Travelling with children can be especially… tiresome. Whether you’re dealing with the persistent “are-we-there-yets”, the recurring “what’s thats” or just trying to stop your kids from playing in the middle of the aisle on the plane, keeping your sanity on a long-haul flight can often be quite the challenge.
Sometimes, you may need to drive a long distance with the kids in tow - whilst you just want to press on ahead with the hours on the road, your kids might have other ideas. You might need to listen to them persistently arguing in the back seats, or have to pull over countless times for the dreaded ‘toilet stop’.
Even once you’ve reached your destination, there’s so much for them to “ooh” and “aah” at that keeping track of your children can sometimes take away from the holiday itself!
Don’t worry, though - every parent who’s been away with their children knows the struggle; you’re not alone! Sometimes, travelling for long distances with small children can be inevitable, but luckily, there are some things that you can do to ease the stress of the journey.
Let’s take a look at this handy guide on travelling with children.
In the car
We’ll start by looking at a few ways that you can keep the kids occupied on long-distance drives.
Many children, unfortunately, suffer from travel sickness; it can come in varying forms of severity, with some mild discomfort to full-on throwing up on the back of the driver’s head.
Nobody likes to be caught in the cross-fire of motion sickness, so you may want to make sure that the kids have some travel sweets; they’re a kind of medicine that drastically reduces the symptoms of travel sickness, and you should be able to pick them up in any good pharmacy.
Many parents like to introduce some form of in-car entertainment to occupy the kids on longer drives - it can really distract them from the journey, preventing them from asking the same questions every 20 minutes or so.
Whilst it is possible to purchase in-car TVs that connect to the driver and passenger headrests, these might not be the most affordable solution; you might choose to instead give your children a tablet or phone that already has an assortment movies or TV shows downloaded to it. Just make sure you bring some headphones.
On the plane
Luckily, modern aeroplanes contain built-in distractions; in-flight movies, wifi and food will go along way in helping your kids get settled!
Let them know about flight etiquette
You might want to brief your kids on flight etiquette before you board the plane. Many strangers aren’t fond of the idea of children kicking the back of their chairs or screaming throughout the flight!
If your kids haven’t been abroad before, you should give them a few pointers to make the journey as pleasant as possible for everyone on the flight.
Meet at check-in
If you’re about to board a flight, you’ve probably got a LOT of luggage on you. Not only are you carrying your own suitcases and essentials, but you’ve probably got the kids bags, too.
Most airports offer a ‘meet-and-assist’ service, which can make it much easier for you to haul the thousands of bags halfway across the airport; just contact the reception ahead of your planned arrival, and ask if they can send anyone to help with your luggage.
This means that there will be significantly less for your kids to try and lug along, creating an easier and more streamlined process.
When you’re there
Once you arrive, you can breathe a sigh of relief… the hard part is over. Sure, your kids might be distracted by the new sights and smells of an unfamiliar place, but chances are, so are you!
There are still a few things that you can do to make the trip s streamlined as possible:
Carry Medical Information
You should have the medical info on hand for everybody travelling with you, especially if you’re visiting another country. Try to write down any important allergies, requirements or conditions just in case something happens.
Make sure that everybody has a copy of their own med-card, just in case they wander away from the group.
Let them enjoy it
You’ve landed on a new continent, you’re tired, sweaty and you need a nap - and you probably can’t wait to check into the hotel.
The problem is that as you’re walking along, there’s a lot for the children to take in - whether it’s tourist attractions, unfamiliar ways of life or even just a nearby local park.
Why not indulge in their desires and give them an hour or so to do whatever they like? After all, they’ve been well-behaved while you’ve been travelling, plus, you might have fun, too!