Fed up of going on the standard two week package holiday to Spain and want to do something a bit more adventurous, but don’t know where to start? We have put together our top 5 tips on how to travel with children.
1. Package holidays aren’t always the way to go
If you time it right (and by right we mean about 3 months in advance) you can get some great deals on flights through comparison companies like Skyscanner. The same goes for accommodation – you can hire an entire home on Airbnb for the price of one night in some hotels, (Check out this place we have rented for a month in Bali) – and that’s what it is a home as opposed to a hotel room. Live like a local and you’ll see a whole different side to the country you’re in!
2. Making the best of your flight
If you can book a night flight – do it! You have a much better chance of your kid sleeping through most of it – if it’s long haul check if your airline provides bassinets for kids under 2 years. If you can’t book a night flight why not book one with a long stop over? A day in another country on the way to your final destination, not only means you get more out of your holiday, it means you and your kids get a break and it makes the flights either side shorter and easier to deal with!
Pack your bag full of surprises – whether it’s a lollipop or a magazine or a kinder egg – you can pull one out if your kid is getting bored and it will distract them for a while and it makes great bribery material!
If your kid won’t sleep or is having a tantrum – don’t worry about it! The stigma of screaming babies on a plane, is just that – most people have been there and will sympathise! If you want to butter them up beforehand though why not leave a chocolate and a little note on their seat before take-off? At least, have a conversation with them before taking off. Breaking the ice with people sat around you goes a long way.
3. Don’t make any plans for your first day
Kids are very flexible and will bounce back and adjust to different time zones in no time – that being said it’s better to err on the side of caution and not plan anything for your first day – it gives them and you time to recover and means nobody is disappointed if the first days activities don’t go to plan! We always make sure when we start our travels, we box off the first few days of just sleep and pool, to get over the flight.
4. Do your research
No, we don’t mean plan every second of your holiday meticulously because things don’t always go to plan. However, it doesn’t hurt to do a quick google search and see what facilities there are for kids at the airport you’re flying from – if there’s a play area it’ll keep them entertained and let them burn off steam before boarding your flight. Also have a quick look to see what there is to do with kids at your chosen destination – chances are they are not going to want to trail around museums and may be too young for any extreme sports! It’s always useful to check reviews on the place you are going to, TripAdvisor and Trip.com are the sites we use the most
5. You don’t need to pack everything except the kitchen sink!
We travel for months at a time with our two sons and only ever take 2 backpacks with us – so clothes wise we stick to one to wear, one spare and one for the wash! You can always pick up anything else you need on the way.
If you’re travelling with young children take enough nappies, wipes and milk etc. for the first few days but don’t feel you have to weigh yourself down with enough for the whole trip. Even third world countries have baby supplies – if we can find what we need on a Philippine island that is only accessible by what was essentially a big canoe…so can you! If you’re still not sure – pack a few re-usable nappies just in case.
Cheeky Bonus tip
Did you know that If you smile nicely enough and ask politely enough most airports will usher you the front of all queues when you’re travelling with infants, so you don’t have to keep them entertained while standing in line!