Top Tips When Travelling With Children

Diane Breton on 03 December 2019
Travelling with children can be a daunting prospect, no matter if it’s your first or fifth child! When you book a family holiday with me I take care of all the little details, from pre-booked seating on the flights to arranging for a cot or kids bed in your room or car seats on the transfers/car hire to top family hotel and destination recommendations. Just call me to find out more.

Here are my top 20 travel tips based on personal experience.

1. Bring a change of clothes for your little one – and for you! Take warm clothes for everyone as the air con on the plane can be very chilly, especially after a week in the sun. If potty training, it’s extra important to take spare clothes for the journey - the excitement and distraction of the flight can mean kids often forget they need the toilet before it’s too late.

2. Technology can be a great distraction to keep kids entertained on a flight, just make sure it’s fully charged and to take a charger with you (with appropriate plug adaptor). To avoid travel sickness don’t let kids look at iPads/gadgets for too long at a time. Encourage them to look up and around and if they start to feel queasy put the tablet away!

3. If still in nappies: create a nappy pack. Put one nappy and two or three baby wipes into a nappy bag. Loosely tie up the bag. Create as many as you think you’ll need for the journey. When you need to change a nappy on the plane, you just pull out one of your nappy packs without having to rummage around which makes you feel more organised and relaxed.

4. Gift wrap an activity pack; little ones love this! Fill a small bag with gift wrapped activity and reading books, pens and small toys so that every half hour or hour they can open one and play with it - great for preventing boredom setting in.

5. Always make sure that you take a favourite toy, if it is small enough to travel with you. Nothing can beat that sense of security of having that favourite thing with them when at the airport, on the plane and when you arrive at the hotel and their new bed.

6. Ask kids any age to help you pack. Get your children involved and let them pack a small backpack with their things. Let them pack their changes of clothes and their swimsuits in case your luggage goes missing, as that way they can still get into the pool when you get there.

7. Prepare for popped ears! If you’re travelling with kids, try to make sure you have a drink and some sweets available for take-off and landing (or a soother/dummy if they use it) to help their ears to pop. Remind them to swallow lots and ask them to open their jaw as wide as possible during ascents and descents to assist with equalising the pressure.

8. Make sure you pack any medication for you and your child in hand luggage. If you use Calpol, then take some with you in case you need it at any point in your journey. I also always pack a mini first aid kit for bumps and scrapes - just a few plasters and some antiseptic wipes, just in case.

9. Try and keep as much as possible to your normal routine, so get children to brush their teeth, go to the toilet and put their pyjamas on before you get them to try and sleep. Their regular routine is just as important on the plane or at the hotel as it is at home.

10. Bring a sheet, blanket or pillow case from home. Bringing your child’s bedlinen from home will help them to sleep and to make them feel more secure when they go to bed. Often hotels don’t provide cot bedding, so this is extra important for babies - and if they’re used to a sleeping bag it’s a good idea to take a light summer weight one as the thicker bags will be too warm for a beach holiday.

11. Carry an ‘anything’ towel for spillages/accidents! Pack one or two medium-sized hand towels. You can use them for anything! As a changing mat, a vomit towel, to dry your hands, mop up spilt drinks - an ‘anything’ towel!

12. Don’t forget to take kid’s swimming things - armbands/floats/goggles etc. You can always buy these out there, but they tend to be quite expensive. Pool toys and floats are also a great idea to keep kids entertained in the water.

13. Footwear is an important consideration for kids on holiday. Flip flops look great but can easily cause trips and falls so closed toe sandals or crocs are best. Make sure they’ve been worn in before you go away as you don’t want blisters!

14. Take adequate sun protection. This obviously includes sunscreen- I find 'Nivea' and 'p20' are the very best. Despite being pricey they can be applied once, are non-greasy and last all day even when they’ve been swimming, saving the trauma of hourly applications on unwilling kids! Also, don’t forget a UV protective top and hat (with neck cover) which they can wear into the water, so their shoulders, head and neck are covered.

15. Snacks, snacks, and more snacks! Kid’s favourite sweets are always a good distraction when they are getting tired and cannot see reason! You can never have too many snacks packed! I tend to pack fruit, nuts, cereal bars, dried fruit, crisps and raisins. Also remember that when you arrive you still have the transfer your final destination as well.

16. Be aware that you can only take liquids in your hand luggage through security in 100ml containers, and these must be in a plastic bag. You can buy water for everyone once you are through security. It’s really important for everyone to stay hydrated on the flight.

17. Many parents choose to take a buggy or pram, even if their child is now walking, which can be handy as they can double up as places to rest from the heat or if up a little later than usual to lie down and rest in a restaurant, for example.

18. Take it slow. Be at the airport in plenty of time to allow for unscheduled delays like loo breaks, snack stops and the occasional tantrum! It saves a lot of stress if you’re not worried about the time. Consider booking fast track through security to save time spent queuing at the airport.

19. If you’re worried about your child getting lost simply write your mobile number on their arm so when they are found you can be contacted easily.

20. If all else fails, don’t forget to keep smiling and stay calm! Packing you sense of humour when travelling with kids is vital. The best way to ensure a smooth journey and memorable holiday is to get me to book it for you and let me take care of all the details.