Planning is vital for any trip with children, whether it’s for an hour, a day, or a two-week holiday. So, if you’re taking the little ones on holiday, whether it’s home or abroad, there are a few things you might want to consider first:
Plan your packing with military precision – Gone are the days of chucking some clothes into your suitcase at the last minute. Now you have the responsibility of the little ones to think about. If you forget an essential piece of clothing, medicine or equipment for a young child, it can be disastrous. It’ll help to make a list of what you need and how much for each member of the family, before you start packing and tick things off as you go. Remember to make provision for spills and accidents that may require an extra change of clothes while you’re away too, as doing the laundry on holiday may not be ideal.
Go prepared and keep them occupied – as well as your luggage consider packing a little rucksack or small bag for your child to take with them on the journey to keep them occupied. Include simple activities like crayons and colouring books, puzzles or maybe even a disposable camera. To avoid those hunger pangs pop in a couple of healthy snacks (avoid the sugar rush of sweets) – and a drink can be a treat too.
Make your holiday entertaining for the whole family – carefully plan your trip to make sure you’re going to a family friendly resort and there will be plenty for your child to do. Happy children make for happy adults!
Family friendly hotel – as well as keeping the children entertained, you need to have peace of mind that health and safety policies are in place especially developed for children. You also need to know those tools you take for granted at home, from baby food and bottle warming facilities to cots, night lights etc., are also going to be available.
Check your passports are up to date – again this requires planning in the months leading up to your holiday. This means making sure that even the smallest baby in your family has a passport.
The flight – this can be a nightmare if you’re not prepared, especially if you’re travelling long haul. Children, especially young ones, just don’t do sitting still for long periods of time and when they’re not happy, chances are they’ll let you know about it and loudly. To combat this problem make sure yopu take on board puzzles and games for entertainment or games they can download from their mobiles or a laptop. Sit the kids between parents so they can chat to each other but still be supervised by yourself. If you can keep essentials like tissues and wipe-up matirials in your bag for those times of crisis.
Long car journeys – as well as taking plenty for your children to do, bear in mind whether it will be safe to stop for toilet breaks, what sort of car seat you’ll need if you are travelling to a different country, where you may plan to drive a foriegn car and whether you have everything you need should the car break down or you get stuck in queues.
Take your time – the more successful trips happen when you’re able to take your time and go with a clear head. As well as planning your trip, make sure you go in good time so you have the chance to remember everything you need.
Be prepared for the climate change – if you’re going with very young children, make sure you are prepared for the extreme weathers and have contingencies for keeping them comfortable.
Take baby wipes – even if you haven’t got little ones, any mother will tell you they’re useful for everything, from cleaning hands and faces to wiping up a variety of spills.
Brand them – not quite as scary as it sounds, but some people like to write their mobile phone number on their child’s arm, just in case they get lost. Now that’s what I call a good idea!
Banish those bugs – Because children are a magnet for new germs and are therefore prone to illness on holiday, remember to pack anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer for when there’s no washing facilities. Antibacterial wipes are also useful for giving the cutlery a wipe in restaurants where you’re unsure of hygiene, or a squirt of hand sanitizer is great when there s no washing facilities.
Take a first aid kit – again, because children can be prone to accidents and illness on holiday, go prepared by packing a first aid kit that includes an easy-to-swallow medicine such as Calpol, as well as antiseptic wipes, antihistamine, plasters, sting treatment, Sudocrem and a thermometer.
And remember, planning is always key.