As the summer holidays begin many people will be going on holiday with their families. Holidays are great but getting to your destination can be tiring, especially if it’s a long journey and you have young children.
Here are a few of our top tips for travelling with kids:
Plan, plan, plan
Plan your journey so you know where you are going, how to get there, any stops you will make on the way and what you will need for the journey. If you are going abroad, plan how you will get to your destination from the airport. If you are going on holiday with friends or family decide how you are all travelling and who is going with whom.
Pack your travelling bags well. Pack a small bag or rucksack with things for the journey, then you are not searching through suitcases for the things you need. If you are flying, make sure all the things you want for the flight are in your hand luggage. Keep passports and boarding passes safe and in a handy place so you can easily get to them when required. If you are driving, have your travel bag inside the car rather than in the boot.
If your children are a bit older they can take a small rucksack of their own with their things in. Pack this with them though as you don’t want them to take anything impractical or take too much – there is no need for a whole set of Lego City to go on the journey! Make sure the bag isn’t too heavy either as if it is you will end up carrying it along with all your own bags!
Give yourself plenty of time
However you are travelling – plane, train or automobile – make sure you have plenty of time for the journey. If going by train, get to the station early so you can buy your tickets and find the right platform. It’s a good idea to book tickets in advance so this is one less thing to worry about on the day.
If you are driving to your holiday destination find out how long it will take and plan your journey to avoid busy times. If you have a long drive, consider travelling at night so your children can sleep or leaving home very early in the morning to avoid busy traffic times. If you are driving at night remember to stay safe and take breaks to keep yourself awake.
If travelling by air allow plenty of time to get to, and through, the airport. It can be stressful going through an airport with children as there are often long queues for check-in and security, especially during school holidays, and the last thing you need is to be rushing through so you don’t miss your plane. Make sure your arrive with plenty of time to spare, check in and go straight through security so you can then have some time to relax before boarding.
Make the journey part of the holiday
When you are going away you really just want to get there to start your holiday but why not treat the journey as part of the holiday? Going to an airport, port or station is exciting for children so before your go talk about the journey, what is going to happen so they know what to expect.
Involve them in plans for things to do on the journey so they are looking forward to it. If you are travelling by car, look at your route and see if there is anywhere you can stop on the way for a visit or a picnic to make the journey part of the holiday. This also breaks up the journey and gives you a break from driving.
Snacks and drinks
Make sure you have plenty of snacks for your trip. Hungry children (and adults) can be grumpy children (and adults!). Take a variety of snacks, not just sweets, such as crackers, rice cakes, fruit, dried fruit and cereal bars. Make sure you all keep hydrated too. Travelling can be exhausting and dehydrating so having plenty of healthy snacks to keep energy levels up and water to keep hydrated will help.
It is also a good idea to take some baby wipes or antibacterial wipes for cleaning sticky fingers and faces.
Long journeys will mean the need for toilet stops. If you are flying, make sure children go the toilet just before boarding. If you are potty training or your child is recently potty trained it can be a good idea to put them in pull up pants for the flight. That way if they need to go desperately when you can’t go to the toilet, e.g. take-off or landing, then you can avoid accidents. If you are driving, check the route for places you will be able to stop for comfort breaks if needed. This also gives an excuse for everyone to get out of the car, have a break and some fresh air.
Take something to do
No matter which mode of transportation you use, travelling can be boring, especially for children so make sure they have plenty of things to do. But remember that you have to carry everything so choose activities which are lightweight and small. A few ideas of things to take include:
- Portable DVD player – these can be used in the car or on a plane. Just remember to charge it up before you leave if it will not be plugged into the car. You will need to take a few DVDs to play so will need space for these. Take headphones so other passengers are not disturbed.
- iPad or tablet – download child-friendly apps, games, TV shows and films. Again make sure they are fully charged before you go and take headphones.
- Books – a favourite story book or picture book. Choose paperbacks as these are lighter.
- Small toys – nothing too big and nothing too expensive in case they get lost.
- Colouring books, paper and pencils
- Sticker books/activity books – children can spend hours working through these
- Magazines – get their favourite comic to keep them entertained
- Travel games or card games
If you are on a long journey, don’t give out everything you have straight away as this will be a bit overwhelming and the excitement will not last. Try handing things out one by one, perhaps a magazine, then a bit later some time on the tablet, then some stickers etc. It can be a good idea to wrap some things up as little presents to create some excitement throughout the journey.
If you all else fails, or if you are somewhere it is not practical to get things out to do (such as airport queues), try simple word games such as I-spy. Another good game is the ABC party game where you take it in turns to say what you will take to a party, working your way through the alphabet. For example, I went to a party and took an apple; I went to a party and took an apple and a beach ball etc. You can also play spotting games where you have to spot things of a certain colour or type. This can be good in the car as you can each have a colour of car to spot and keep score to see who spots the most.
We hope this helps with your travel plans this summer and most of all wish you a happy holiday from everyone at the ELF team!
At Early Learning Furniture we are experts in early years’ education. We supply resources and equipment, such as classroom furniture, school play equipment and library furniture, to nurseries, pre-schools and primary schools. For more information on any of our products please contact us or call 01733 511121.