The summer holidays are here at last, and with it the long-awaited opportunity to see new places, enjoy a well-earned break, and spend quality time away as a family. If you’re travelling with young children, perhaps for the first time, it helps to be prepared to ensure a smooth, stress-free and enjoyable trip for the whole family.
Our top tips for travelling with children outline our top five ideas on how to prepare, what to pack, and the best travel games and entertainment for toddlers and young children.
Preparing for your trip
- Keep your children informed. Generally, toddlers are wary of a change in the routine, so talk to them well in advance about your trip. Tell them all about where you’re going, and what you’re going to be doing. Look at photos, research the area on the internet, count down the days together, and talk them through the journey – whether it’s a car, flight, ferry – so they know what to expect.
- Schedule in plenty of time. We all know that toddlers don’t like to be rushed! So wherever you’re going, make sure you leave plenty of time, to ensure a calm, leisurely journey, in which your toddler has plenty of time to ask lots of questions, and take in the whole experience.
- Plan your toddler’s entertainment in advance. Plan your games, download your apps and pack those activity books well in advance, so you’re not left with a bored and frustrated toddler.
- Plan for your climate and pack everything you need. Whether it’s a beach or camping holiday, making sure you’re aware in advance of the weather you can expect, and packing clothing and extras accordingly, will save you precious time and stress shopping for things when you arrive.
- Pack for ‘just in case’. Let’s face it, if you don’t pack it, sheer bad luck will mean you end up needing it! So be prepared and prepare for every eventuality when packing.
What to pack in your travel bag
- Baby wipes obviously, but antiseptic wipes and antiseptic hand wash are also very handy when travelling, particularly when eating out, using public toilets and changing areas.
- Change of clothes. While you hope it will be a smooth, mess-free journey, it doesn’t hurt to plan for the likelihood that your toddler will get messy, so always make sure you have that change of clothes handy.
- Pull-ups / nappies. If you happen to be toilet training your toddler, don’t worry about reverting to pull-ups for your journey. It’s one less thing for you both to worry about, and one day won’t affect their progress – only your stress levels!
- It always helps to have plenty of your child’s favourite snacks that travel well – raisins, rice cakes, biscuits etc. to meet those hunger pangs between meals, and to keep them entertained!
- A small first aid kit. Plasters, pain relief medicine sachets, antihistamines, cream for bites or rashes. Enough to be prepared for any eventualities on your journey or while you’re away.
Top five ways to entertain your child while travelling
- Tablet / electronic toys / apps on your phone. There’s a time and a place for allowing toddlers to access games on your phone or tablet – and that time is now! When you need them to sit quietly for long periods at a time, those handheld games and phone apps are ideal!
- Games and colouring in activities. Don’t forget you can print off downloadable games and activities from the Toad Hall website.
- Choose books for your child’s age and interests, to help keep them entertained on your journey.
- I spy, The Licence Plate Game, Tic Tac Toe, 20 Questions…the list of fun, free games you can play in the car or anywhere on your travels to fill time is a long one! So brush up on a few of the ones you think will work for your journey and have them ready!
- Songs. Everyone loves a holiday sing-a-long! If you’re stuck for ideas, the Toad Hall website lists the words to the songs your toddler is likely to know and love, to give you inspiration!
Wherever you’re heading off to this Summer, we hope these top tips for travelling with children will help you enjoy a fun-filled trip for the whole family. Have a wonderful time!