How to Travel with Children Stress-Free: Top Tips

    Family holidays are more important than ever in 2022 after a turbulent couple of years for travel. With Covid restrictions easing, there’s been big increase in demand for family holidays this year compared to 2021. So, we reveal some expert top tips on how to travel with the little ones – stress-free!

    Credit: Weiqi Xiong via Unsplash

    Everyone loves a holiday – the chance to get away for a few days or even a few weeks, coming back and feeling fresh and raring to go. However, when you have kids, the seemingly simple process of travelling to your holiday destination can seem like a chore, and it may prevent some from going on holiday at all.

    The UK’s interest in holidays has increased exponentially, with Google searches for “family friendly holiday destinations” up 200% and “big family holidays” up 255% since 2021.We spoke to the parenting experts The Edit from Silver Cross who have put together some top tips on how to travel with kids to ensure your holiday goes as smoothly as possible.

    Top Tips to Travel with Kids Stress-Free

    Give yourself plenty of time

    Credit: Paul Hanaoka via Unsplash

    When going for a ferry or a flight or even working to a check-in time at a staycation, give yourself more time to get there when travelling with children.

    It’s best to expect the unexpected, and by giving yourself a generous time buffer you can handle your children’s needs and still get to your destination on time, without too much added stress.

    Bring snacks and activities

    There’s nothing worse than making headway on the motorway only for your little ones start complaining they are hungry. Food keeps both hunger at bay as well as keeping your children entertained, so planning out a snack routine and packing plenty of food and drinks is key to a stress free and smooth journey away with your kids.

    Talk to your kids about the trip

    Credit: Derek Thomson via Unsplash

    If your child is old enough, it’s always a good idea to chat to them about the trip ahead of time. Younger children especially can get confused or stressed when they are out of their comfort zone, which can lead to tantrums and a more stressful journey for all involved.

    Talking to your child, explaining where they are going and why, will help them to process the journey and will hopefully minimise confusion along the way.

    Plan a list of things to pack

    You’re leaving the comforts of home, and this can be daunting, and as a result you may be tempted to try and pack everything you use to look after your child on a day-to-day basis. As well as weighing down your car or bag for the plane, this is a recipe for disaster from a mental perspective as well.

    The trip is destined to be unpredictable and trying to keep strictly to the routine you’re used to at home is likely to fail, which will result in both you and baby being more stressed. Pack light, with essentials such as favourite toys, snacks, and spare comfy clothes. To a degree, having a stress-free trip relies on you embracing the unpredictability and going with the flow.

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    Travelling with children: Are we back yet?


    Dad-of-two and Sky Sports presenter Alex Payne looks at the joy (and pain) of travelling with children.

    Well, in a flash it seems our summer has drawn to a close. I survived 9 weeks of juggling my toddler and my 5 year old.

    My wife is on the case for a holiday. The eternal darkness of winter has been punctuated by casual mentions of drinks in the pool, a bit of water skiing here, a massage there. The sun-drenched brochures left on my desk are working; I can’t bring myself to light the fire with them.

    This love of disappearing to sunnier climes in January began with the appallingly named ‘babymoon’ to Mauritius when expecting our first child. The week was about as perfect as life could get. We ate, slept, read and patted the expanding stomach, occasionally rousing ourselves to swim with dolphins or hop on a boat trip to visit an island for lunch. We came back refreshed and ready to become a family.

    What I didn’t realise then was how little we really needed that break at the time – and how much we’d need one once we had entered parenthood. For us it wasn’t quite like flipping a switch, more a series of steps, and if the ‘babymoon’ was level one, we reached step two a couple of years later when our daughter was joined by her younger brother. Without labouring the point, his arrival had been a rather stressful process, wrapped with caution and concern. By January, desperate for a pick me up, we booked another holiday to Mauritius. With our boy awake about as often as the low winter sun, we decided he wouldn’t mind being left behind, so we just took our daughter; bonding time with her, less hassle for us. Or so we thought.

    The first warning shot was fired before we’d reached our room. There are better ways to announce yourselves at a hotel than leaping into the pool to fish out your thrashing child. As I waded out of the shallow end, the bewildered bell boy (and sunglasses peering over lowered books) suggested that we’d be better suited to a week on the beach.

    We duly headed to the sea. Our daughter was paddling and splashing away in no time. And then she started screaming. And screaming. Several jellyfish had wrapped their tentacles around her arm and midriff, so, half an hour after our opening theatrics, we trailed back through the hotel carrying our wailing daughter and towing a string of fussing staff behind us.

    Although we came back with some fantastic memories of sandcastles, swimming and seashells, standing in a marble-topped bath splashing one’s own urine on a sobbing child is not among them.

    Neither was battling every evening with a monitor that wouldn’t stretch to the restaurant, fighting with the air conditioning to prevent her overheating or turning blue, mosquito bites and sunburn. Suffice to say it wasn’t a holiday with a lot of relaxation.

    Tranquility was but a distant memory by step three: our first trip as a four to a family gathering in Scotland. My wife travelled ahead with the children while I joined a day later due to work. Nursing a god-awful hangover, I arrived into a complete vacuum of sympathy. If truth be told, my wife looked worse than I did after the scramble of getting two children, three bags, two teddy bears, one pushchair and her sanity through the airport the day before. In the rush she had left one of the children’s suitcases at the security scanner, which led to an interesting dilemma: abandon it and risk having Heathrow shut down or drag the whole family circus back through the terminal and miss the flight. They made it, with the bag, but the children will never be flustered by mid-air turbulence having survived the ordeal.

    Scotland also showed us a glimpse of steps four and five, or more specifically my older brothers-in-law did. On the return journey to the airport, and overwhelmed by eight children singing Let it Go, brother-in-law one accidentally dropped the left side of the minibus into a storm drain while pulling over for another car. The tail end of the holiday turned into full-on crisis management, with frantic phone calls, tractors, winches, deep breaths, fraught wives and stunned children. But that was nothing like the shock brother-in-law two received at check-in. Deservedly switching off during his well-earned break, he had read the arrival time into Birmingham as the departure time from Inverness and so arrived two hours after their plane had left. If you do happen to find yourself as a family of five trying to get to the West Country from the north of Scotland in a hurry, there is a remarkable lack of options.

    It has become apparent that there is no such thing as a holiday with children, you’re merely transferring the challenge to an unfamiliar battleground. But there is a surprising absence of this truth in the holiday brochures that litter my desk. Then again, I’ve lost interest in the family section. I’m currently researching trips for the solo traveller on a one-way ticket.

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