There’s no denying that travelling with little people can be tiresome – for them and you!
But the festive season is fast approaching, and with it, many a long plane and car ride. So we’ve gathered up our top tips for traveling by plane or car over the holiday season –
Snacks, snacks, snacks
Get some deep ice trays with snap-on lids, or tackle boxes and prepare snack trays of dried fruit, raisins, mini biscuits and some of their favourite treats. You’ll never have too many snacks.
Pack an emergency kit
A spare pair of clothes for everyone – including you – painkillers, Calpol, wipes, plasters, extra nappies, tissues, and battery chargers will have you covered if there’s an unexpected accident.
Top tip: put everyone’s outfits in separate ziplock bags – they’ll be much easier to find and the dirty clothes can go straight into the empty bags.
Make treasure bags
A small bag for each child filled with cheap toys, a new book, stickers, crayons, colouring pages, a Water Wow and perhaps a Lego or Duplo set will be a real treat. Wrapping everything individually will keep them occupied for even longer.
Top tip: take a pack of sticky notes and cover up bits of the pictures in a book to make a DIY lift-the-flap book. It keeps toddlers entertained for a long time.
Load that tablet
Get your Tot a pair of toddler headphones and load up your tablet with all their favourite shows. Make sure it’s fully charged and pack a battery pack and it’s charger as backup.
Dress your kids in roomy, comfortable clothes that can be layered for warmth. Pyjamas are always a good choice.
When to board
It there are two adults in your party split up at the boarding gate. Mum or Dad goes ahead and gets everything situated on the plane while the other stays at the boarding gate until the last minute letting the kids run off some steam. You’ll avoid being stuck in your seat with a wriggling toddler waiting for everyone else to board.
Take a pillow
This increases the surface area of your lap making for a much more comfortable journey for you and your baby. It’s one more thing to carry yes, but we’ve tested this one and it’s worth it. And if you have the space, pack an extra blanket that smells like home.
Meals for babies and toddlers
Airlines are notoriously bad at providing age-appropriate food for toddlers. Check with your airline but if all they offer is a pouch and some fruit juice you’ll need to pack a meal for them, or pick up some options in duty-free. But do avoid risky foods like nut-based products.
Consider lounge access
Airport lounges are wonderous things and definitely worth buying a day pass if you’re going to have a few hours layover. At the big airports, a lot of the lounges have kid-friendly areas with TVs, highchairs and even small softplays. It’s a much nicer experience than just sitting at the boarding gate.
Make sure you are clued up on how much luggage allowance you can take, what you can check for free (a lot of airlines don’t count buggies and car seats), liquid limits, whether you need copies of your children’s birth certificates and how to make sure you’re all sitting together – especially if you want a seat with a bassinet. If your airline offers a Family check-in gate make use of it!
A lot of the above works for road trips too, but here are a few specific tips:
Well-planned, regular pit stops can turn an arduous drive into a real adventure. You’ll need regular stops so it’s going to take longer anyway, why not turn them into adventures? Try and detour through adventure farms or playgrounds for a bit of energy-burning fun.
Make sure you’ve got a couple ready to go, whether that’s on CD or downloaded podcasts to your phone or iPad. Another good option The Novel Effect app, which adds sound effects as you read a story out loud. Just make sure you pack the book so you can read it.
We’d love to know what your top travel tips are – please share them in the comments?