With a bit of know-how, travelling with small children needn't be a hassle. Here are the best way to travel with kids.
Travelling with children can be a bit challenge on holiday. Whether they’re your own or someone else’s, factoring a child’s needs into your travels involves a lot more than sticking on a CD full of pop music and making toilet stops. But whatever it is you don’t need to be worry while travelling with your kids as here are some general measures which help you to travel with your kids in a very easy manner.
Planning of the trip
If its your first travel, plan for a slower pace than you might usually attempt. If you want to see more than one place, be realistic about what you can cover with little ones in tow. The less you feel you have to pack in, the more enjoyable and stress-free the holiday - and you'll be better able to take the odd day indoors in your stride if the weather is bad or the kids need to rest.
Whether you’re camping or staying in hotels, it pays to book ahead. Trying to retain the spontaneity of travel BC (Before Children) doesn’t pay off if you arrive at your destination to find you can’t bag a bed or pitch and have to hit the road again with tired, hungry toddlers melting down in the backseat.
Avoid those really cute pull bags, as inevitably they turn as the child pulls, the child gets upset, and you end up carrying a very unmanageable bag in addition to your own carry-ons. When possible, load their bags with some of the other things that you need, such as bottles, diapers and wipes. Even very young kids can carry a small backpack filled with their own diapers. This saves you space in your bag and makes the child feel like a “big” boy or girl.
Don’t forget the medicine
Whether they’re out of routine, jet-lagged, or eating less healthily, kids always seem to get ill on holiday. Dampen the impact of broken nights, frayed temperaments and fevers by packing an easy-to-swallow medicine such as Calpol in the UK. Other basic ingredients in your first aid kit should include antiseptic wipes, plasters, sting treatment, and a thermometer.
Do not bring one bag of chips, one bottle of juice, etc. when traveling with more than one child, as you do not want to have to deal with them fighting over who gets more. Avoid all foods that are sticky, messy or crumby. Make sure juice boxes are small and will be finished at one time or bring spill-proof cups.
Use public transport
Most toddlers love the novelty of travelling by train, bus and boat, so ditch the hire car and use public transport where possible. In Switzerland, my two-year-old would repeat the names of the metro stops as they were announced – provoking ripples of laughter and making him even more excited about boarding the train each day.
Hiking is an ideal travel activity with small children. They tire quickly of vehicles, with the possible exception of trains or boats (and even on those an hour or two is plenty), but they never seem to tire of the outdoors. They are intrigued with everything that passes by on a hike: forest, streams, rivers, oceans, other hikers. They particularly love spotting insects, reptiles, larger animals, and exotic birds.
Keep the activities going on
If you’re heading out on a long journey have a collection of toys to be handed out once an hour. Handheld puzzles, tiny colouring books, stickers, wordsearches and even tiny packs of Plasticine will pass the time on a long flight or car journey.
Resist the temptation to keep them going on a long journey by feeding them sweets. Pack a mixture of savoury snacks like cheese cubes, breadsticks, fruit and bagels – anything to avoid arriving in a strange city with children in the middle of a sugar rush.
If you're heading for the heat, choose clothes made from natural fibres - sweat irritates delicate skins and can lead to prickly heat or sweat rash. Expect to change your baby up to three times a day - particularly if they're not used to the heat and will sweat a lot.
It’s simple advice, but children dressed comfortably for the weather and terrain will be happier in a new environment. With all the gear available, there’s no excuse for dressing toddlers in ski-suits four sizes too big, forgetting their gloves, or leaving them barefoot on a beach where sea urchins lurk.