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Travelling with kids can be challenging, especially when long flights and different time zones are involved. Nobody can predict how your children will behave during the journey whether it is by car, train or plane. What you can do though, is prepare them, and yourself, to make this special family experience as positive as possible. We’ve got five helpful tips below which we hope will encourage you to take the plunge and get out to explore the world with your brood.
When it comes to flying, it’s best to travel in the evening to make it smoother for all involved. After you get through security, get the kids into their pyjamas, brush their teeth and let them know it’s bedtime. If all goes well they will drop off quite quickly after the excitement of take off (we hope, we pray!) Meaning you can get some shuteye yourself. Avoid giving them access to Tablets, Phones or In-Flight entertainment. Instead, play some relaxing music in their ears with pre-downloaded music on your phone or mp3 player.
With all the excitement, both parents and kids usually struggle to sleep well the night before travelling. Take this as an opportunity to prepare any last minute bits for your trip, minimising the stress of travel day.
We all know how difficult it can be to get out of the house on time with young children, and chances are leaving to go on holiday will take ten times as long! Set off even earlier than you think you need, to anticipate any traffic jams and toilet stops. The last thing you want is to be rushing to make your flight. Don’t worry about arriving to the airport or the train station super early- you will have access to lounges, cafés and shops to kill the time.
Ask your kids the day before to prepare their own little bag with their favourite toys and books. They can feel a little bit more at home when on holiday. Then, make sure you have some extra space in their bags to add surprises like healthy snacks, a new toy, colouring books or their favourite comic/magazine. This way they will have plenty to entertain them during the journey, when they’re not sleeping. You could also make some time to browse the airport shops to pick up one or two gifts for them.
So you’ve read the guide book, and your exciting itinerary is crammed full of great sightseeing and tours. However, it’s important to consider that maybe your kids won’t be able to cope with all of them. Make sure you take a break between visits and consider a maximum of 2 outings per day. It is important that your kids also relax on their holiday. Take them to a nice coffee shop or a child-friendly restaurant where they can play. Don’t feel guilty about returning to your hotel or apartment for a nap. You will appreciate this quiet time too, and your kids will wake up full of energy again to go to the park or visit another museum.
This activity has been around for generations, but unfortunately, with 21stcentury technology at our fingertips, we have forgotten to take a pause and write a journal (the handwritten kind, not digital)! Even if your kids don’t know how to write yet, you can help them by creating a book of mementos. They can draw a picture, stick some photos in or save those gallery entry tickets. Take 15 minutes at the end of the day to remember what you did, and encourage your kids to create these memories on paper. When returning home, after your holiday it’s lovely to look back on these beautiful diaries and remember the trips you did with your little ones.
Emily McCallie-Crook is a freelance copywriter and editor at BabyBreaks. She writes recommendations for family travel in destinations around Europe. Emily was previously Senior Editor at the travel company Voyage Privé and she is a proud mother of a young boy. Guillaume Thevenot founded BabyBreaks in 2018 with one goal in mind: to inspire parents with young children to explore different holiday destinations; without the fear of not finding the right suitable activities, restaurants or accommodations for their kids.