Going away as a family is a great chance to spend quality time together. On holiday, you’ll form fond memories that will last a lifetime. So when you get the chance to go away together, you’ll want to make the most of it – and that means a lot of planning and preparation. Not only have you got to research child-friendly destinations, but you’re responsible for making sure the trip runs smoothly. For toddlers and teens, this means different things. To help ensure your family holiday is a great one, we’ve gathered some of our top tips for travelling with kids of all ages.
Tips for travelling with toddlers
Travelling with younger kids can be a daunting prospect – but it’s also great fun for everyone involved. Check out our suggestions to ease your concerns:
Find out the baggage allowances
If you’re flying, you need to know how much you can take on board before you’re charged extra. Most airlines will allow you to take a pushchair and car seat, but the amount of weight on top of that varies massively. It’s always best to check in advance. The weight of all those baby wipes, extra clothes and medicines quickly adds up. The last thing you want is to be met with an extra charge at the start of your holiday.
Have some games ready to get them away from screens
Whether you’re hiring a car from the airport or travelling on holiday in your own car, you’ll want to keep your kids entertained for the journey. However, staring at tablet screens or books for too long can give a lot of youngsters motion sickness. Having to stop and clear it up will not be anyone’s highlight of the holiday. Instead, have a set of games ready that will keep the whole car entertained. I Spy, I’m going on a picnic and 20 questions are good ones to start with.
Dress children in the comfiest clothes
Whether you’re flying or driving, your kids need to be dressed for comfort. Soft textures, lots of layers and casual fitting clothes are best. If you’ve got room, it’s also worth taking a pillow and their favourite cuddly toy. That way, they can hopefully snuggle up and drift off to sleep for a good portion of the journey. When they wake up, fingers crossed you’ll almost be there and it will be time to get excited.
Teach them what to shout in an emergency
It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, but you need to prepare for the worst. Should your child be put in a threatening situation, just shouting and screaming might not grab the attention of passers-by. They could assume it’s a temper tantrum. But if you teach them to shout ‘leave me alone’ or ‘you’re not my mum/dad’ should they feel scared or forced to leave a place, it’s highly likely people will take notice and help your child.
Check their passports
As children’s passports run out every five years, it’s easier than you think to book a dream holiday and find out it’s no longer valid. But don’t let that be you. Find out the expiry dates and apply to renew in plenty of time. It will save a lot of stress and potential tears.
Tips for travelling with teens
As children get older, there’s a whole new set of challenges when going on holiday. You have to worry less about packing and carrying all of their essentials and more about keeping them entertained.
To make the most of a holiday with teenagers, we recommend the following:
Set water safety rules
When your children are competent enough to swim on their own, they’ll want to jump straight in and swim for hours. But to stay safe, there needs to be some ground rules. For instance, we recommend getting them to always tell you before they go swimming. That way, you can keep your eye on them from afar and remind them they probably need to spend a bit of time out of the midday sun.
In new places, establish a meeting point
With older kids, giving them a bit of freedom lets them enjoy their holidays more. But everyone needs to know when and where you’re meeting up. In new places, pick memorable locations and don’t panic when teenagers aren’t back exactly on time. They’ll probably be too busy exploring and having fun, ending up running to be 10 minutes late. It’s a good idea for you both to have a phone too. Being able to stay in touch will give you peace of mind. Also check whether the hotel or resort you’re staying at has Wi-Fi so your kid can keep in touch with their friends. It might not be important to you, but it definitely is for teenagers.
Give them some responsibility
Whether it’s reading the map or choosing the restaurant you’re eating at, letting your teenager have a bit of control will keep them busy and happy. They’ll have a sense of ownership over small parts of the holiday, giving them some purpose during journeys or down-times. Similarly, give them a budget of what they can spend during your trip so they can choose the activities they’d most like to do
Use up energy
It’s normally when they’re not occupied or have too much energy that teenagers cause any problems. So visit somewhere there’s lots to do and plan activities. Staying by the sea, for instance, means you can do paddle-boarding, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkelling and much more. When you’re armed with loads of suggestions, you’ll be ready to counter any complaints.
Give them a camera
You want to avoid those dreaded words ‘I’m bored’, but you also want to enjoy your holiday and do things you like. If you know it’s something your teenager isn’t too fond of, give them a camera to keep busy. For example, if you’re going to a castle to learn all about its history, they can snap away. What tips do you have for travelling with children? Share them with us.
Sources: https://www.skyscanner.net/news/flying-children-20-top-tips-keeping-kids-happy-board https://www.comparetravelinsurance.co.nz/resources/kids-safety-travel-guide http://www.parents.com/fun/vacation/ideas/8-fun-car-game-ideas/ http://mylittlenomads.com/tips-and-advice-for-traveling-with-children