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How to: Survive Travelling with Children!



Whether you're a seasoned traveller or just starting out on your journey with little ones in tow, traveling with children can be both exhilarating and challenging. This remains true if you’re planning a local road trip – or an overseas holiday. With a bit of planning and a whole lot of flexibility, you can create unforgettable memories for your family, no matter the age of your little adventurers.


 
My top 8 tips for travelling with children:

1. Timing is everything!

Where possible, try to plan your travel around your child's sleep and mealtimes – it’s a lot easier travelling with a sleeping bub/child! For road trips I would transfer sleeping bubs into the car to begin travel whilst still dark (often around 3-4am) to cover as many miles as possible whilst they slept. If flying, consider booking flights during off-peak hours to avoid crowded planes and longer queues/ wait times.



2. Health Preparation

Before traveling overseas in particular, consult with your paediatrician/GP about any additional precautions or medications/vaccinations recommended for your destination. It can be useful to take your own small ‘first aid’ kit as each country has different medications and laws around over counter supplies (some adult medications may need a letter supplied by your GP to clear customs). Do research, even for stopover locations, as laws can prohibit some ingredients commonly used in western chemists, i.e. Doha and Dubai.


3. Surviving the flight

Cabin pressure and tears on ascent and descent seem to go hand in hand during travel, but they don’t need to! If your bubba has had a cold or allergies recently this part of your flight can be especially difficult for them.


Infants are limited in interventions. Try to time bottle/breastfeeding during ascent and especially descent, to encourage swallowing and equalise the pressure in their ears. Keep fluids up during the flight, and gently massage their nasal bridge, forehead, temples and cheekbones to provide relief. Nice to haves in your travel toolbox for older children also include decongestants and antihistamines, combined with  chewing gum or drinking through a straw to keep ears and sinuses open!

Non-medication options such as Vicks and essential oils on cloth to inhale and help open sinus pathways can also be incredibly useful; however current advice does discourage the use of these in infants under 2yrs. Do your own research and speak with a doctor if in doubt.

And absolutely essentially, if you have a very little kiddliwink we seriously recommend using a sling to keep both hands-free as much as possible!


 

4. Get big kids involved in planning

Generate excitement about the trip by involving your kiddos in the planning process. Let them help choose an activity, attraction and even meals to create a sense of ownership and anticipation. Read our last blog here to find ways to incorporate the culture of your destination into your kids play to help them learn all about your next adventure location!


5. Educational Opportunities

Before even leaving you can start expanding your children’s world. I would print out the map of our planned adventure with dashes indicating our route and stickers on destinations where we would be stopping, to pin on our dining room wall.

 

This ignited many dinner time chats about what they might experience on the upcoming adventure and was also great for preparing to visit a different culture. Being exposed to other ways of living can spark curiosity and expand their horizons. Capitalise on this by not only visiting desired tourist destinations, but also the local museums/science centres, parks, and eateries where your children can enjoy an authentic experience of living from an alternate culture’s perspective. 


6. Portable entertainment

A small child’s backpack with new (lightweight) activities for the journey can also be a sanity preserver, especially on long flights or train trips. Things like activity books and story books highlighting the destination they’re travelling to (we have some great ones if you're coming to Australia, or heading to New Zealand), or card games like Fish/Uno etc. Note if your kiddoes suffer with car sickness, verbal games taking their gaze outside the car can be helpful. Think I-spy, counting the cows / red cars and whatever else you can come up with! Remember small, packaged snacks, water and wet wipes never go astray!


7. Capture the memories

Encourage your children to document their adventures through drawings, journalling, or photography. Not only will this help them remember the trip, but it also fosters creativity and self-expression. My children’s teachers also requested they return to share with the class what they learned on their trips. By the end of primary school, my kids could produce a small documentary!



8. Embrace Spontaneity


While planning is essential, don't be afraid to deviate from the itinerary and

seize unexpected opportunities for adventure. Whether it's stopping to feed the birds or joining in a local festival, some of the best memories are made when you least expect them. Also know that some of the most memorable moments are when challenges occur. For instance: unpacking ALL our luggage onto the floor while in queue at a Parisian airport due to misplacing our passports, is one such memory my now grown young adults still recall with humour: “remember that time……”



 

Traveling with children can be a wonderfully enriching experience for the whole family. By planning ahead where possible, while embracing both the joys and challenges of travelling with your children, you can share bonding moments, role model problem solving and create treasured memories that last a lifetime.


N.B. The passports were found packed inside a toiletries bag – my then 11yr old helper had considered it a ‘safe’ storage place. Safe? Yes. Convenient? No.


Wishing you many fun-filled adventures on your parenting journey..

 
With love & magic,
Luna x



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