A survival guide to travelling with children

Steve Byrne, Managing Director

Family Children Travel Counsellors Holiday

Planning on jetting off with the family for a well deserved holiday? If the thought of a long plane journey with your little ones is filling you with fear then don't panic - here are some great tips and advice from Kent based Travel Counsellor Annabel Wilshaw on how to enjoy a stress free journey with the kids...

Having travelled frequently with a young family - my little ones are currently four and two - I have first-hand experience of the stresses many parents face when taking children abroad. Luckily we have never had any problems as such but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve to make that potentially hectic journey as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.

First of all packing. Always pack extra nappies in hand luggage - enough to get you through to opening time of the local supermarket, especially if you are arriving somewhere late or just in case your luggage is delayed. Also, try making a tick list of things to look out for at the airport and whilst on the plane. This will provide a welcome distraction for the kids whilst you are checking in and getting settled.

Make the airport experience less stressful with little ones and luggage in tow by considering an overnight hotel with parking package so you can avoid an early start and relax knowing you are all close to the airport. When considering airport parking choices, it is worth paying a little more for the chauffeur parking service. It removes the need for a bus shuttle transfer from the car park and rates are often very reasonable.

On board, keep them amused with a new toy or book they have not seen before. I would recommend small blocks of books, crayons and colouring book, sticker book, a small car or even a bath toy ready for using on your hols. Nothing big or expensive but something that will distract them for a while. If you wrap it up that also uses up additional time with them unwrapping it, plus it's much more fun and exciting for them!

We have all the gadgets and they work! Trunki is one of the best things, no tired little legs or moaning at airports as the kids get a ride and also their things are close to hand on board. The Bubble bum is also great for our older child as he carries it in Trunki so it's always ready to get in the hire car after inflation. Worldwide, most airport taxis do not provide car seats however if you book a hire car, you might pay a bit extra but you can arrange a car seat for peace of mind.

Snacks are useful to keep children occupied for a while such as dried fruit and crackers, so not just sweets and chocolate although that can also help! I usually take a packet of Weetabix away with us. It is more expensive abroad and weighs nothing so it is a back up! I also always carry a small bag of medicine such Calpol in sachets. It's always useful to have to hand and there is no need to find a local pharmacy in case of a problem.

Eating on board meals in economy with an infant on your lap is near impossible as there is not enough room to put the tray table out. Most airline crew are very accommodating and will keep your meal hot whilst your partner eats and then you can swap the childcare.

Just a few simple tips to ensure you have a great start to your family holiday - I hope they have been helpful!


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