Our Guide to Travelling with Kids: The New How-to Guide
There’s nothing quite like heading off for a weekend away or a longer planned holiday with family. But travelling with children can be challenging, so it’s best to be prepared for any eventuality! Whether it’s a road trip or you’re flying with kids, you’ve got to be ready for when boredom sets in and little ones tend to become niggly.
Car journeys can be long which makes planned pitstops essential, and although flying is a quicker option, there can be lengthy delays at airports as well as a few hours in a plane seat. Here are our tips to ensure your next family holiday is all about the good memories, and less about worrying whether or not you’ve packed enough snacks!
Road Trip Travel with your Kids
Plan the layout of the passengers and luggage before departure so that toys, games, snacks and hygiene items are easily at hand. You might even consider placing a parent on the back seat to co-ordinate food and entertainment - much simpler than trying from the front seat!
Prepare your snacks at home – so you can ensure your little one has his or her favourite treat – plus you can ensure there’s enough healthy options. You don’t want to entertain sugar-highs in a closed space! Nuts, biltong, carrot sticks, grapes and dried fruit are popular and sugar-free drinks will keep most families happy.
For toddlers and young children, consider bringing along a new toy which is likely to have more amusement value, and spend time playing fun games that are suitable for when you are all strapped in. Even simple games like ‘I spy’ can be repeated during the journey, and for the longer trips, you can download suitable games and movies on a tablet or phone.
Older children can make up a journal of events during the journey and on their holiday with drawings, photos and even entrance tickets. Their own music system, device with downloaded movies or games and a good book or two will also help pass the time.
Rather than try and press through to your destination, make a few comfort stops where kids can stretch their legs. Where possible keep the inside temperature on the cool side!
Health & Safety Tip: make sure each child has their mask and their own pocket-size sanitzer; this will ensure a quick and painless pitstop experience.
Flying with Children
Flying with toddlers and kids can be fun if you are well prepared. Airports are not particularly child friendly so take along a few snacks and games much as you would for a car journey. Sucking a lollipop on takeoff is a good idea as the pressurization can affect their little ears.
Also allow your children to take a comfort break before the flight as getting to toilets on a full flight can be an additional challenge. Take along strollers (the airline will store them during the flight) as distances at airports are greater than you imagine.
A good tip for travelling with babies and toddlers on long haul flights is to secure a cot for infants which is usually available at the bulkhead seats. Children of up to 2 years can sit on a parents lap but this soon becomes uncomfortable for both parties. Consider booking a separate seat for kids to ensure they get some sleep – and peace for you and all around you.
Another reminder for when you arrive at your destination: if you are renting a car make sure you have requested suitable car seats.
Health & Safety Tip: Stick to the recommended hygiene and safety measures in place at the airports, such as washing hands, using sanitizer, wearing your mask and practicing safe social distancing.
Family Holiday Activities at Your Destination
Travelling with your children can be an incredibly memorable experience, but make sure that your destination has enough things to do and see. If you’re staying at a hotel or resort, joining up with the Kids Club or making use of a dedicated child-minder or babysitter on occasion will only add to your holiday – you need a break too! Many safari destinations have dedicated and educational kids activities, which are fun for the whole family.
Health & Safety Tip: make sure you enjoy some outdoors time away from the crowds so your family can enjoy the freedom of space, and if you visit any excursions or participate in any group activities, make sure to wear masks and have fun!
Thompsons Holidays offers kid-friendly family holidays to a selection of hotels, resorts and lodges in South Africa, the friendly Indian Ocean Islands and other destinations around the world. A contented family ensures a happy family vacation!