Do you know those amazing Instagram pictures, with happy families at Disneyland? They only show a tiny, tiny portion of the reality!
Even when it’s done right, travelling with kids is not the best experience for parents. Children of all ages get fussy, impatient, and require constant care and supervision. And just when you think you’ve finally put out all the fires and you can relax with a huge glass of martini, things get even crazier.
But we’re not here to put you off from travelling with children. Yes, it can be exhausting for the parents, but it’s also a wonderful occasion to connect and grow as a family. After all, kids love to explore new areas and/or countries and you’ll have the chance to create some amazing memories. And this is always worth the effort!
So, to make sure you will all come back in one piece from a family trip, we have a few tips and tricks to make everything fun and relaxing (for as much as possible).
Why it’s Difficult to Travel with Kids
Now that we agree that travelling with kids can be crazy, let’s see why.
Time Spent in an Airplane/Train/Car
If you’re travelling short distances, it may be easier, but long rides will drive everyone crazy. Kids are not used to staying put and composed for long periods of time. This means that fighting may ensue (between children or between parents and children), which often leads to crying, screaming, or being rude.
Now, if you don’t like this in the privacy of your home, just try and imagine breaking a fight with an audience.
Quick tip: If you use a personal vehicle, it’s easier to keep the clan under control.
No Time for Grownups
Sadly, travelling with kids will forever change your idea of a vacation. There won’t be any mom and dad time and you can forget about celebrating your achievements with a fancy dinner accompanied by the sound of the waves.
It is Expensive
Yes, travelling with kids is more expensive than travelling as a couple. Kids have special needs (depending on their age) and you want to make sure they’ll have enough space and toys to feel comfortable and enjoy themselves.
This usually means reserving a more spacious room or suite, looking for specific types of accommodations, and paying more for food.
How to Make Things Fun
While it’s true that children can turn into little gremlins when they get bored or tired, there are ways to keep things interesting for them. We’ll only mention a few, but you can get creative and adapt these ideas to your situation.
#1: Prepare Fun Activities
Kids need to be entertained – there’s no way around this. Whether in a plane or on a boat, they’ll get bored of the scenery at some point and require something different.
Start by making sure you have their favourite devices nearby – this is not a time to discipline them and keep them away from screens!
When they get bored of that as well, it’s time to find other interesting ways to entertain them. Think of cool games you can play, have some colouring books at the ready, or start a discussion on their favourite topic. It also helps if you sit near other couples with children – this way they’ll be able to make new friends and time will fly by.
#2: Think Ahead
If you’re the kind of travellers that like getting on location and then deciding on accommodation, kids will change that. After a long flight or train/car ride, the last thing you’ll want to do is browse for a room!
So, when kids are involved, make sure to pre-book everything. Also, if you can afford it, it’s best to choose a family suite or connected rooms. This way, adults can have some privacy and won’t have to tiptoe around when the kids are asleep.
In addition, it’s best to plan ahead on touristic activities as well. If the kids are old enough, include them in the decision making – this will make them more willing to go according to the initial plan.
#3: Keep Yourself Productive
Sure, the kids will take a big chunk of your time, but you also need time for yourself. For instance, one of the parents can take the kids to a museum while the other one enjoys some time by the pool (and vice-versa).
And, as you have some time to kill, why not shoot two birds with one stone and do something productive? This may be time to read that book you’ve been putting off or get started with those tourism online courses you’ve been postponing.
After all, travelling is also a fantastic way to learn hands-on about tourism and its intricacies. And, since you’re a couple with kids, the experience will teach you about the dos and don’ts of the job.
#4: A Happy Tummy for a Happy Family
Snacks (they don’t necessarily have to be extra healthy) are the key to any successful family trip!
A lot of things can go wrong and you don’t want to be trapped in an airport with hangry kids! Still, it’s not just about delayed flights. The kids may not like the food at the hotel/restaurant or they just didn’t eat enough to keep them full until the next meal.
Regardless, you must be prepared with a variety of snacks (for adults as well) in order to counter any hangry behaviour, from anyone.
#5: Embrace Failure & Mayhem
Be at peace with knowing that things will go wrong and there’s nothing you can do about it. As long as you keep the kids safe and out of any danger, who cares that they threw up on that nice lady on the bus?
Well, the lady might, but you probably won’t see her again. Also, even if it feels incredibly embarrassing at the time, this will make for a fun story when they grow up!
So yes, be prepared with lots of activities, snacks, and pre-planning but don’t be too upset when things don’t go as planned. It’s part of the experience!
And there you have it! Kids can change the way you see travelling for good, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be a negative experience. It takes a bit of accommodating to a new reality, so make sure you take it one step at a time.
Still, until the time for travel is here, there are lots of things to do in November with the family here, in Perth. And this can be a fun way to test the waters.
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