amily holidays should be fun, but many parents will accept that travelling with children is an extremely stressful time and there seems to be nothing that makes the process easier. Travelling with one child is enough, many mums cry! But what if you are travelling with multiple children this summer? How do you stay sane? Read on for more.
How to plan the journey
If you have an older child travelling with you, now is the time to engage them in playing a more supportive role. Giving an older child some responsibilty when travelling is a great way to eliminate boredom and it also eases the pressure on parents. Giving them small tasks is a way to keep them involved but also reduces the stress when travelling. If you have a child who is taking naps during the day, then it makes sense to plan the journey around the child’s naptime. If their routine is disturbed as little as possible, the journey may run more smoothly. Remember to keep their comfort toys on the top of your bag so they are within reach at all times. You will probably find that you are travelling during naptime so if your little one wakes up, so be prepared for some irritability if they are disturbed. The flipside is leaving after your child’s nap. This may mean that they will have more energy and you will be the one that is irritated. Just make sure you have plenty of things to keep them entertained if this is the case. If you are taking a long-haul flight, try to time it with the children’s bed time so that they will be asleep for much of the journey. If the flight is shorter, try to time it with nap or feeding time. Flying with hungry children is a recipe for disaster, for you and those sharing the same cabin.
What to pack
Packing is often the most stressful part of holidays. Packing for more than one child doubles this headache to a full-blown migraine. Babies and toddlers have a number of essentials and you can’t afford to leave them at home. It is also worth bearing in mind that some things may not be available in your holiday destination, so you have to stock up before travelling. Prepare a checklist beforehand, which may include:
- Suitable daily clothes, such as long-sleeved tops and pants, onesies or light summer clothing.
- Weather-ready clothes, such as jackets, cardigans or sweaters, in case the weather takes a turn for the worse.
- Plenty of pyjamas, just in case of accidents.
- Extra diapers. You may find that your holiday destination has exactly what you need, but some mothers prefer to bring extra just in case. If you are using cloth diapers, bring along plenty of extras for the trip and don’t forget washing detergent.
- Bath essentials, such as shampoo, body wash, body lotion, nappy cream, powder and any special requirements, such as eczema cream or medicines.
- Extra towels, just in case the hotel doesn’t have enough.
- Swaddles if you have a newborn.
- Breastpump if necessary or formulas. Remember that the water may not be safe to drink in your holiday country, so make sure you have bottled water on standby.
- Bibs, bowls, spoons and any other equipment for babies who have moved on to solids.
- Milk bottles and bottle cleanser.
Things to remember before travelling
Remember that different airlines have different weight limits for checked baggage. Children’s baggage is weighed exactly like an adult’s so be aware that even tiny suitcases make for heavy lifting. On the upside, the whole family’s baggage will be taken into consideration as a whole so it won’t matter if your bag is overweight but your child’s is under. The airline should consider the baggage on aggregate and not individually. Some airlines also have a weight (and size) limit on hand baggage so be aware of this too. It also makes sense to be aware of restrictions certain airlines have regarding baby food and milk, including formula and breast milk. Before arriving at the airport, you should confirm that all bookings are in order, especially hotels and airport pick-ups. If you have booked a room with a baby cot, confirm with the hotel that they are aware of this and it will be there waiting for you. One important point to clarify before leaving is that if you are travelling alone with children, you may require a letter of consent from the remaining parent to ensure there is no suspicion of child abduction. These rules change depending on the country so check before you leave.