Travelling can help broaden your child’s mind as they experience different ways of life and see lots of exciting things. But it’s the getting there that can be so challenging for parents. To help you, we’ve compiled 10 tips that will help ensure you and your young children enjoy journeys of every kind.
Read on to discover what to plan, pack and do so that all the family has stress-free travel.
Tip 1: Leave Early
Whether travelling by car, coach, train, or plane, an early departure time is best.
Very early morning car journeys mean the roads will contain less traffic. Leaving early will help you avoid heavy traffic and the subsequent traffic jams or holdups. That means you’ll spend less time in the car and have a shorter journey.
If you’re travelling by airplane, coach, ferry, or train, try to book an early departure time. That’s because airports, coach terminals, ferry ports, and train stations are less likely to be crowded in the early hours. It will make things safer and easier for you and your offspring to move around.
Early departure times mean your flights, ferry crossings, and coach or train journeys are less likely to be delayed or even cancelled.
Tip 2: Dress Them In Comfortable Layers
Temperatures can vary on a journey, especially if you’re travelling great distances. Airplane cabins, for example, can be very cold at times.
You can ensure your kids are comfortable throughout their travels by dressing them in layers. So, rather than have them wear one thick jumper, you could dress them in layers consisting of a t-shirt, cardigan and warm coat. They can then add or remove a layer depending on the temperature.
Have your younger kids dress in sweatpants or trousers that are comfortable to sit in for long periods and can be removed quickly for toilet visits.
Tip 3: Take A Fold-Up Pushchair
If you are travelling with toddlers, there is a strong likelihood that they will get tired of walking inside the airport, train station, ferry or coach terminals. Take a foldaway pushchair (‘umbrella pushchair’) or a Trunki-style ride-on suitcase with you to be ready for such eventualities.
Tip 4: Use Digital Entertainment
Many airlines offer inflight entertainment but don’t despair if you’re travelling by car, coach, train, or ferry with your children.
You can alleviate the monotony of sitting for hours by downloading some kids’ movies or activity apps they will enjoy before you set off.
To avoid mid-journey meltdowns from a mobile phone or tablet running out of juice, make sure to power up all digital devices before leaving. Take the right charging cables with you.
Tip 5: Pack Magazines
Kids’ magazines like our very own Brilliant Brainz can keep your children entertained for hours.
An added bonus is that Brilliant Brainz will take up very little room in your kids’ carry-on bags, backpacks, or hand luggage.
(In the interests of impartiality, other fine UK children’s magazines are available, he-he!)
Tip 6: Give Them Brain-Boosting Games
There are only so many times any of you will want to play ‘Eye Spy’ on your journey, so make it easy on yourself and grab some brain-boosting games for single players that your kids will enjoy. Look for games from companies like SmartGames and ThinkFun.
Tip 7: Offer Surprise ‘Journey’ Gifts
Children of any age love getting surprise gifts. They enjoy the unwrapping and then the gift itself. Plan ahead by buying, wrapping, and packing inexpensive and compact presents you can give them during the journey.
If your trip will last more than a few hours, offer the children several gifts. Don’t hand them all of the gifts at once. Pace it out. Offer a gift (i.e. distraction!) when you see your child is beginning to get bored.
Tip 8: Break The Journey
Give yourself and the kids a rest from the car by making frequent stops on your car journey at motorway services.
This won’t be an option if you travel by air, train, coach or ferry. But you can still break your journey down into child-friendly chunks. For example, rather than flying direct to Sydney from London, a journey that can last 26 hours or more, plan a one- or two-day stopover in Singapore, Dubai, or Bangkok.
Suppose you’re going by ferry to Ireland, France, Spain or Belgium. In that case, you could stop for a few hours at your destination port before beginning the next phase of your journey.
Tip 9: Go Easy With The Fruit Snacks
As delicious and packed full of vitamins and minerals as fruit is, it contains fructose. That’s the kind of sugar that can stimulate the gut and cause the bowels to loosen. To avoid your kids suffering from stomach aches or diarrhea, limit the amount of fruit they consume during the journey. Likewise, curb the amount of food they eat containing artificial sweeteners such as xylitol or sorbitol because they can also cause diarrhea.
Tip 10: LImit The Sweet Treats
If possible, limit the number of sugary drinks and sweets your little ones consume on your journey. That’s because they can cause a sudden surge in adrenaline in kids, which will then cause hyperactivity, crankiness, anxiousness, and trouble concentrating. So, unless you relish the prospect of your kids charging along train or airline aisles in an e-number-fuelled frenzy or throwing a mid-journey tantrum, don’t go crazy with the sweet treats.