There are few things more rewarding in life than taking your little family on holiday. Introducing them to new things, seeing their faces light up and spending quality time together- absolute bliss. But planning a family trip does take work since there are additional things to think about when traveling with kids. Here are a few points to consider.
Set a Budget
The first step to planning any holiday is to set a budget. Work out exactly how much money you’re playing with, and it will give you a better idea of what to look for when you start searching. Along with plane tickets and accommodation, you have transfers, airport parking, excursions and days out, spending money and new clothes all to budget for so make a list and ensure nothing is left off. You also need to find out what the holiday you’re booking with classes as an ‘infant’ ‘child’ and ‘adult’ too as this will drastically affect prices. For example, some places will class those under sixteen as children; others might require you book an adult ticket if they’re as young as eleven. Those classed as infants won’t be entitled to their own seat and will need one adult per child to travel. So depending on the ages of children you’re traveling with, this is something you will need to look into when working out your budget.
Choose The Right Destination
Choosing the perfect family destination will be a lot different to picking a romantic getaway or a carefree break with friends. There are lots of other things to think about when it comes to traveling with kids. First, think about the temperature. Scorching or cold climates are probably not going to be the best choice, something with a warm but mild temperature is likely to be best. If you’re set on a particular place in the world but are worried about the weather, look into how it differs throughout the year. Going in the spring or autumn might offer a more moderate climate. Your second thing to consider is safety. Since certain diseases are prominent in different countries, they might be worth avoiding since children are especially vulnerable. Places in the world where there are political instability and wars in bordering countries might have high levels of crime and violence. Do your research beforehand and try to choose somewhere that’s as safe as possible. If you want everything you need right on your doorstep and don’t want to venture too far out, go with an all inclusive resort. That way everything is covered, and you have all of the shops, restaurants and whatever else you need in walking distance. Choose a family friendly hotel which offers all of the facilities you need, from cots or children’s rooms to a kids club or childminding service if you and your partner want to get away one evening.
Bring Lots To Do
Long journeys can be arduous for both adults and children alike. You might be able to keep yourself busy with a book or a few games of Foxy Bingo, but when it comes to children, you need to be well prepared. Books, coloring books, travel games, pen and paper games are all an option. Bringing a tablet along is a good way to keep kids entertained, download plenty of kids tv shows and movies before setting off. A couple of power bank chargers to prolong the battery life as long as possible is also a must. If you’re on a nicer flight, each person will have their own entertainment in the back of the headrest in front, with some movies, games, and music. Find out if this is included in your flight and what kinds of things will be shown, that way you know what additional things to bring. Bored kids are more likely to cause you a problem, so anything you can bring along to keep them entertained is going to make your life much easier. In the weeks and months leading up to the holiday, keep your eyes peeled in toy shops and other places for little things you can bring along.
Load Up on Snacks
We all know airplane food isn’t the nicest and can be bad enough for us as adults to stomach. So picky kids aren’t likely to tuck in, so bringing your own snacks is essential. Along with boredom, being hungry is another reason they’re likely to throw tantrums so make sure all of your bases are covered! You can take your food onto a plane, the only thing to be aware of is you can’t take liquids over 100ml. So soups and very saucy dishes should be avoided (not that these would be the most practical choices anyway!) Cereal bars, dried fruit, sandwiches, all of the regular packed lunch things you would usually give them are fine. A couple of sweet treats for bribery could be a good idea in this situation too, even if you don’t normally operate in this way it will make your life easier on a busy flight or transfer!
Book a Night Flight
If you think that your children aren’t going to behave particularly well on a plane, or are worried they will become moody or exhausted, how about booking a night flight? That way the lights will be dimmed, and the plane will be quiet which is far less sensory overload and should allow them to drift off to sleep. Sleeping throughout certainly makes life easier for you! You could take them to a park or play center the day of the trip to wear themselves out and mean they’re more likely to sleep on the way.
Don’t Overfill Your Schedule
Whenever you’re traveling as a family with your children, it’s best to allow extra time. Cramming your schedule so full that you’re rushing around from place to place is going to cause you all stress. Plus if your children are very young, there are bound to be unforeseen stops needed. Whether it’s a toilet accident, a food spill or a tantrum, giving yourself that little bit of extra time is crucial and stop the situation feeling overwhelming. If you have a few different day trips and other things planned, space them out over the holiday. Allow ‘free’ days in between where you can relax and chill by the pool or beach. It makes everything feel less hectic and gives you all a chance to catch your breath. Again it stops kids from getting too tired and allows you to spend the quality time together you probably had in mind when you booked the trip!
Speak To Children
While being away and having fun is fantastic, the actual traveling from A to B isn’t. It can be a bit of a struggle, especially if it’s a child’s first long journey. Letting them know what’s going to be happening, so they’re aware, and telling them what kind of behavior you expect could be worthwhile if they’re old enough to understand. Describe what the plane will be like in simple terms to stop them from getting overwhelmed or over excited. If they know that they have to sit in their seat quietly while they’re traveling but once they arrive there will be plenty of fun and exciting things to do, it could be enough to persuade them to behave well.
Do you have any family trips planned this summer? What additional considerations do you think about when traveling with your children?