The notion of travelling with your kids for the first time can seem daunting and slightly nerve-wrecking. Will they be able to behave on the plane ride? How will you keep them entertained? Have you taken all the right precautions to keep them safe? These and other questions might come to mind, and while you can’t predict the future, you can plan for it. To help you along, we’ve provided our top tips on what you should keep in mind when planning to travel with small kids.
Pre-book your stay:
Not only can booking early score you some sweet deals, but it will also give you peace of mind knowing that you’ll have a comfortable bed and amenities waiting for you when you arrive at your destination. There’s nothing worse than having to haggle for a room or camping space while hungry and crabby kids moan in the background.
Hand your kids a camera:
Having their own camera will give kids an opportunity to capture the vacation from their own unique perspective, which can be quite interesting. Taking photos will also encourage them to truly take in the settings around them, while igniting their creativity at the same time. Just be sure to purchase a hard-wearing and durable camera for them, with buttons and features that are easy for little hands to navigate.
Pack for the weather:
Now the island of Malta gets 300+ days of sun every year. But it also does rain and gets cold. Planning ahead entails packing the right gear for the climate that you’ll be visiting, regardless of whether you’re going to a tropical beach with plenty of sunshine, or a ski holiday in the chilly Alps. There’s are plenty of great clothing options for kids these days which offer a perfect combination of function, quality and style to suit any occasion.
Don’t forget pull-ups:
It’s always a good idea to bring pull-ups with you if you’ve got little ones that are being potty trained, so as to avoid little ‘accidents’ from happening while you’re on the plane ride to your destination. You can also bring the potty with you, but that’s entirely up to, and having your child wear pull-ups will ensure that they remain nice, dry and comfortable in the same outfit until you’ve settled into your destination and can access decent ablution facilities to resume your potty training adventure.
Keep them entertained with apps:
Whether you’re flying or driving towards your destination, your kids will inevitably get bored along the way, and one of the easiest ways to keep them entertained is through the use of smart devices crammed with fun apps and games. There are also a lot of fun activities for kids you can think of, like face painting or singing. This means that you can travel light without the need for a barrage of toys on hand, although it’s probably a good idea to bring at least one colouring book, a tiny puzzle and perhaps their favourite story book on board so that they aren’t staring at a screen for the whole trip.
Get a child locator:
In the unlikely event that your child gets lost in the daze of crowded airports, stations and city streets, you’ll thank yourself for investing in a child locator. This device comes in two parts, with one of the components being a small unit that you can attach to your child’s shoe or backpack, while the other one is a transmitter which you can switch on to set off the alarm on the child’s device whenever you’re having a hard time locating them. It’s also a good idea to write down your phone number in biro, right on your kid’s forearm, just in case they get so far gone that you can’t hear the alarm sound.
Book vaccinations early:
Vaccinations usually come with side effects that you probably want to deal with while you’re still in the comfort of your home, like mild fever symptoms, runny tummies and even skin rashes. So be sure to get all your vaccinations done as early as two weeks in advance to avoid going through all of that during your holiday.
Don’t feed them sweets:
Try to steer clear from sweets at least a few hours before you begin your trip, as they tend to drive kids nuts with energy. Instead, go with snacks like bagels, breadsticks, cheese cubes and fruit pieces which are usually all agreeable to kids.
Choose a family friendly hotel:
These days, travellers have a lot more accommodation and property for rent options to choose from than your usual hotel room and B’n B. You can book an apartment, villa, even a secluded tent! That said it’s important to ensure that whichever type of accommodation you pick to stay in can safely house your kids without posing any potential threats. For example, farmhouses with a pool can be unsafe, while you need to ensure that electrical sockets on the walls are closed so that little hands don’t fiddle with them.
Take it slow:
This advice might seem counter intuitive because kids seem to always be running and jumping around with endless energy, but one of the best things you can do while travelling with your little ones is to take things slow. Keep in mind that tots explore everything with fresh eyes, so they’ll probably want to ask questions and explore all of the recreation activities a little longer than you usually would. They’re also most likely to need a few toilet stops and will throw a few tantrums here and there, so try and ensure that activities are appropriately spaced out when planning your itinerary so that there’s no rush to get to the next place.
Teach them a new skill:
Apart from planning the trip’s itinerary based on what the destination offers, it’s also a good idea to plan the activities so that the kids learn a new skill with each new trip that your family takes. For example, if you’re travelling to a destination that offers excellent scuba diving, then take the kids with you! Not only will this expand their view of their world, but it’ll give you an opportunity to share with them something that you might be passionate about.