New to travelling with kids? Nervous, overwhelmed or just don’t know where to start? I’ve put together a beginner’s guide to travel with kids just for you! In this post you’ll find all the tips and advice you need to start travelling with your kids.
1. Travel with kids is definitely worth it! There are many people that view travelling with children negatively. While there are challenges involved, the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Don’t let any nay-sayers put you off! Send them my way and I’ll have a sharp word to them. If you’re thinking about starting to travel with your kids, this is the post to encourage you.
2. I can think of so many reasons why I want my children to travel and why it’s important to moulding them into amazing human beings. Here are just some of the reasons why I want my children to travel.
3. Go slow. When you’re travelling with kids you have to adjust your expectations and build a kid-friendly itinerary. That doesn’t necessarily mean only visiting theme parks or children’s museums. What it does mean is putting together an itinerary that won’t wear you and your family out. For more tips on creating a kid-friendly itinerary for your travels read this series of posts.
4. Don’t over pack! One of the keys to travelling with kids is not to take too much stuff. Getting through the airport with kids in tow is hard enough, you don’t want to be struggling with too much baggage on top of that! Read more tips for packing for little kids here.
5. Should you pack a stroller? This is one of the questions I hear most asked by parents who want to travel with younger children. My answer? It depends. There are a lot of influencing factors such as where you’re going, how old your kids are and how their behaviour is. You can find all the info you need to make your decision in this post.
6. If you’re travelling long haul with your kids, you’re going to get jet lagged. Jet lag in kids can be terrible. It’s so much harder to explain the concept of time differences and body clocks to kids. Read my top ten tips for tackling baby jet lag, toddler jet lag and jet lag in kids here.
7. Don’t stress about flying with your kids. I’m not going to lie. It will most likely suck. Especially if you’re with a wormy, squirmy toddler or a preschooler with legs the right length to kick the seat in front. What you have to remember when flying with kids is that it’s YOUR JOB whilst on board to keep them cool, calm and entertained. It will be a lot more work than flying alone (and you can forget about movies or wine) but if you follow some of my tips you can make flying with your kids more pleasant. Read more here.
8. And while we’re talking about flying with kids… you certainly don’t need to drug your kids with Benadryl for flights. For tips on how NOT to drug your kids on a flight and more tips on flying with kids, read this post.
9. If you want to fly business class with your kids, you can. We certainly have! And we enjoy it when we can afford it. But there are a few questions you should ask yourself before you do so. Read about flying business class with kids here.
10. Culture shock can happen to kids. With children too young to communicate their thoughts and feelings it can be difficult to spot. Read my tips on identifying and managing culture shock in young children.
11. Rent apartments on your travels. It’s a lot easier than staying in hotels simply because you have access to more space, a kitchen, laundry facilities and separate bedrooms. Read my vacation rental tips here.
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12. If you’re on a super strict budget, you can stay in hostels with kids. They’re economical and quite convenient for family travellers as you have access to kitchen & laundry facilities. I have some tips on staying in hostels with kids in this post.
13. You can get help along the way. Maybe you want some alone time or a date night on your travels? Or perhaps you need a nanny while you do activities that your kids are too young for? Hiring childcare on the road can be a very good idea. We have hired a local nanny a couple of times, used kids’ clubs and even local summer camps at the YMCA. For more info on hiring childcare on your travels, read this post.
14. What do you do in the event of an emergency on your travels? What happens if you or your kids get sick? Read this post and come up with an action plan before your travels.
15. If you’re travelling to Europe with your kids, be aware that it might not be as easy as you though. Travelling in Europe was by far tougher than travelling in the US, Canada, New Zealand or Australia. I would even go so far as to say travelling in South East Asia is easier than travelling in Europe. While travelling in Europe with kids presents quite a few challenges, we came up with solutions to every problem we encountered. Read this post before you go to Europe with your kids.
16. Road tripping with kids is a great way to travel! It’s a lot easier to manage multiple children when they’re strapped into the back of a car than if you were to journey by bus, train or plane. You can go at your own pace, stop as often as you need and spread out across the back seat.
17. If a few weeks vacation each year is not enough for you, think about travelling long term with your kids. We have taken several trips of 5-6 months but we are now on the road full time. Travelling long term with kids presents it’s own set of challenges. You can read all about how we manage our lifestyle as a full time travelling family in this epic post.
18. Travelling with your kids will change you! It will open your eyes, heart and mind to a different way of living. It will build a stronger family connection. And it will help you see the world through your children’s eyes. Read more about how family travel changed these travelling parents.
Got more questions?
If you’ve got more questions about how to get started travelling with your kids, let me know! I’m happy to expand on any of the points above or answer an additional questions or concerns you have.