Travelling can be a lot of fun, you can explore the world, find new places and create new memories. But often, if you are travelling with kids, you might find when not fully prepared things can become a little bit difficult. This isn’t something that should come as a surprise to someone who’s planning on having kids or already has kids though.
As a parent or someone who is planning on becoming a parent, you have to accept that you might need to make a few changes to the things that you love doing. The weekend lie-ins that you might have craved after a long week of work, will suddenly be replaced with an early morning trip out to your local National Trust site or your local park with your kids.
But really, where’s the harm in that? Well even though you might want to spend all day in bed, at least now you have an excuse to get out of the house. The important thing to remember though is that it’s not all plain sailing when you go out with your kids. You need to make sure that you are prepared for everything. So here is the best advice I can give you when travelling with kids.
Keep Your Kids Engaged: At Any Age
This one is often something that new parents might forget, particularly if it is their first kid. But keeping your kid engaged is often the best way to keep them happy when travelling. Of course, a baby has very different needs to a toddler or even a tween, but no matter how old your kid is, it still is a good idea to some pre-trip research on kid-friendly activities near your destination.
A little preparation can go a long way, and obviously, these activities will depend on where you are going with your kids and how old they are. For example, you’ll probably find that infants are the easiest to travel with, so long as you can create a safe and comfortable environment where they can keep to the same sort of routine. Bring their favourite book, toy and even bottle to make this easier.
Toddlers, on the other hand, have a lot more energy than infants and are naturally curious at that age. Sure, you might want to go exploring around some old castles or historic places, maybe you even want to spend your day playing at the beach. But this will tire your toddler out, they’ll want to engage in all your activities so make sure they have plenty of downtime and rest.
As your kid reaches school age, a nice way to help them get excited about your travels is to let them be involved in the planning of the trip, even if it’s something small. If they pick the activity, they’ll be more engaged when the time comes. Make sure you give them some suggestions on things that they might like, rather than giving them no direction though, they’ll naturally pick the thing that interests them the most.
Teenagers are a bit more difficult in engaging with your travels because they do have a mind of their own. It’s best to let them take ownership in planning a part of your trip. This is something that they will appreciate. If you feel comfortable enough, and depending on age and location, you can even let them explore a place by themselves for an hour or two.
Planning and Packing for Your Travels
So, once you know where you are going, what you are doing, and what will keep your kids engaged. You need to make sure that you are incredibly organised before you go on your travels. You can’t just wing it, because you will undoubtedly forget something important, and that could cause a lot of issues halfway through your travels.
In the good old days, before kids, it was so easy to pack. You just had to throw in a few clothes and toiletries into your bad, find your passport and make sure you had your credit card. Now though, when you bring kids with you on your travels, that list becomes a lot longer, so it’s a good idea to note down what you need.
You should have a vague idea of what you would normally need in your day-to-day life. Things like formula, nappies, wet wipes, whatever you would normally bring with you are essentials now. Let’s not forget about your kid’s favourite cuddly toy! That could be a disaster if you accidentally left that at home. So, make a list, trust me, you’ll regret it if you don’t.
You can easily make a list on your phone now anyway, so it’s not a huge problem. And thanks to your phone you can also research where you’ll be travelling to. You’ll want to make sure that your accommodation is kid-friendly (you can email them before and ask about extra bedding for example).
You’ll also want to make sure that you know how you are travelling there – going by car, well make sure the child’s seat is set up correctly. Going by plane – well make sure you know when you need to be there by and that you have your tickets ready. Can you get a taxi to your accommodation, or are you getting a hire car? These are all important questions that you need to have an answer to.
Don’t Have a Busy Travel Schedule
When you are travelling with kids, you’ll want to make sure that you slow the day down. You can have a lot of fun with your kids, but you might also have some dramas at some point. If you have a jam-packed schedule, then tiredness kicks in. Babies might start crying, toddlers might have a tantrum and your teens might just go in a strop for whatever reason.
The best thing you can do when travelling is slow things down, don’t rush around places. You might be able to manage it, but your kids need to have that rest time. Instead, just extend your travels if you can. Instead of having a long weekend, have a week off instead. You’ll probably find that taking your time to slow down and take things in, means that you learn a thing or two as well.
You’ll have more time to relax, and all the places that you explore have a better lasting impression on you, besides you don’t want to miss out on something just because you were rushing around and wanted to see all the sites. Plus, your kids need that time off, and honestly so do adults (even if adults can cope better with a busy schedule), so take your time and relax.
If you know that your kids get tired easily, then when it comes to planning your travels, don’t plan a sightseeing trip every day. Instead, take some extra days off from work and plan a half-day trip. Go out and explore the world in the morning, and then come back and relax in the evening. You’ll have a much nicer time if you do this, and you’ll be rewarded with a fun and easy-going experience.
The Best Time to Travel with Kids
Having kids makes being able to go away at any time a bit tougher, plus you can only go away out of term time. In England, you can’t take your school-age kids on holiday during term time without risking a £60 fine! So even though you might get a cheaper holiday, is the fine worth the risk? You’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons of that yourself.
But even though you are limited to going during the holidays, there are still better times to go away with your kids. For example, if you are travelling in the UK, then the spring and autumn half terms and the Easter holidays offer better value for money compared to the summer break. Plus, you might find that you get just as nice weather, and aren’t spending your days sweating in the summer sun.
Choosing Accommodation is Super Important!
This is something which you need to decide on first. There are a few factors that go into choosing accommodation. One is comfort, two is how close it is to what you want to explore and three is will it be the perfect living accommodation whilst you are away from home with your kids? What will keep you and your kids the happiest?
You should think about your finances for this question as well, if you want to save money than staying in a hotel where you have to eat out every night might not be the best option. So why not look at an Airbnb, with a well-equipped kitchen. Or even go find a nice holiday cottage to stay in, a home away from home.
If you know the right people you could even look at “house sitting”. You can save a lot of money, and as a house sitter get to stay free in exchange for caring for the property and pets – it’s a pretty good deal if you know exactly where you want to go and for how long you are planning on being away. You get all the comforts without really having to spend much.
There is so much more that you can do and plan before you take your kids with you on your next holiday. It’s a huge milestone if you’ve never done it before and can be an adventure that is often fraught with worry. But the more you start travelling with them, you’ll realise what you can do. Sure, holidays might be a bit different to what they were before kids, but that’s not a bad thing.
You’ll probably find that people are always happy to help you when they see you with a young baby, you might even be able to get to cut the queues if you’re lucky enough! So, don’t worry too much about travelling with your kids. Your dream of going away to new places is still going to happen. Just be prepared.
Don’t let the fear of bringing your kids with you stop you from seeing the world and having an incredible adventure. They’ll grow up loving to travel just like their parents, and the best part is, you’ll get to explore the world together as a family.
So, when you are next travelling, the key thing is to just remember to have fun. Explore where you want, visit those castles, enjoy the beach, have fun exploring new cities and just take your time. The world is not going anywhere, and there is plenty of time to see it all with your kids! And these are memories which you will cherish forever!
Author Bio: Isobel blogs over at castlesandturret.com detailing historical houses, castles, and general day trips. Isobel also loves books and films; give her a historical romance and it would be a perfect afternoon. When it comes to her days off work, you can find Isobel outside and exploring as many places as she can with her partner!
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