Travelling with kids can be hard work and even traumatic at times. Those little bundle of joys can turn into 3 foot 6 of pure dynamite if not handled carefully and there is nothing like a busy airport or long road trip to test your handling abilities.
Here some ideas to help with keeping the trip as much fun as you had imagined when first booking it.
Plan your trip well allowing plenty of time to arrive at the airport, security and gate. Plan it then give your self another half hour. Security could be busy. Last summer due to strike action we queued 4 hours at one airport. Luckily we was aware of the delay. Had we arrived 2 hours before as advised by the airline we would have missed our flights. Get there late and all of a sudden you need to rush through an airport with two young children. Not fun and highly stressful. Slow Down and arrive early. The journey should be part of the fun and your kids will appreciate the time to notice the airport,the aircraft and the staff going about their business. Slowing down and arriving early truly makes it a great experience for everybody. If you are on a long drive incorporate plenty of stop offs at parks if possible. You can have a coffee and relax whilst the kids burn some steam off in the park for 30 minutes.
Our kids can become really cranky when tired, hungry or both. We try to take a range of healthy but long lasting snacks to keep them fed and topped up through the day, Fortunately, ours love fruit so apples, raisins, grapes, bananas work a treat as they will sit all day without going off. A small sandwich also goes in there and don’t forget a drink. Remember, airports wont let you take fluids through but you can take an empty water bottle through and fill it after the security checks. Also when flying we try to include a couple of sucking sweets or a lollypop as these can help the kids, or ours, painful ears when landing. Giving them sweets at this time can also distract them from the take off or landing which potentially may be scary for them.
A simple activity book from an airport shop or a garage can provide your kids some entertainment on the way. Colouring in will need crayons so don’t forget those. Older kids can try word puzzles and even crosswords. Try creating a competition between kids if you are travelling with more than one.
Quite frankly our I-Pads have been the greatest thing ever for travelling with the kids. As much as we try to limit the amount of screen time daily, all that goes out of the window when travelling. A movie will take care of most flights around Europe. Remember headphones so they can have sound whilst your fellow passengers get peace. I have also found the headphones keep the kids more focused on the movie as they are less likely to be distracted. We preload ours with fun and educational games to keep them occupied. Just check they can be played offline for flights. A good padded case is essential for these as they will get knocked about and dropped a lot.
Travelling with young children through busy airports, train or bus stations can be difficult as you are constantly being distracted by finding the right gates to go through. If you have young children that like to wander, or not, then brand them. Not with a hot iron of course but write down their names and your mobile number on their arms / hands. Should they go missing it will help get them reunited quickly if an adult has your number to call
It doesn’t matter how old your brood are or even if you don’t have kids. Never travel without a pack of baby wipes. They are essential, especially with young children to keep them clean and sticky free. Wipesy also great for dealing with the orange juice you kids is destined to spill everywhere.
Buy them a camera. You can find great children’s digital cameras on Amazon for less than £50. The cameras let the kids create their own memories and keeps them occupied and interested in what is going on around them. It also provides great talking points when you get home and you can sit down with the kids and their photos and remember what they saw.
Ahhh the famous Trunki. I must admit I was in two minds whether to include the now famous Trunki for kids. Our kids love them and we get their clothes in them easily plus the kids have space to pack a couple of small toys. I am told when the kids legs are tired they can sit on them whilst you pull them along. My experience is that doesn’t work quite so well, especially when you have your case to drag around as well. When the Trunki really gets great though is when your kids are tired of dragging it about and now you have to schlepp the case around. At this point I usually just wish I had put their stuff in my case.
However lots of people swear by them. You can fit an awful lot of clothes and essentials in them and they do go in the overhead storage meaning easy access to your kids things in case of an emergency.