Some of the strongest memories we have from childhood come from family holidays. Even if we remember the beaches as being bigger and the summers hotter than they actually were. And while we know family holidays can be some of the most rewarding breaks, travelling with children can be a little bit daunting. But we want to try and take some of the hassle away.
Firstly we thought we’d ask a group of children what a holiday means to them – watch the video below to hear their answers.
We also asked the family experts at Bébé Voyage for their top travel tips. They’re a global community of parents providing local knowledge and practical advice on how to travel with small children. So here are some common problems you might experience when travelling with kids, and their advice on getting to your destination and what to do when you get there.
Let’s start with the packing
1. If your kids want to bring all their favourite clothes on the trip
Make extra room and keep outfits organised by making a vacuum bag.
2. Small children need a lot of stuff
Depending on where you’re travelling to, buy nappies, wipes, baby food online and have them sent to wherever you’re staying.
3. Make sure you’ve ordered enough milk
You can pre-order milk (around 7 days in advance) from most airport branches of Boots to collect before getting on the plane.
4. Check you haven’t left any essentials behind
Take a checklist of the things you’re bringing with you, so you know you’ve got everything packed at the end of the trip.
5. Kids don’t always like sleeping in unfamiliar places
Help them settle by taking their own nightlight and pillow case from home.
6. Accidents can happen
Have a first aid kit close to hand at all times, preferably in your hand luggage.
7. Be prepared for delays
Pack extra nappies in hand luggage. They’re expensive at airports and you never know if you’ll encounter delays.
8. Have a back-up in case bags go missing
Always pack a day’s worth of extra outfits in your carry-on, in case luggage doesn’t make it for some reason.
9. When the suitcase is full, but you’ve still got things to add…
At the gate, put the pushchair in a padded bag to avoid it getting damaged. The added advantage – it’s a great place to stuff excess hand-luggage that won’t be needed on the plane.
Top tips for flying with kids
10. There’s bound to be a nappy explosion
Make an airplane nappy grab-bag by throwing in a few nappies, wipes and a clean outfit in a large ziplock (stow in seat pocket). Then use the ziplock bag for the freshly soiled outfit.
11. What to feed fussy kids
Grab any sort of divided box and pack it full of finger friendly foods – then distract them with fun snack time.
12. You’re flying short-haul – there’s no TV on board
Hang your phone in a ziplock bag from the tray table hook so they can watch their favourite shows.
13. They’re likely to spill stuff
Buy silicone toppers and straws for kid’s drinks on the plane. Bring an extra plastic bag and tie it onto the tray table lock – you can throw rubbish in quickly and easily to keep your area clean. And don’t forget the bib!
14. Children get bored
They love sticking things – so bring window stickers, or even colourful post-its.
15. Try improvising on the aircraft
Extra cups are great for stacking and hiding things. Sick bags are good for entertaining. Don’t underestimate the airline safety card. And play seek and find using the in-flight magazine (“Who can find a dog?”).
16. If all else fails…
Wrap tiny gifts from the pound store and open them up throughout the flight.
17. Don’t forget the gadgets
Make sure you always have spare batteries for their toys.
18. Always ask the flight attendants for help – they’re used to dealing with kids
To help your little one’s ears during takeoff and landing, use super hot water poured over paper towels and then stuffed into paper cups. Put the cups over their ears and hold there making a seal.
19. If you can’t find a bin nearby…
Always have good quality scented nappy bags when you’re travelling. You never know when you’ll have to hold onto a smelly nappy or dirty clothes.
20. Eating out
Have a restaurant kit – which contains their plastic plate,bowl and cutlery (most places do not have these) and items to keep them entertained like colouring, story book etc.
21. Get organised so you can grab their stuff quickly depending on what you’re doing.
Keep clothes and toys organised by using packing cubes, ziplocks, or rubber bands.
And now you need to know where to go
We’ve consulted our in-house family holiday experts to come up with a special list of kid-friendly places.
We know children love spending their entire time in the swimming pool or on the beach – so we’ve got that covered in places like the Balearics and Canary Islands. There’s also resorts in Dubai and Spain near theme parks or water parks. Of course some kids love to live life in a fairy-tale – so it’s a good job there’s Disneyland Paris to take care of that.
Have you got any family travel hacks to share with us and Bébé Voyage? Tell us your advice by leaving a comment below.