Trips away are great fun for the whole family, especially if it’s your baby’s first time away from home. Going on a family adventure is a great opportunity for parents and children to connect and enjoy each other’s company, especially when parents tend to run a busy schedule at home.
For your first family trip away, if you’re unsure of what to expect, take baby steps and opt for somewhere closer to home like a drive up the coast or try a weekend on the farm as a practice run. This will better equip you for longer trips with the kids and give you more confidence for your next family holiday, especially if it involves taking the whole family on a long flight.
For new parents, travelling with kids will be a whole new experience so talk to those who are in the know and get tips on any shortcuts and handy tricks of the trade. Even those with years of experience under their belt will tell you that travelling with kids requires a lot of planning. You should also be mentally prepared to expect the unexpected, and learn to be flexible and embrace the surprises along the way.
When and where to go?
It goes without saying that the age of your children will be a major factor when making decisions relating to the family holiday. Make a shortlist of possible family holiday destinations and do some research to find out what would be an ideal time to travel. This will depend on the season at your destination, whether it is a peak time to travel and how the timing fits into your family’s schedule. Make a choice that agrees with your bank balance and remember to allow a bit extra for unexpected costs that might creep up along the way.
There are many options available, which cater to families so check availability early and see if there are any family travel deals on offer. Last-minute holiday specials are rarely an option when you need to plan ahead and have your whole family to consider. But all is not lost when it comes to holiday discounts. If you plan well in advance, you can get in early for great family holiday specials. Some hotels offer family packages where the kids can stay and eat for free.
Check the type of facilities and activities on offer that are suitable for families or just the kids. A kids club is great for keeping the kids entertained while the parents catch up on some much-needed R & R. After all, moms and dads deserve a break too.
Packing for the trip
Think of what is needed for keeping the little ones content. A few books and toys may take up extra space in the luggage, but you’ll discover that this extra weight will pay off very quickly especially during longer trips. And don’t forget to pack their favourite comfort item, be it a toy or a security blanket! Having a familiar item on hand may just help your child sleep soundly in an unfamiliar setting.
For longer trips in the car or travelling with kids on board a plane or train, carry a supply of healthy snacks, such as crackers or dried fruit to satisfy little tummies quickly when needed, especially during unexpected delays.
If luggage space is an issue, opt for inexpensive colouring books, crayons or puzzles, as you can always ditch these if there’s a need to make room for new-found treasures along the way.
For more information see Parenting.