25 Sure-Fire Travel Hacks for Families with Kids
Travelling with kids can be quite a challenge at the best of times. The children can become very stressed especially when you are going on a longer trip which requires a fair amount of travelling. This is not only distressing for the children but also for the parents so its best to make the experience as pleasant for both the children and the adults, after all we are all going on a holiday. Whether it is your first time abroad or you are a seasoned traveller, you need not worry we have compiled some great tips and tricks that will be able to keep you and the kids happy the whole time. Let's look at 25 different travel tips that will come in handy during on your next adventure.
1. Take it Easy
Should this be your first time travelling with kids, take it slow. Remember that they are not accustomed to this experience. Be realistic about what you expect to accomplish when travelling with young children. Cramming in lots to do will make your trip feel like a chore, you will be rushing all over the place not getting a chance to enjoy your holiday. Instead pick a few things you want to do and stick to those, if you have spare time then you can always find things to do whilst there.
2. Split the Responsibilities
It can be tough for one person to constantly monitor children during a trip. So, split up the responsibility between yourself, your spouse or even an older sibling. In this manner, no single individual will become too stressed and your family holidays will be much more enjoyable for everyone. Furthermore, it will give everyone a chance to have a well deserved respite.
3. Special Needs Children
There is nothing wrong with enjoying family holidays with special needs children. Never be nervous about this. Instead, try to talk to other parents in a similar situation to you and see what advice they have to give. There is nothing wrong with asking for a bit of help, people are generally very helpful in sharing there tips when it comes to travelling abroad. We have also produced a guide to Autism Friendly Holidays.
4. Bring Along Your Food
One of the best travel tips is to prepare food ahead of time for the journey. Children can be finicky eaters and bringing their favourite foods from home can be a saviour. It will also ensure that you do not waste money at a restaurant on food that they refuse to eat. In addition if you are travelling a long distance you will not need to worry about where you next pit stop will be, you will have loaded all their favourites in the car ready for anytime they get hungry.
5. The Smartphone
One of the reasons why travelling with kids can be so tough is the fact that they become bored easily. Download a couple of fun games on your smartphone and allow them to play to their heart's content. Your children will be quite happy and you can enjoy some much-needed rest and relaxation. Alternatively if you have a tablet you can upload some of their favourite tv shows and movies, this will keep them entertained throughout the journey.
On the other side of the coin, it is a great idea to play games WITH your children during a journey. Some great ideas can be counting number plates, identifying the types of cars that you see or if flying, trying to spot landmarks from the air. Sometimes children just want to interact with you do not forget this can be a exciting but new experience and all they are looking for is some comfort.
7. Remember Your Downtime
Family holidays can be exhausting for children. One of the main reasons why they may become cranky is from sheer exhaustion. Never forget that they are still growing and do not have the energy that you possess. Make sure they get plenty of rest and do not make they have extremely long days there is nothing wrong with a good old afternoon nap.
8. Child-Friendly Attractions
While you will enjoy a trip to the Louvre or the Pyrenees mountains, these sights may not appeal to children. One of the best travel tips is to design part of your holiday around the needs of your children. Look for amusement parks, water rides and other fun things for the children to experience.
9. Plan Ahead
The best way to plan ahead when travelling with kids is to make sure that the location you are visiting is suited for a child. Does the town, city or region have sights that little ones will enjoy? Answering these questions ahead of time will help to avoid any unexpected surprises.
Make certain that the hotel or campsite that you have reserved is equipped with child-friendly activities. These will most often include playrooms, amusement parks and even live entertainment. There are even some which provide professional babysitting services while you and your other half are out and about.
Your family holidays can become a nightmare if you find that your child has suddenly become dehydrated. This is particularly the case in warmer climates such as the Mediterranean. Make sure that your little ones drink plenty of water and avoid beverages high in sugar.
12. Healthy Eating
Simply because you and the family are on holiday abroad your eating habits should not change dramatically. Make certain that your child does not have too much sugar. Otherwise, it may be nearly impossible for them to get to sleep especially if you are going to be travelling. The sugar makes they hyperactive, as they become restless it will be increasingly uncomfortable for them to sleep.
13. All-Inclusive Holidays
Travelling with kids can be quite expensive. Another one of the most useful travel tips is to book all-inclusive holidays when planning any excursion. Not only will the rates be significantly discounted, but most of these packages will take into account families with children. By all means this does not mean all inclusive holidays are the only way to go, sometimes the savings of a B&B or Half Board holidays can be significantly greater so always keep this in mind when booking.
14. More Tickets?
Another great tip for family holidays concerns travelling by bus or train. In either case, try to reserve one extra seat. The reason that this is important is that children should be given room to move around in order to feel relaxed. Purchasing an extra seat will also allow them to more easily play with their toys. This is usually possible when booking a DIY holiday and maybe not always cost a lot if you book the flights during the promotional periods.
15. Portable DVD Players
It is no secret that every child loves videos, music and movies. Travel tips will therefore often revolve around the use of these handy gadgets. Be sure to have a CD/DVD close by at all times. Providing your child with their favourite film or video and giving them a pair of earphones will keep them entertained for hours.
16. Comfortable Clothing
The best way to keep your child comfortable is by choosing loose-fitting clothing during their journey and while they are at the destination. This can also to help avoid overheating in warm climates. So make sure you pack the shorts, t shirts and vests however, never forget that sometimes the evenings can be cold so at least one pair of trousers and a sweater depending on when you are travelling. It is also critical you do not forget their hat and sun glasses as the sun can cause sun stroke.
17. Bring Along Medication
If your child suffers from allergies or has a pre-existing medical condition, make certain to pack any medication before you leave. In other parts of the world, medicine can be extremely expensive and in some cases, it may not be available whatsoever.
18. Bottled Water
The stomach of a child is much more sensitive than yours. Tap water from foreign countries should therefore be avoided. Instead, only choose to drink and cook with bottled water also make sure you check the seals of water bottles especially in third world countries as sometimes they may have tampered with the bottles.
19. Outdoor Excursions
If you plan on visiting the great outdoors during your family holidays, be sure to give your child time to explore. They are less interested in getting from point to point but are rather interesting in understanding and exploring the area around them, they generally love the outdoors and freedom.
The skin of any child is extremely sensitive to sunlight; particularly if you plan on visiting tropical locations. Bringing along child-friendly sunblock this will ensure they are comfortable and free from pain at all times, it will also ensure they do not get sun burnt.
21. Buying Keepsakes
While you may enjoy documenting your trip with photographs, children are much more physical in their desires. So, allow them to choose a few souvenirs during their stay. This can provide memories to last a lifetime. Think about where you buy these from you can often pick up the same souvenir in town for half the cost so don't be fooled in buying this items at tourist attractions.
22. Pay Attention
It can be easy to become distracted from your children when visiting exotic locations. Remember that they are part of the experience as well. By involving them in the planning process they will show a lot more enthusiasm and their level of excitement is will be much greater.
23. Keeping a Journal
Kids find it fun to document their holidays. If your child can write, encourage them to take down notes within a journal. Not only is this a great habit, but they can look back when they are older and become immersed in the memories.
24. Local Toys
Not only are toys from a far-off location novelty items, but they will allow your child to identify with a specific culture. During your stay, they may even make a friend or two!
25. Keeping It Simple
Above all, make sure that your family holidays are not too demanding on the child. By keeping your plans simple and stress free will gaurentee everyone will have a much more pleasant experience. Make sure you have included everyone in your plans and this will most certainly ensure you guys enjoy your much need time away from home!