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Thursday, October 1, 2020

Top Tips For Organizing A Trip With Kids In Tow

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Being able to travel with our kids is something that lots of us aspire to. We want to help them see new sights, open their eyes to the world and create great memories together. However, the reality can be quite stressful - routines are disrupted, travel can be long and tiring, and being in an unfamiliar place is potentially overwhelming for little ones. The key to smooth travel with kids is really quite simple - planning. Thinking ahead and putting some thought into each stage of your journey can transform the experience into something really positive that you'll all remember for a lifetime.

Double The Time You Think You Need

One of the most fundamental truths of family travel is that everything takes two times as long as you think it will. Tasks like packing suitcases, checking in at the airport, getting through security checks - things that didn't seem a big deal travelling solo or with a partner - always take a lot longer with young kids in tow. Allow double the time you would usually. This also reduces the stress of worrying that you're going to get stuck in traffic or miss a flight. Kids pick up on stress and will usually act up, especially if they're already feel out of their comfort zone, so keeping it calm is better for everyone. Once there, apply the same rule to your activities. You have to allow more time and may not be able to squeeze in as much into your travel itinerary, so aim for less in a day to cut the stress.

Pack Your Carry On Well

You can avoid meltdowns (yours or the children's!) by making sure to pack a few vital things in your bag. A fully charged tablet loaded with games, books and downloaded kids films can be a lifesaver. Take a power bank and a pair of kids headphones as well. If you normally limit how much screen time your kids have, travel is the time to relax those rules. Flights, car journeys, long queues - these are all times you'll be glad of the help of an electronic device or two. If you're worried about their safety, click here to signup with Family Orbit iPhone parental monitoring app so you can be sure of what they're watching. You might also want to pack a little surprise bag with things like playing cards, a small colouring in book and crayons, stickers and other small treats that you can pull out in case your kids start getting especially frustrated to provide an emergency diversion. Healthy snacks are another great idea. Often the food you can grab on the go is either packed with sugar or highly processed, which doesn't help with keeping kids calm. Eating can be at strange times so to avoid children having a tantrum because they're hungry, stock up on healthier snacks like fruit, cereal bars and savory muffins to take with you. Another thing to pack is a favourite toy from home that can help to relax and comfort them in an unfamiliar situation. Smart packing really can save the day when it comes to travel with kids.

Be Smart About Travel Times

As far as possible, it's a good idea to plan travel around your kid's usual schedule. For example, when picking flight times, if possible go for the ones that work around nap times and bed times, so that kids can board and settle to sleep. Keeping kids up past their sleep times to board a plane can result in some spectacular tired tantrums. Letting them sleep when they usually would is a far better idea as it keeps their routines consistent and isn't so disruptive - which makes for an easier time for everyone.

Get Organized With Bookings

If there is an option to pre-book something, then it's always worth doing, even if there's a small cost attached. 'Playing it by ear' is one thing that really doesn't work with kids in tow! Making sure you have all the transport, accommodation and seats arranged in advance is key - and if you can pay for early boarding or late check out and it's going to make life easier, you should seriously consider doing it.

Take Kids Through The Itinerary

Children generally don't do well with too much uncertainty and change, and they like to know what's coming up. So it's well worth talking them through the travel schedule and what will happen when. This is especially important when it's the first time kids are going on a long trip. Tell them what to expect and describe a little what things might be like. You can also talk about your expectations for their behaviour on the trip as well. It's a good chance to discuss things in a neutral setting.

Don't Pack Too Much

There's nothing worse than trying to struggle on and off transport with kids and lots of heavy bags - so learning to pack light is a skill that will come in very handy. In most destinations, you will be able to get everything you might need, including nappies and suncream and other bulky items. Only pack what you need for the journey and find out where the nearest supermarket is at the other end. Using packing cubes can help you make better use of the space in suitcases and bags, as well as keeping things organized. And instead of overpacking on clothes, if your destination is warm, it might be a good idea to pack some laundry soap and handwash a few items in the sink, as they will dry quickly. For yourself, developing a travel capsule wardrobe is a smart way to be well dressed without taking along too many things.

Focus On The Memories

The most important thing to remember is making brilliant memories. Get the kids to keep a photo diary of the activities that you do, or collect small mementoes that they can put into the memory box when they come back. Keeping a travel journal can also be a lovely way to preserve memories and also gives kids a creative activity to complete during and after the trip.

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