Holidays can be the highlight of the year, but getting there can test the boldest of souls.
Kids aren’t the easiest of travelling companions (and to be honest, adults aren’t either) so airports, cars, ferries and coaches can become fraught, anxious nightmares.
But there are definitely things you can do to make it easier.
Here are our favourite tips for travelling with kids, while keeping everyone happy, fed and fairly quiet!
Take a baby carrier: Having a child strapped to you frees up your hands to hold on to your other kids, carry bags, fish out passports, etc. You usually have to take baby out while going through security, which can be a pain, but otherwise it’s been a lifesaver. I use an Ergo for babies and a Toddler Tula for bigger ones.
Use a pushchair: You can take it all the way to the gate, but you might not get it back until you collect your checked luggage (or at least this was our experience). It makes life significantly easier.
Invest in a Trunki – a friend lent us a couple recently and they were a huge hit. They took all the kids’ clothes and shoes – freeing up room in our bags – and they loved sitting on them and being pulled through the airport. They doubled as a fun ride on toy during a long wait to pick up our hire car too.
Snacks – Pack all the snacks. Alllll of them! Food has saved the day in many a situation and bringing sandwiches will save you a few bob at the airport. But exciting extras – especially things they aren’t used to – will go a long way. We had crisps, raisins, cheese strings, fruit pouches, individually wrapped biscuits, and I took rice cakes for the baby. The more items the better!
Lollipops – Changes in pressure can affect little ears so a lollipop or something else to suck (a pacifier if they still take one) during take off and landing can really help. If you’re breastfeeding, nursing has the same effect.
Combine nappy supplies – Have wipes, nappies and a spare outfit in a plastic bag so you can just pull it out instead of rummaging through or hauling your entire carry-on to the toilets – a lifesaver during nappy blowout situations (I totally learned this the hard way)
You can’t have too many baby wipes – honestly. They even clean crayon and plasticine marks off the table.
Use hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes to clean down the seat, seatbelt and table. There could be lots of germs hitching a ride on your seat, and no one wants poorly children on holiday!
Divide and conquer: If you can, take a child each so it’s not just one parent trying to keep everyone happy. I had all three on the flight out and you can bet I shared the love out coming home.
Take toys: I like to whip out a new (small!) surprise when the meltdowns start. Things that have worked for us are stickers, magazines (because they contain toys!), colouring books and crayons, tubs of playdoh and plasticine. Nothing with small parts that will fall onto the floor and get lost.
Don’t forget plastic bottles and coffee cup lids are great fun to babies!
Screen time – don’t be afraid to use it. Just make sure you bring headphones.
That’s it! Enjoy, stay calm and keep your eye on the prize – a fabulous holiday making wonderful memories with great food and drink.