Travelling with kids can seem like a nightmare that you’d rather avoid. Not only is it more expensive, but you’ve also got to think about keeping your children entertained and well-fed, as well as the logistics of the travel itself. If you’re planning your first trip with children, or you simply need a few suggestions for how to make it easier, here are our top tips.
Be prepared for long delays
Whether you’re flying or taking a road trip, be prepared for long delays to your journey. Carry enough activities and toys to keep children entertained in the event of a delay, thinking about games that they can easily play on the go that result in little mess. It’s also worth bringing travel pillows and lightweight blankets in case a delay goes into the night and your children need to sleep.
Give them a toy camera
Keep your children interested in their surroundings by giving them a toy or disposable camera to take photos during your travels. If you take photos of yourself, they can imitate you or can simply snap away. A toy camera can also serve as a welcome distraction if you’re hoping to spend some time relaxing and need a break from playing games.
Bring everything you need
Don’t assume that you’ll be able to find all of your home comforts in the place you are visiting. Bring everything that you need, such as medicine, weather-appropriate clothing and nappies, even if it means taking extra luggage. There’s nothing worse than spending entire days searching for essential items that you could easily have brought with you.
Pack plenty of bite-sized healthy snacks for eating on the go, alleviating the need to buy expensive food while on the go. If you’re flying, check with your airline to see if there are any regulations on food and drink you can bring with you on the plane. Remember to include reusable cutlery and water bottles.
Start a travel journal
If you have older children, encourage them to keep a travel journal. Not only will this distract them during long journeys and give them something to do when they’re bored, but it will encourage them to take an interest in the places that you visit and perhaps even to learn the basics of the local language.
Check airline baggage allowances
Before you turn up at the airport with a suitcase for each child and a buggy, check the baggage allowances for the airline you are travelling with. Depending on who you are flying with and the type of tickets you have purchased, you may have to pay extra for children’s baggage or to store a buggy in the hold.
Carry the necessary paperwork
Dependent on where you are travelling to and from, you may need to carry more paperwork than simply your passports. If your child is adopted, you should always take their adoption papers when travelling and if you are travelling without the other parent you may need proof of consent to take the child abroad. If your child has a different surname to your own, check before you travel if you need to bring extra identification or a letter of permission.
Use a child monitor
It’s easy to lose track of your children when travelling, especially at busy airports or when negotiating cities. Child monitors can easily be worn (usually around the wrist) so if you lose sight of your child you can activate an alarm that allows you to quickly locate them.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.