The very thought of taking your children on an exotic vacation may be leaving you feeling completely stressed out – not exactly what you may have intended when booking a family trip away. If you have never traveled too far with your little ones, the entire concept may seem somewhat overwhelming. Are you dreading the disruption to their daily routine, how you will manage to keep them entertained and most importantly, how will you attempt to keep them calm in an unfamiliar environment? Here are 6 top tips to bear in mind when traveling to abroad with your family:
Before any trip, it is always a great idea to plan exactly what you are going to do when you arrive, dependent on the amount of time you have and the interests of those going. If this is your very first time taking the children abroad, you may need to consider a little more flexibility in your schedule than you would as a couple or in a group. Try not to over plan – the less you try and pack into such a short space of time, the less stressed you should feel. Mix up your days to cater to everyone’s interests; for example, spend one day at the beach, a morning visit to a museum or a spot of afternoon shopping at the mall. Sometimes even just a day by the pool is required, so you have a chance to unwind and let the children have some much-needed downtime.
It may also be worth introducing your travel destination in advance, so they become familiar with where they are going and what to expect once they arrive. You may even decide to show them television shows or movies set in the location. Likewise, if your child is a picky eater, why not research some of the local cuisine and have a go at cooking some meals from scratch to try before they arrive?
2. Make traveling fun
A long trip can be quite traumatic when you have small children to consider; therefore, it is a good idea to try and make their journey as relaxed and enjoyable as possible. Bring along some of their favorite toys on the trip, but perhaps don’t hand them all over at once, or they may lose patience in a very short space of time. For older children, it may be worth purchasing a backpack for storing their toys and gadgets for the trip. Choose a smaller piece of luggage which offers a spacious interior, secure internal pockets and padded straps for extra comfort. Check out Nickis Gucci backpacks for a range of quirky and luxurious designs. Giving your child their own luggage to carry should give them a greater sense of independence to take care of their possessions. You may also decide to fill their backpack with maps and a travel journal to fill out, in which they can add photos, stamps, postcards and other souvenirs throughout the trip.
You may not be too keen on enter much of entertaining your children with technology, but it may be a real life-saver when it comes to extensive journeys. Try and refrain from allowing them to play on devices around a week or so before the trip, so that the device holds their attention.
3. Choose child-friendly accommodation
When choosing accommodation, it is always best to opt for a hotel or villa that is both luxurious in offering all the necessities you crave, but also caters for children. There are many hotels available which are able to provide baby monitors, blackout blinds and highchairs for example. These extras may already be readily available, while others may need booking beforehand. Self-catering accommodation is much more flexible, in terms of cooking familiar meals that you know children will eat and having your own space without the fear of interrupting other guests.
Likewise, you should try and find somewhere that offers fun activities for the children; whether it be a crèche, kid’s club or child-friendly swimming pool, in which they can socialize with others their own age. Allowing them to play independently will also provide you with some time to yourself. After all, it is your vacation too!
4. Stock-up on essentials at all times
Whether you are planning a long day trip or a laidback day by the pool, ensure you have all of the essentials with you at all times. You may be facing a huge meltdown if your little one is hungry, so carrying a few snacks may be a sensible idea. Likewise, always be sure to carry a bottle of sunscreen and plenty of bottles of water. Infants and the elderly are at greater risk of heatstroke, which is caused by overheating and dehydration.
5. Pack wisely
As you will be traveling as a family, there is a great amount of pressure as to what to pack and how much is necessary. One of the best pieces of advice is to try not to over-do it, as you can always purchase other essentials once you arrive. Start planning your packing list around a week or so before your travel date. Check whether your accommodation has washing facilities – if not, you may need to pack a little extra clothing for daytime and evening wear, as well as a few spares. Miniature sized toiletries are a great space-saving method, which should last you a few days before finding local stores.
Within your hand-luggage, be sure to pack two changes of clothes, diapers and wet wipes. Many airports also allow milk and baby food to be taken through security if it is under 100ml. Despite this, any containers will be opened for checks by security, but this should take a matter of seconds. If you have any doubts about luggage allowances, do check with the airport before departure.
Finally, you will also need to consider how you and your family plan on getting around once you arrive. If you hire a care, ensure you book a car seat beforehand should you need one for your infant. Hiring a car may be the best solution if you have very small children who may struggle with hopping on and off public transport.
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