Things never go entirely to plan when you’re travelling with little ones but if you plan ahead, you should be able to ward off the disasters for a while. By Alex Carlton.
Sally Webb, bespoke-travel consultant and author of Travel Without Tears: 645 Ways for Families to Take on the World, has one unshakable rule when it comes to travelling with kids: pack both a sense of humour and a sense of adventure because things will go wrong. However there are some ways you can make life a bit easier for yourself.
The number-one mistake parents make, she says, is overpacking. “Don’t forget that many places will have laundries – you don’t need to pack three outfits a day for three weeks,” she advises. You can also pick up things at your destination – there’s no point taking 50 bulky nappies if you can grab them when you get there. Here, Webb shares some more tips to make your trip go that much smoother.
Eating and drinking
For younger kids, a portable fabric restraint that you can slip over a restaurant chair is essential. Webb says it’s also a good idea to bring a plastic fork or spoon that your child is familiar with. Take a plastic container so you can take food around with you – that way, there’s always something for fussy eaters.
Sanitation and medication
Always assemble a first-aid kit with bandaids, children’s painkillers and antiseptic cream. Hand sanitiser and wipes will be useful for cleaning up on the go. For babies, disposable change mats mean any surface can become a nappy station.
It’s a good idea to bring a small, fold-up pram that you can take onboard a plane (there’s no point hiring one at your stopover if you have to walk half the length of the airport to get to it). Slings and baby carriers are great but bear in mind, Webb says, that airport personnel are not allowed to help you with them when you go through security. Make sure you’re well practiced at getting them on and off before you leave.
Soothing audio books are much more plane-friendly than an iPad packed with action movies if you want your child to sleep, Webb advises. For small children, a favourite bedtime toy is an absolute must – and woe betide you if you leave it behind. “We have one pink dragon who’s been returned express post about three times,” she says.
Another great idea is to bring a couple of balloons to blow up at the airport during stopovers. The kids can work off pent-up energy batting them around and you can simply throw them away before you get back onboard.
For more useful tips, please got to Sally Webb's Travel Without Tears website.
SEE ALSO: How to Sleep on the Plane