We wrote recently about trying to get a balance between exploring new horizons and relaxing in a place you know and love. There’s a lot to be said for returning time and again to a favourite haunt, but the team at Space In Your Case are all about finding the best way to travel as a family, so today, in partnership with our friends at Beaches Resorts, we’re bringing you our best tips on how to make travelling with kids as trouble-free as possible.
Ten tips for travelling with children
Alison and Katie at Space In Your Case are well-used to travelling with a toddler and baby so their tips are all about making sure everyone gets a chance to relax:
- Plan your days so that you have family time, all doing something fun together but also plan in times when you take your little one(s) off to do something, leaving your partner time to chill, and vice versa. Getting that balance between quality time together – and quality time apart – is I think the key to the perfect holiday!
- Take time to check out the childcare if you are travelling to the resort. Visit the children’s clubs, and ask any questions you may have. Most children’s clubs will let you hang out with your child for a while and get a feel for whether or not they will be happy there. Then if you decide to leave them, you’ll be reassured that they’re happy so that you can relax.
- Think hard about what kind of accomodation you’ll need before you book. Whilst some families are happy to save on cost, and share a family room with a pull-out sofa-bed, others need more space, and with very young children it might be worth spending the extra on adjoining rooms or a suite, so that parents get some time to relax together in the evenings while the kids catch up on much-needed sleep.
- Find out in advance exactly what facilities the hotel offers in terms of baby equipment. Some hotels can arrange for baby baths, bottle warmers and sterilising kits, to be made available in your room to help lighten the load when travelling. This is also a fantastic way to keep within the restrictive baggage allowances to keep costs down.
Penny loves to get out and explore when she’s on holiday with her family, so she has this tip to make sure everyone gets to do what they want with their break:
- Make a list of what everyone wants to do over the week, or even during each day so that everyone feels they get their holiday. Sometimes it can be hard to pack in everything on your to-do list and still come home feeling relaxed, so a bit of planning at the beginning of your break can make sure it all feels doable. Having a plan also means no daily arguments over how to spend your time.
- Penny also recommends keeping a diary of your holiday so you don’t forget it: “Keep a holiday scrapbook or diary together to look back on. It’s great sneaky literacy practice for kids, but mainly a lovely way to look back. My Dad read extracts from mine at my wedding which was very sweet.”
The team at Beaches Resorts deal with a lot of long-haul travel, which as parents of young children can be daunting. They’ve given us some tips on how to make the journey as stress-free as possible, so that everyone arrives relaxed and ready to dive into their holiday.
- Pack wisely, and prepare for every eventuality: the trick is to think carefully about what you might need during the flight, and make sure you have everything in your carry-on baggage. Things like favourite snacks, a couple of small new toys to hold their interest, and a lollipop to suck during take-off and landing to help with popping ears. Another trick is to hide a favourite game a few weeks before your trip, and get it out on the plane for renewed interest. We love Uno for its small, portable size.
- Make the most of the airport: try to avoid boarding for as long as possible – the longer children are running around in the departure lounge, the more energy they will burn, meaning more sleep on the plane. Plus, once you’re checked in and at the gate, you’re getting on the plane, so as long as you have pre-allocated seats, there really is no point in the stress of queueing to board – just wait until your seat number is called and delay the confinement as long as possible! If you are travelling long-haul, booking an airport lounge is a great way to pass the time and avoid the hustle and bustle. Hot meals, snacks, drinks, and free Wi-Fi are all included in the price and they often feature kids play areas.
Once you’ve arrived, it’s worth spending some time getting your bearings, and figuring out what will work best for your family. Helen says the most important thing for her is finding the beach that will make her children the happiest. Once that’s sorted she’s guaranteed a relaxing break:
- Investigate the gradient of the beach on arrival – if your children aren’t strong swimmers, check for any surprise drops in the shallow water before you let them loose in the sea. We once spent several days in Mallorca coping with too much surf, not enough sand, a surplus of breeze, etc. before we discovered Formentor, the perfect beach for a 2 year old to play on. Needless to say, we went back every day, and that’s when we really started to have our holiday.
- Beaches staff recommend checking out the restaurants in resort too – dinner time can be a worry if your children have specific dietary needs. Ask if it’s possible to arrange a consultation with a member of the culinary team to go through your dietary requirements so that chefs can make special arrangements where possible. At Beaches Resorts the restaurants even have a menu of milk options, which is particularly helpful for infants with lactose intolerances.
What are your top tips for travelling with children? Share them here, and we hope you have a stress-free summer!
For more information on Beaches Resorts go to www.beachesresorts.co.uk.
Children in airports image courtesy of Shutterstock.