Travelling with young children (or partners…) can be a challenge, but a few quick preparations now can help your trip go a lot more smoothly. Take a look at our sanity-saving family travel tips and get prepared for your next adventure!
Sign up for our free monthly newsletter stuffed full of ideas, competitions and offers. PS Did we mention it’s free?
The real key to travelling with kids is planning and preparation, and our family travel tips are all about keeping life as simple as possible.
Make things easier on travel day by knowing you have your bases covered – but also be prepared for the fact that there could be speed bumps along the way, in the shape of flight delays, travel sickness, lost luggage or something similar.
You May Also Enjoy How to Keep Children Entertained During Flight Delays
Practical Family Travel Tips
Passports at the Ready!
When was the last time you looked at the passports? Kids’ passports have a much shorter lifespan than adults and those dates can sneak up on you before you realise. Some airlines will look for you to have at least six months remaining on your passport, so make sure you’re not cutting things close.
You May Also Enjoy Tips for Talking with Your Children about Airport Security
Whatever you can book and organise early, do it. Whether that is lounge access in the airport, a taxi to pick you up on arrival or a special kids’ meal on the plane, if it will ensure things go smoother on travel day, it’s worth the extra planning time.
Everything takes longer when you travel with kids, so make sure you leave plenty of time to get to your destination. Plan in toilet breaks, even for short trips by car, time for browsing at the airport, and time to re-fuel with food along the way.
You May Also Enjoy Tips for Travel with Kids for Passing Time in Airports
Comfort is Key
You and the kids will want to be as comfortable as possible while travelling – keep all the new outfits until your get to your destination, and stick with comfy favourites for the plane. And don’t forget your footwear – there is lots of walking in the airport!
Plan For the Inevitable
You may already pack a spare outfit (or two) for your child when you travel – but, take it from me, pack one for yourself too! The confined space of plane travel means that spilled drinks are more likely, as well as the risk of accidents or travel sickness.
You May Also Enjoy 8 Practical and Simple Tips to Ease Motion Sickness in Kids
If you are travelling with an infant, look up the airport policy on buggies and car seats – can you bring them all the way to the gate, will it be available as soon as you disembark or on the baggage carousel, etc.
Consider the Extras
Whether that’s fast-tracking through security or priority boarding, consider the benefits of these extras when it comes to saving time and keeping the peace. There’s enough waiting around while you’re travelling, so any queues that can be avoided are welcome!
Relax En Route
More and more airports are adding kiddie play areas in sections of the airport, so check the website in advance of travelling map to see if there’s one you can visit. A last run around is a great idea!
You May Also Enjoy 21 Tried and Tested Waiting Games for Kids to Pass the Time
Never, ever pack the all-time favourite cuddly toys in your checked in luggage. Take it from experience, it will be the one time that your suitcase ends up on a round-the-world trip without you, and you’ll be explaining to your sobbing child at bedtime why Teddy is away on a solo adventure…
The sheer number of child-friendly apps, books, podcasts and games available to download, means you don’t have to jam-pack your carry on bags with toys and games. Just don’t forget the chargers and headphones…
You May Also Enjoy 10 Hugely Entertaining and Educational Podcasts For Kids
If your child is under two, they will be sitting on your lap during the flight. While the ideal situation would be that your flight will coincide with nap time, that’s not always possible. Having some board books, handheld activities and things you can do with one hand is essential.
If your child is at the throwing stage, you won’t want to spend the flight chasing down toys from under the seat in front of you. One great idea is to tie some toys, rattles and teethers onto some twine and keep everything in one place!
No matter what ages the kids, there is nothing worse than not having what you need if a child is sick or unwell on holidays. At a minimum, pack a change of clothes, nappies/pants, some antiseptic wipes, a couple of rubbish bags, and a basic first aid kit with paracetamol, ibuprofen, plasters, etc.
If your child has an allergy or ongoing medical condition, it is a good idea to get a letter from your health care professional and a copy of your prescription (particularly if you need to take medications onboard).
You May Also Enjoy 7 Top Tips For Travel With Kids Who Have Allergies
Have a Back Up
Take a photocopy (or even a photo) of your passport details, travel itinerary, travel insurance, medical information, important contacts and accommodation bookings – you could either bring these with you and keep them entirely separate from the real documents, or leave it with a trusted friend/family member at home in case you need them.
I prefer to email them all to myself, which means I don’t need to physically carry them, but I can access them easily if I need to.
New places like an airport can be very exciting and distracting for your child, and wandering off can happen easily. With the volume of people also travelling around you, the importance of holding hands and staying close is even more important. Talk about this with your children before you leave, and remind them again on the day.
You May Also Enjoy [WATCH] Teach Your Child to Do These 4 Things If They Get Lost
Feed Me Now
There’s something about travelling that tends to make everyone feel slightly peckish, so pack some snacks that you know your kids love. While this ensures that you have something on hand when they get hungry (or hangry!), it also saves you having to fork out for expensive airport food at every turn.
Try to avoid overly sweet snacks and treats, particularly if you’re going to be on a long flight or in a confined space where your child can’t run around and burn off the sugar high.
Wipes at the Ready!
Extra nappy changes, sticky fingers, spilled drinks, cleaning up messes…bring an extra pack of wipes, you’ll use them!
If you’re renting a car or getting a private airport transfer when you get to your destination, be sure to request appropriate child seats or bring your own. Depending on local laws, this may not be a legal requirement, so don’t assume it will be included.
You May Also Enjoy 6 Simple Travel Tips for Making Travelling With Kids a Breeze
Do you have any more family travel tips we should add to our list? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!