With Christmas almost upon us and the school holidays even sooner, it’s the time of year when many families decide to travel. Be it a winter holiday or a Christmas visit to see family, or even a shopping trip, most parents are in agreement that travelling with children of any age is a mammoth task.
I have 3 children myself ages 14, 11 and 6. I’m also a single parent and I don’t drive. Therefore I have to rely on public transport or lifts. However I did manage a long 10 hour flight many years ago with 2 of them on my own, all the way to the Caribbean and it wasn’t nearly as stressful as I imagined. So here are some useful tips from me that you may just find useful for your family any time of the year.
1) Plan in advance – This is probably the one thing that will eliminate the stress of the journey. Once you book your holidays or plan a visit, work out exactly how you are you’re going to get there. If driving – plan your route. If using trains, buses, flying then shop around for cheap tickets, check timetables, enquire about taxi fares for the airport/train station or possible lifts from friends/family. Note it all down; times, journeys etc and allow extra minutes for possible delays.
2) Try not to over pack – This is one I am guilty of myself and am gradually learning to pack lighter. If your off to the Bahamas ask yourself do you really need those sweaters and jeans and a case full of blankets? (just in case) of course you don’t. Of course kids need clothes and accessories but if you’re off to much warmer climates then one or two light cardigans for night time is usually sufficient. If visiting relatives consider if they have things there that you could avoid taking with you. As for shopping do you really need that huge handbag?
3) Babies don’t need as much as you think! Yes they need a few things but not huge bag fulls. Depending on the baby’s age, a changing bag with a few nappies, wipes, a bib, formula powder, bottle and a change of clothes is usually enough. Most restaurants are happy to provide hot water to make up and warm bottles and some of them even have bottle warming devices. Many stores have baby change rooms too and extra nappies (should you run out) can be purchased pretty much anywhere.
4) Babies and prams – Travelling on public transport with a baby can be an absolute nightmare especially at the more busier periods like Christmas. There is limited space for prams on buses and trains and if flying it will obviously need completely folding down. Folding a large pram whilst holding a small baby on your own is extremely difficult and even a little dangerous. It’s really important to consider your mode of travel when purchasing your pram/pushchair and how easy it is to manoeuvre and fold down. Kiddies kingdom icandy range have pushchairs to suit all terrains and come in many styles and sizes to suit everyone.
4) Relieve boredom – All children no matter what age will get bored and fed up when travelling from A-B. Long journeys are obviously much worse and as parents we are all no doubt familiar with that constant question – “are we nearly there yet?”. Allow children to take along phones and tablets for long journeys. Apps and games can often be a great way to pass time and before they know it they will be there. For very young children, colouring books & pens can be useful. Frequent breaks when driving can also help break up journey boredom, service stations offer toilet trips and a place to eat but can be expensive.
5) Focus on the event & not the journey – Try and focus your mind on the holiday or the family visit or trip rather than the getting there. Talk to your children about how much fun your holiday/trip will be when you’re there or how good it will be to see such a person or even the things you may buy whilst out shopping. Avoid pre warning children too much about their behaviour whilst travelling there as it will just make them more worried and anxious too. And remember the journey back is always so much easier that we rarely worry about that part of it.