It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first trip with your whole family or the tenth, travelling with children will always be a complicated and daunting experience. From how much you’ll spend to what to pack, the trip and prior planning are full of questions, decisions, and potential worries. That being said, travelling with your kids needn’t be so much of a hassle. In fact, it can be one of the best things that you go through as a family. You just need to prepare properly. With that in mind, here are ten essential tips you should know before you jet off with the kids in tow.
- Slow Things Right Down
When you’re a frequent traveller, you become used to rushing around, whether it be with packing, boarding your flights, or just exploring the holiday destinations. However, your children won’t be used to this madness. For this reason, it’s important that you plan for a much slower pace than you would do if you were travelling alone or with your partner. You should be realistic about the things you have time to see and do and avoid cramming too much into your itinerary. You should also give yourself plenty of time to get to and from airports and other transportation.
- Plan The Trip Together
The most memorable and rewarding trips are those that the entire family enjoys, from the very youngest member to the oldest. To make sure that you all do something you love, you should sit down and plan the holiday together. Discuss ideas for destinations and activities and try to incorporate as many into your plans as you can. If your children are a little older, they can even go off and research on their own, coming back with suggestions for accommodations and such. By doing this, you’ll also help to build the travel buzz, getting everyone excited for your time away.
- Set A Travel Budget
Family holidays don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, but you need to stay on top of your money to make this happen. Take a look at your finances, work out how much you have and how much you can realistically save before you go away. From there you can decide on a comfortable budget that works for you. Don’t forget to include hidden costs here, like unexpected activities and souvenirs. Explaining this budget to your children can make them feel more involved in and comfortable with your travel plans.
- Try A Test Run
Your first holiday as a family is going to be a huge learning experience. Because of this, you may want to try a test run before you go ahead with the real thing. This might mean a practice pack, a trial trip to the airport, or practice flight somewhere relatively close by. This will gently ease you and your children into travel, rather than stressing everyone out the day you go away. You could even leave for a weekend or short break a few months before your trip. This allows you to spot and plan for any potential mishaps or mistakes that could ruin your dream holiday later.
- Go Big With Accommodation
Travelling with children can be made a whole lot easier when you consider your accommodation carefully. Instead of booking with the first chain hotel you come across, you should think through the other options available to you. Having an entire property to yourself, whether it be a kontrakan murah in Indonesia or a modern apartment in France, is often the best choice. This is because it offers privacy for your family, as well as a kitchen to prepare food and plenty of space to spread out. If you wanted to stick with a hotel, then upgrading to a suite can do a world of good.
- Don’t Let Kids Pack
Letting your children pack their own bags may seem like a good idea, but it can actually cause any number of problems. While you have one less job to do, for now, you’ll also be the one picking up the pieces when you realise that your son’s suitcase is full of toy cars instead of clothes. If you think that your children are old enough to be trusted with this job, you should still give them a list of things they need to pack. After all, anyone can forget something now and then, and the last thing that you want is for your kids to forget to pack something they really need.
- Bring Along Some Entertainment
From toddlers to teenagers, children of any and all ages get bored, especially while waiting for or travelling on long-haul flights. This boredom can quickly turn to frustration and tantrums, making your holiday journey less than enjoyable. To prevent this, you need to remember to pack a few things to keep your kids entertained, like books, games, or portable consoles. You can even let your little ones bring along a few of their favourite toys. Just make sure that you don’t leave them on the plane. This is also useful for any downtime you may have throughout your trip.
- Stick To A Routine
Many like to view a holiday as a chance to escape the routine of everyday life. However, when you have children in tow, especially young children, you should try to stick to your normal routine as much as you can. This means waking up, eating, and going to sleep at the same time as you normally would back home. This can help to reduce the stress of travel on your kids, keeping them happier and more energised. If there’s something that you really want to do, but can’t bring young children along, you could hire some childcare and go while your little one is napping.
- Build In Time Alone
Going away with your family can be incredibly rewarding, but it can take its toll too. No matter who you are, we all need a break away from one another at some point, so make sure that you plan for some time away from your kids. This could mean leaving them with your partner while you go off alone or leaving them with childcare while you do something together. You could even bring a friend or other family member along to watch them while you go out. Your kids will want breaks from you now and then too, so don’t expect them to spend every moment with you.
- Add An Extra Day
It’s only natural to want to make the most out of your break as you can, but, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should spend all of your time off work and school on your trip. In fact, it often makes much more sense to sandwich your holiday between two extra free days. This gives you an entire day to pack and get your home prepared and then other to unpack and relax before returning to normality. You could even plan something fun to do the day after you get back. This will give you all a reason to return, so you’re not miserable when you come home.
Travelling with children can be stressful, but it can also be incredibly fun. It offers you the opportunity to escape the mundanity of everyday life and see the world together as a family. While there are a lot of things that could potentially go wrong, with some thought and planning, it is possible to avoid them and have an amazing time. Hopefully, with the tips above, you’ll be able to do just that with your children.