Travelling with kids is never going to be a completely stress free experience (unless you’re a Hollywood superstar and can afford your own private jet, in-flight entertainment and ten nannies), but with our tips it may be a little easier.
So read on for advice from mums who’ve been there and got the T’shirt. Happy holidays!
The number one rule, before any other, is to take entertainment. Whether your kids are 2 months or 2 years, it’s likely they may get a tad bored by sitting still in the car or waiting in airport queues.
So prepare for the boredom by taking relevant toys, in-car or in-flight entertainment (such as picture books, crayons, colouring books and jigsaws) and armour yourself against the tantrums.
Another must-have for long journeys is a snack pack. Remember, messy stuff like yoghurts or squidgy fruit may prove unwelcome – especially if your little one isn’t a fan of having their face and hands wiped – so stick to rice cakes, carrot sticks, grapes and toddler biscuits.
If your baby is of weaning age, a tip that we LOVE (seriously, it got us through a five hour flight with no screaming) is to take a cold, boiled corn-on-the-cob quarter, wrapped in tinfoil. The simple act of unwrapping the foil will keep your baby entertained for ages, not to mention the easy to hold, chewable corn once it’s been discovered.
Comfort blankets, comfort toys and pacifiers are another necessity, especially if your journey involves flying.
If your children aren’t used to aeroplanes you may find a comforter keeps them calm and helps them to feel secure during periods like take-off and landing. Plus – and a big plus at that – they’re more likely to sleep with their favourite comforter to snuggle with.
Take pictures of your destination
A really good idea for older children is to take some pictures of the destination you’re travelling to, to keep them excited and help explain what lies at the end of their journey.
It could be a postcard, photograph or simply a picture cut out of a magazine, but having something tangible for your kids to visualise will really help them get in the holiday spirit and ward off any moaning – for a few minutes at least.
Suckle for take-off
If your baby or toddler is breastfeeding, suckling during a flight’s take-off and landing can be a great way to calm them, make sure their ears don’t hurt as the pressure changes, and help them get to sleep.
If your little one takes a bottle, just make sure it’s easily accessible and is to hand as the plane nears the runway. A suckling baby is generally a happy one, less likely to get distressed by the odd sensation of taking to the sky.
If your tot doesn’t want milk, but they take a dummy, this is another massive argument for keeping one in your pocket or remembering to take it out of the bag before it’s placed in the overhead locker for take-off.
Have you experienced a difficult journey with kids? Tell us about it – and share your coping advice for how other parents can make travelling with children easier…