Travelling can be addictive and if you’re worried that having kids means you’ll have to stop then worry no more! If at any point in time you have kids, it doesn’t mean the end of travelling. It means a new travel buddy! Kids are fun. I admit they can be troublesome. And don’t get me started on the terrible twos! But they can be a great to travel with.
Here are my top tips for travelling with children.
- Many people say a child learns more while travelling than in a year of school. I agree with this! Imagine your child hiking up to a glacier, walking through historic alleys in old European countries, visiting one of the tallest buildings in the world. Or tasting new fruits and learning where they came from. Hands on learning will embed in their minds. There are so many ways kids can learn while travelling, that satisfies a variety of interests. So don’t feel bad if they miss a week in school, it is OK to travel as long as you know they won’t miss an important exam. Take your kids travelling.
- Give your kids a little freedom while travelling. I admit, this section is difficult for me. This is more of my husbands’ expertise. Our son is independent and resists a lot. So hubby will insist I give him space. For example, walking through airports he would walk behind his dad while I walk behind them all, just to keep an eye on the little one. I think it’s a good idea to give your child a little job. Maybe to carry the map and let them lead the way. Maybe give them a camera and let them walk around taking photos for you. This will give them a feeling of accomplishment and keep them busy while you enjoy the sites together. It is nice to look at the photos they take from their adorable perspective.
- You don’t have to stick to typical family destinations. Marketing makes us believe that theme parks and family resorts are so much more fun than any other place for kids. Wrong! As long as you do your research, you can make any destination fun. African Safaris are mostly marketed as an adult thing, I disagree. This is something most kids will enjoy! Hiking is perfectly fun for kids. Our sons’ first hike was 5KM up to Briksdal Glacier in Norway. We were surprised at how well he did and how much fun he had. So, don’t be fooled by advertisements, try something YOU think your family will enjoy.
- Meal times can sometimes be a horror with kids. We have all been through that hungry and don’t like the food tantrum. Kids are picky, even the ones who love trying new foods. Just be sure to have snacks all the time so they don’t get too hungry. And if you do happen to pass by a restaurant they like, get them a meal to go and then you are free to enjoy whatever restaurant you like. I love to go to street food vendors in Singapore, and try all the finger foods they offer; this is our sons’ favourite place. The chicken or shrimp Satay are his favourite. I guess any food on a stick is enjoyable for kids. As long as your child doesn’t have any allergies, go for it!
- We always book breakfast with our hotel. It makes life so much easier when your child eats a good filling breakfast to start the day. A buffet is good, full of options for kids so they can usually find something they like. You can also take some fruit from the buffet with you for the little ones if they get hungry during your day out.
- Pack light or heavy depending on the circumstances. Being prepared and taking everything you think you may need (or even not need) when you have young kids can save you a lot of time and money. But as they get older you most likely need less. Children grow and can handle their clothes better. So re-evaluate your packing list every time to avoid packing unnecessary things.
- Research and buy the best stroller. This is a must for all travel moms. When you are tired, walking through a busy airport and dragging all these bags with you, the last thing you need is luggage handlers breaking your stroller. After we had our travel stroller broken, we researched a lot and found the Quinny ZAPP! It comes with a bag you fold it in to and you take it on the plane with you as carry-on. Need I say more?
- If there are a few of you travelling, booking multiple hotel rooms can become expensive. There are better and far more cost effective options. Try renting a furnished apartment. Or better yet, serviced apartments. These are cheaper than hotel rooms, have more space and are mostly rented by week.