According to the Telegraph, going on holiday has a plethora of benefits for a child, helping with everything from family bonding to stress relief. For us parents though, travelling with children can strike fear into our hearts. Will the journey be horrific, will they fight and most importantly, how can we keep them safe? Here are 7 tips to take the stress out of travel with kids and a giveaway to make it easier.
1. Slow it down
The first rule of travel with children is that it takes longer. So, don’t rush. Leave time for stops. Not just toilet breaks but play breaks too. If you’re taking a road trip in the UK, I shared my 21 best family stops over on the Hertz blog. We sometimes even make an overnight stopover to visit family or visit somewhere we’d love to go en route.
2. Keep boredom at bay
Eliminating boredom for children means giving yourself a break. On a long journey, there’s no harm in allowing them to watch films or play games on an iPad or tablet. I advise going for games like Solitaire that they can play alone. Games played together always cause arguments between my two! Take some snacks and treats too, and save up some TV episodes or films that they’re desperate to watch. There’s nothing worse than the constant drone of, “Are we nearly there yet?” So take the boredom out of it to make it a more pleasant trip for everyone.
3. Play it safe
I don’t know about you, but I hate the thought of the girls travelling without a car seat. I know it’s legal in the UK for short taxi rides but I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of them being unsafe. It may be only a small risk, but the stress of worrying about it always puts a dampener on things. So, if you’re not travelling in your own car, why not pack a BubbleBum inflatable booster seat? They are inflatable so they don’t take up much space, but the peace of mind they offer is invaluable.
4. Get them involved in the planning
Planning and anticipating a holiday can be almost as much fun as the holiday itself. Deciding where you want to go, what you’ll do and where to stay. Getting excited about the amazing experiences you’re going to have. So, why not get the children involved in that process? My two have very different ideas to us about what makes an exciting holiday. Knowing their opinions often makes us change our plans – and we always end up having a great time.
5. Travel hand luggage only
Did you know that children have the same hand luggage allowance as adults? If you make the most of their allowance as well as yours, you might find you can travel hand luggage only. This will dramatically cut down on waiting time at the airport so you can get on with your holiday as soon as you leave the plane. The BubbleBum car seats are hand luggage friendly too – I even took one to London in my handbag when we went for brunch in case we needed a taxi.
6. It’s their holiday too
This is a big one for me. It can be pretty difficult to chill out when you’ve got kids. The parent in you wants to make sure they behave all the time. But let’s face it, who really behaves impeccably on holiday? So, remember it’s their holiday too and make a point of saying yes more. They want an ice cream on the beach or chips for tea? Why not?
7. Team up with friends
A few years ago, we wanted to go on a self-catering holiday to Scotland. At the time, the girls were tiny, we had an elderly dog and a puppy and my husband was on crutches. So, instead of a week of exclusive family time we decided to make time to see friends. We went for a big cottage where we could all stay – four children, four adults and three dogs. The other family helped out with the chaos and it took the stress out of the trip. In fact, we enjoyed their company so much that we make a point of having a few days away with them every year now.