The Workingmums’ Guide to Travelling with Kids

You’re off on holiday and you’re really, really looking forward to some down time or, at the very least, something that isn’t work. But first you have to get to your destination. A couple of hours’ journey in the car, a ferry ride, a jaunt in a train or an international flight might have seemed all part of the holiday before you had children. Now it’s something you have to plot meticulously in advance, preparing for any eventuality. Workingmums.co.uk has some tips.

You’re off on holiday and you’re really, really looking forward to some down time or, at the very least, something that isn’t work. But first you have to get to your destination. A couple of hours’ journey in the car, a ferry ride, a jaunt in a train or an international flight might have seemed all part of the holiday before you had children. Now it’s something you have to plot meticulously in advance, preparing for any eventuality. Workingmums.co.uk has some tips.

1. Travel as light as possible while preparing for any eventuality. This is a tough nut to crack, but bear in mind that at your destination there are likely to be shops and other modern conveniences. On the plus side, most things seem to cost more in the UK so you might end up saving money by buying abroad if you locate the right shops.

2. This is where planning in advance comes in. Research your destination and all it has to offer. Where are the nearest supermarkets, chemists, emergency umbrella suppliers?

3. Allow the kids to take one item of hand luggage that they have a duty to carry. Get that in writing [even if they can’t write]. Get them to pack it themselves, but go through it with them to ensure they haven’t just filled it full of small plastic things that they won’t even play with and they haven’t left out that teddy bear that they can’t get to sleep without. If you are going through security checks ensure that they have not jammed it with small metal objects like cars or you could spend some time in customs. Give them a weight limit so they can actually carry the bag without falling over. Make it into a game and part of the holiday experience.

4. Bring something to do on the trip. You never know how long it might last, given the ever present possibility of delays. You could make special holiday surprise bags full of colouring books, a magazine or quiz books, a packs of cards and stickers. When thinking of things to take ensure that you take the small light stuff that has multiple functions, eg, a pack of cards, rather than the expensive heavy stuff that only does one thing and then runs out of batteries. Try to recall every card game you have ever been taught and you could even get the kids to invent some new ones.

5. In extremis, for instance, when you have run out of all possible activities and the plane has not even left the tarmac, consider decorating the sick bag and turning it into a hand puppet.

6. Bring emergency snacks which are easily disposable and goo-free. Any form of food in transit costs at least twice the normal price. If travelling by car, take an emergency food and drink bag in case of traffic jams. If travelling by plane, get some water once you have passed through security. Your flight could be endlessly delayed. Do not allow children to drink said water until you are in the vicinity of toilets and the seatbelt light is switched off.

7. Bone up on I-spy games and spot the sheep games [a great one for industrial landscapes. It takes literally ages to spot a sheep]. Ensure that any musical selection includes one of your own favourite CDs so you are not subjected to Spongebob’s “greatest” hits for six hours. Create some kind of dance routine to your own songs so that everyone sees them as fun and doesn’t groan when mum’s selection comes on. Under no circumstances allow your partner to do the CD selection if you don’t want to spend the entire journey listening to obscure music from his youth.

8. Develop some travel routines which you can sprinkle through the journey to make it seem like you are progressing eg act out the entire flight safety demonstration with them [don’t forget the vital red toggle bit], get them to spot the wind sock, visit the cafe section of the train [and attempt to emerge with only the cheapest item on offer] and make pit stops at regular picnic spots en route.

9. Ensure that every time you pass a toilet you check no-one needs to go. You know that five minutes after passing it when you are stuck in a small tight space with lots of people you will hear a small voice saying “I need to go NOW!”

10. Always carry wet wipes for any kind of liquid-related emergency.

Happy holidays.





Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *