Tips for travelling with kids

For some people, taking the grandkids on a holiday, or even a day trip, can be a daunting prospect. Sure, you’ve done it all before, but if you’re a little out of practice, then our tips for travelling with kids will help to make the whole affair a little simpler.

Travelling with toddlers

1. Take your time
Kids love to explore, so for them, rushing headlong through your holiday not only takes the fun out of the journey, but it’s almost a sure-fire way to a tantrum. So when you plan your day, take into consideration extra time to experience your surrounds. Allow for toilet breaks, unexpected pit stops and the odd spot of misbehaviour. You may find it a little easier to keep your cool if you know you have time on your side.

2. Take a camera
You know how much kids love seeing themselves on the small screen of a camera, so why not give them a sturdy camera so they can take their own pictures? A kid with a camera is a wonderful thing; it gives them a healthy distraction – one that encourages them to observe their surroundings and stimulate their creativity. It also enables them to find what interests them and you may even be amazed at the results of photographs taken from their perspective.

3. Prepare for any weather
A comfortable kid is a happy kid, so pack clothes that will make any conditions in which you find yourself as enjoyable and as pleasant as possible. The last thing you want a third of the way into your day out is a squawking youngster yapping about being too hot or cold, or that their feet hurt.

4. Pack extra nappies, undies and pants
It’s something we all see but hope never happens to us: the old ‘oops I’ve pooed my pants’ scenario. Think it can’t happen to your grandchild? Think again. And with that thought in mind, eliminate the prospect of embarrassment to your charge and yourself by packing some extra nappies, underpants and pants. It may not happen, but at least you’ll be prepared if it does.

5. Provide alternative entertainment
Kids are fickle creatures. That magical day trip to the museum or the zoo may seem like fun at the time of planning, but it may not turn out to be so intriguing for a young child. So provide alternative forms of entertainment that they can easily go on with whilst you continue on your merry way through the zoo. The good, old colouring book and pencils was always a sure bet, but, nowadays, a smartphone or tablet packed with apps and games seems to be the pacifier of choice for the modern child.

6. Use public transport
It may not be your preferred method of transport, but kids love trains, trams, buses and planes. Didn’t you? Encourage them to look out the window and become familiar with their surrounds, point out funny people or interesting landmarks, play ‘I spy’ or simply ask them what they see and what they like as you pass by. For children, passing scenery can quite often be as stimulating as a TV screen, only it’s a little healthier. And sitting on a train whilst interacting with your grandkids is surely a much healthier and less stressful way to spend your day than hurling abuse at the traffic.

7. Remember the medicine
If a child is going to become ill, heaven forbid, you can almost bet it will happen on your watch. So make sure you take along any medicine they may need, and pack some bandaids, antiseptic wipes, paracetamol, insect repellent, sting treatment and sunscreen. At least you’ll be prepared should unexpected sickness strike.

Travelling with teens

Many of the aforementioned tips will work for older kids as well, especially giving them a camera, but here are some more suggestions for travelling with older kids.

8. Make sure they have what they need before you leave
It’s one thing for an older kid to pack their own bag before a trip, be it for the day or a longer period of time. Allowing them to pack for themselves may give them a feeling of independence – which is good – but it always pays to check the contents of their bags before you depart. Ensure they have all they’ll need, including extra clothes, entertainment and emergency supplies (such as those listed in point seven). If you don’t want to embarrass them with what they’ve forgotten, you can always pop the missing items in your own bag, but it may also be a good idea to let them know so they learn for next time.

9. Encourage them to document their journey
Providing older kids with a notebook gives them the opportunity to journal their holiday – even if it is only a day in the city. It can also give you a chance to catch your breath during your days out, such as by encouraging them to spend some time writing down their experiences whilst you’re having a coffee or lunch. You can also keep them occupied by asking them to collect little bits and pieces, such as feathers, leaves, postcards and brochures, along the way. Then when you arrive at home, you can do a scrapbooking/journaling session with them, allowing them to record their memories of their time out with you.

10. Avoid high-sugar foods
Yep, you’re never too old to experience the incredible highs and lows of excessive sugar consumption, so encourage the kids to stay away from the sweets and soft drinks as much as possible, to ensure that your time is calmer, and more relaxed.

Everyone does things their own way, but these basic travel tips may help you to have a fun, calm and relatively stress-free time with your grandkids.

Do you have any other tips you think would benefit our members? Why not share them in the comments below?


Related articles:
Cruising with grandchildren
Free days out with the grandkids
10 clever ways to keep kids busy

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