ways to make travelling with children easier.
10 Top tips for travelling with children
1. Book an apartment
Family resorts aren’t really for me. I’m more of a throw a rucksack on my back and a child on each arm and explore kind of girl. I often book an apartment via Airbnb. It gives us more space and was a lifesaver when the kids still had naps, as it meant that I didn’t have to creep around the hotel room whilst they were sleeping.
An apartment also saves on the cost of eating out. When travelling with children you might find that the time that people eat abroad doesn’t fit in with your kids body clocks. My kids wake up really early and want breakfast immediately. Equally they’re often tired by the time people eat in the evening abroad. An apartment gives us the flexibility to eat when we need to. We often eat lunch out, but won’t eat out for dinner every night.
2. Make sure the accommodation has a lift
If the accommodation has stairs make sure that there is a reasonable sized, working lift and that there aren’t hundreds of stairs to get to the accommodation. I once booked a fantastic Airbnb with a stunning view in Croatia. To get to the front door I had to lug the buggy up about 80 stairs and then up a further 3 flights of stairs! I was travelling with children on my own, so it made it very tricky if we were going out. I couldn’t leave my youngest in the apartment, but I couldn’t carry the buggy and help her down the stairs at the same time!
I booked an apartment in Spain which had a tiny lift, that only carried two people at a time. My options were for the three of us to walk up the stairs, or for me to send them up on their own, which despite their protests they were too young to do.
3. Buy a kids suitcase
My children love being independent, so I’ve bought them each a kids suitcase. I often travel with them on my own. They love the suitcases so much that they’re happy to pull their own suitcase, which makes my life a lot easier! There are obviously loads of kids suitcases on the market, but I would definitely recommend these Cabin Max kids suitcases. They have a space for your teddy bear, so it doesn’t have to be squished into the suitcase. With a standard suitcase my children would be so concerned about whether teddy could breathe that we would never make it on holiday!
They have a pull along handle, which the kids like to use as it means that they’re like ‘grown-up’ suitcases. They also have rucksack straps for if they’d rather carry them on their backs, or if they abandon them en route and you have to carry them! The handle on the top is also useful for when you’re going up and down the escalators in the airport. They’ve got space for water bottles on the side and an inside pocket for the aeroplane entertainment. You can fit a lot in them, so this is the only luggage that we use for the kids.
4. Pack efficiently
If you’re travelling with children pack the bare minimum, so that if you end up carrying all the bags it’s o.k! The last thing you want is for you all to be tired and irritable before you’ve even got there. If it’s a beach or pool holiday the kids will probably spend most of their time in their swimming costumes. Roll clothes up to pack them. Stuff underwear into shoes and wear your heaviest clothing. If you’re arriving late pack their pyjamas on the top, so that it’s quick and easy to get them into bed when you arrive.
5. Don’t forget the medicine
I once travelled around New Zealand with my eldest when she was just under 2 years old. She had a raging temperature and I’d forgotten to pack the Calpol. We drove from town to town in search of medicine but she was too young for what was available. It can be very daunting when you’re away from home with a poorly child, so it’s best to be prepared. Now I take Calpol sachets with me when I travel.
6. Take baby wipes
Even if your children are beyond the age of nappies baby wipes can be really useful. My eldest suffers from travel sickness so the wipes have come in handy many a time!
7. Screen-free aeroplane entertainment for kids
My kids would happily use the iPad throughout a flight, but it makes them hyperactive and I worry about the effects. So here are my screen-free alternatives for kids entertainment:
- Magnetic games – My youngest has some magnetic play books which she loves creating scenes on (basically a magnetic version of fuzzy felts!)
- Art activities – Squidgydoodle Mini Craft Kits are great to take on a plane, as they’re paint free, so not messy and include everything you need to complete the activity
- Card games – Our favourites are Dobble, Uno and Snap
- Sticker books – My youngest loves any kind of sticker book. My eldest likes fashion sticker books which allow you to be a fashion stylist.
- Puzzle books e.g. word searches, cross words, mazes
- Colouring books – My eldest likes it if we buy a ‘grown-up’ colouring book and I colour it in with her.
- Interactive books – e.g. Where’s Wally?
- Audio books and headphones
- Snacks – It’s not really entertainment but it passes the time, especially if you pick things that take a long time to eat! I try to avoid sweets as the sugar rush can be hard to handle when stuck on a plane. I take breadsticks, fruit, rice cakes etc.
8. Take a travel car seat
We take these inflatable car seats with us when we’re travelling with children. They’re great if you’re using taxis or a transfer vehicle as it means that your children are safe. They roll up really small when not in use so can fit in the kids suitcase as well as all their luggage!
9. Use public transport
I often hire a car to get to my accommodation, but once I’m there I use public transport as much as possible. What is just a train, bus, boat or tram ride for you or I is an adventure for kids. My kids love getting the tickets, helping to decipher the map and watching out for the right stop. My youngest still talks fondly about the trams in Lisbon and my eldest loves a cable car ride!
10. Get the kids to keep a travel journal
One year I bought both kids plain notebooks and pens to take away. They drew amazing pictures and wrote about what they did. They also stuck in tickets for the places they’d been. We took them with us when we went to restaurants and they’d update them with the days adventures whilst waiting for their food. They made a really lovely souvenir of the trip.
I hope you like my top tips for travelling with children. If you’ve got any tips I’d love to hear them.
You might also like:
- How to reduce kids screen-time with 50 boredom busting ideas
- 21 fantastic ways to keep the kids entertained in the holidays
- School holiday entertainment for when you run out of ideas!
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