How to Enjoy Travelling with Young Children
Are we nearly there yet? – it’s a familiar cry every parent travelling with young children dreads. Long journeys with children can create a stressful start to you holiday and you may even opt for a short haul holiday instead due to worries how the children will cope on a longer haul flight. But travelling successfully with children is not only possible, but it can be fun too! It does however require careful planning and flexibility on your part, and you need to be realistic about the limitations and needs of your child.
The exact challenges of travelling with children will depend on the ages of your children, who else is on the journey with you and the mode of transport you use. If you can cope with all the necessities you must lug along, travelling with an infant is relatively easy. The toddler stage, however, can be more difficult. Your two year old may find it hard to tolerate long periods of inactivity such as a long flight or road trip.
You can try to avoid problems by changing the pace often, alternating between games you and your child can play together and activities that your youngster will enjoy alone. Things usually improve by the primary school years, when your child may be more ready and willing for the new experiences that travel brings. The excitement of going on an adventure can help a child cope with longer journeys.
Travelling for long periods on a train is probably the easiest way to travel with young children as they can get up and move around, there’s lots to see out of the window, you can swap seats and normally take a trip to a buffet car. The presence of a toilet is also a big bonus. If you travel by air or bus (the least flexible/spacious) you will need to be prepared to entertain your children – the excitement of flying in an aeroplane won’t last much past take off and you won’t have the room to spread out. If they are small enough, it might be a good idea to plan anything longer than a 3 hour flight at night so they can sleep. Be prepared for a tired day either end of the holiday, but this option can certainly make the journey less stressful for parents.
Quite often children get bored during travels and start to seek your attention, but this is a great opportunity to give your children your time; talking and paying interest to their lives is beneficial to you both and your children will thrive on this attention from you. If you make journeys fun filled and entertaining by choosing the correct toys and games, the hours of “are we nearly there yet?” will be left behind.
Ways to make travelling with children fun:
- Invest in some travel games that will keep the whole family entertained and interacting together – find games that you will enjoy playing too. When looking for toys and games to take on the journey, avoid things with lots of pieces, especially if they are critical (a bag of lego bricks is fine, the pieces for a particular kit are less so).
- Tablets are great as children can watch films, play fun/educational games and explore their destination – the Kurio Tab tested really well in our play clubs and has all the relevant parental controls, whilst still having internet access.
- Buy a wheelie suitcase that children can sit on through the airport or transfers. It can be stressful running for a departure, especially when the children are strolling along casually due to tired legs. This way they get an exciting ride through the crowds and you don’t have to panic about missing the flight or boat.
- Books can entertain children for hours on end. Reading with them, looking at pictures and listening to them read are all great. As they get better at reading they can read to themselves for enjoyment too.
- Try playing interactive games such as the ’20 questions what am I?’ or ‘eye spy’. Take advantage of the scenery, mountains/lakes as you fly over or animals in fields if you’re in a car. Giving children activities to do that are related to the place you’re travelling to (e.g. a quiz or an i-spy game) will help them acclimatise more quickly and understand more about their trip.
Older children can get involved in the holiday before departure and will enjoy helping with the packing and even researching places on the internet. Even young children can be given a small back pack with their special things in it, that they carry and look after. Children’s luggage is becoming more innovative and we really like the PlayAway case that has games and activities in a removable pod. It meets hand luggage requirements and is still big enough to hold teddies, coats and enough clothes for a weekend trip. Don’t forget to pack an inflatable ball or some active toys to encourage lots of active play on holiday!Ideas for Children, Travel
This post was written by Amanda Gummer