How to Travel Stress Free with Young Children
A family vacation is a dream for every family. However, when you have to bring young children with you, things can get a little bit more tricky. You have to prepare the kids, get travel documents for everyone and naturally, you have to deal with packing and find suitable accommodation.
However, there are several things that you can do to make travelling with kids stress-free. Here are some basic tips that will help you work around some of the stress when planning and taking a vacation with children.
1. Involve the Kids in the Whole Process
Unless your children are very young, getting the kids involved is one of the best ways to make travelling with them stress free. Unfortunately, this is something that most parents don’t do and at times, can be the source of difficulties.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that they have the final say; it just simply means getting them involved in the decision-making process as early as possible.
So, for example, see what they say to have about the destination you’re thinking about going to on vacation. Show them pictures and explain what kind of things you’ll be able to do together.
Nothing can be more stressful than taking a long flight when you have got kids with you. And it can get worse when you are travelling with infants.
Whilst it’s not always possible due to budget restrictions or available flight times from the airline, try to find a timetable which fits their natural day-to-day pattern. So, for example, if your children start school at 9am, try taking your departure flight at around 11am. By getting to the airport at 9am will give the sense that the children have to be somewhere on time (the only difference being the airport instead of school).
Keep children entertained at the airport by involving them in the travel process such as luggage drop and check in. There are usually some fun shops to look in with toys and other items for children. Another idea is to play airport scavenger hunt using these free printables that you can have ready in your bag for easy entertainment at the airport.
When it comes to the actual flight itself, obviously this is going to depend on the duration of the flight. But arm yourself with plenty of things to do: if your children are younger, drawing almost always works. Nowadays with tablets and phones (make sure they’re fully charged), and with services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, you can download movies and shows directly to your tablet or phone to keep the kids entertained for the whole flight.
3. Plan Ahead
Naturally, you know your child’s (or children’s) moods pretty well so you can use this to your advantage by planning ahead of time. For example, if you know that they get pretty grump by midday because they’re hungry make sure you either have food at the ready or at least, plan to stop to eat around that time.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean that everyday has to be planned like a military exercise but just by putting a little bit of thought behind what you plan to do and during which days will help things move along with far less stress.
4. Don’t Forget that They’re Kids
Depending on the style of holidays you enjoy, it’s tempting to follow what you want to do. This is fine if you’re travelling alone or with your partner but with kids coming along, things change. So they are probably not going to be interested in visiting, for example, the art museums that you would have ordinarily enjoyed by yourself.
So plan in things for them too: whether it’s a trip to a zoo, going to a show for kids or a new activity they’ve never done before. In many senses, it’s their ‘time-off’ too so make sure you slot in as many activities for them as well.
And finally, make sure you have “days off” if you’re the type of traveller that wants to see everything. Kids get really cranky if you drag them around to too many places. So make sure you simply have days off at the beach, pool or just lazing around.
5. Documentation and Other Essentials
For European families taking a short (less than 90 days) vacation to the US, they are required to have an ESTA for everyone, including the kids. Take a look at ESTA guide if you are travelling to the US for the first time.
Whereas European tourists require an ESTA, US families don’t need a visa to travel to Europe. However, from 1 January 2021, US families will require to apply for an ETIAS for all family members to enter Europe. Make sure you do your evisa application in time to be well prepared and save time when travelling.
Always keep a copy of your important documents in your suitcase: so this would include your passport / ID card and driving license.
Also it’s vital to take any common medications with you (not only for yourself but the children as well) and finally, make sure you purchase adequate medical insurance in case you need any medical attention whilst you’re on vacation: there’s nothing worse than having to deal with medical headaches and especially with children whilst you’re away.
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