Travelling With Kids
Family holidays should be a time of fun and relaxation, but parents can find them quite stressful. Here's some advice for Travelling With Kids
Parents often say that packing for kids was the most stressful part of their holiday. An awful lot of parents of children under five say that what worries them most is the fear of exceeding their baggage allowance. So here are some ideas to make it easier.
- Babies travel with a lot of kit, however some airlines don't give you baggage allowance for your infant if they have not been booked their own seat. Make sure you check your infant's baggage allowance before you travel so there are no nasty shocks at the airport.
- To save space try and find out whether you can buy your baby essentials such as nappies and baby food at the supermarket overseas. Alternatively check to see if you can pre-book a baby pack.
- To save space in your hand luggage and make nappy changing on-board easier, prepare individual nappy sacks with clean nappies and wipes to avoid taking a huge changing bag into the toilets with you.
At the Airport
Unsurprisingly more than a third of parents find the airport the most stressful part of travelling with kids. Certainly, hanging around with young children, surrounded by masses of people is not a scenario most would choose, however there are ways to make it better.
- It's a great idea to pack snacks for children to munch on at the airport or on the flight however make sure the snacks don't contain any liquids as they are limited to 100ml and must be carried in a clear, resealable plastic bag.
- Dress the children in bright coloured organic clothes so they can be easily spotted in busy airport departure lounges should they wander off at the airport. Organic cotton clothing will ensure they’re as cool and comfy as possible when they’re on the plane too.
- Make sure you give yourselves plenty of time to check in and go through security. Remember that it takes longer when you've got kids and there is nothing more stressful then nearly missing your flight! If you live near the airport check to see if you can check in the day before you travel not only is it quieter, it saves a lot of time on the day, perfect if you have an early morning flight.
Keeping Boredom at Bay
The biggest concern parents have about holidays and travelling with kids is keeping the little ones occupied. Most parents with kids over five said that their main concern when booking family holidays was whether the destination would have enough for them to do.
- If you want some time lying by the pool reading it's quite a good idea to book a holiday with a kids club. Make sure the hotel you choose has suitable kids clubs available for the age of your child as there's nothing kids hate more than being sent off to play with 'little ones' or being made to feel like a baby.
- Family holidays are a great opportunity to spend time as a family, see new places and try new things. Going to the local water-park, spending the day on a boat trip or visiting an interesting cultural site will break the holiday up if you spend most of the time in your hotel and give you something to remember the holiday by.
- If you have an only child or your children's age gap is quite big it's a good idea to go with other families or bring a friend along with you. They'll love the extra company and siblings will be less prone to argue with someone else to play with.
It's a difficult balance satisfying fussy little eaters with grown ups who want to try local fare and eat out.
- No one wants to spend their whole holiday cooking but neither do you necessarily want to spend your whole holiday eating at the hotel. However in the last few years new options have become available. Many all-inclusive resorts now offer numerous a la carte restaurants as well as the standard buffet.
- A lot of family hotel resorts offer both self-catering and all-inclusive within the same complex and have apartment style rooms as standard. Often, all-inclusive can be easier for families with young children, with the cost of all those treats for little ones being included in the price of your holiday.
- If any of your family members have got food allergies ask your hotel for a card written in the local language saying what you're allergic to. It'll make all the difference when eating out.
Health on Holiday
Spending time in the sun is one of the joys of being on holiday, however if you're not careful enjoying it can lead to sunburn and sickness. We found that two thirds of parents worried about sunburn and sunstroke when it comes to travelling with kids.
- Make sure your kids drink plenty of water, even if they don't think they're thirsty, as they need to stay hydrated. Giving them sugary or fizzy drinks won't do the job - no matter what the funky ads say. To make sure they're not dehydrated, you could check your kid's urine from time to time. If it's darker than usual, cloudy or strong-smelling, get them to drink more
- Dress for the heat especially if you are out on an excursion for the day. Sweat irritates sensitive skin and can give you prickly heat or sweat rash, so make sure you bring plenty of clothes made from natural fibres. Organic cotton kids clothes are best of all.
- If you are out in the sun for any length of time make sure you are all wearing hats as well as sunscreen. Ones with wide brims and neck flaps are the best for youngsters playing outdoors
- Get your kids some shades. Not only will they be the coolest kids on the beach, they'll be better protected against the sun's glare. After all, their eyes are more vulnerable than yours
- The sun's rays are much more powerful in the water so if the kids are swimming in the pool or sea in the middle of the day cover their shoulders up either with a special UV suit or with an old t-shirt.
Hopefully these tips will help you and your family enjoy your well deserved holiday. We hope you have a great time away with your little ones!
Kathryn Crawford, parenting writer, Granny-to-be and founder of MrandMrs50Plus.com