5 travel hacks to master for a successful holiday with kids
Article by Sara Keli
Travelling with kids can be the joy-filled experience of a lifetime if you get it right. Before you head off on your next adventure with the kids in tow, read these five tricks to help make your travels with children a whole lot easier.
Give them their own luggage
Last year, I travelled to Melbourne, alone, with both of my kids then aged 3 and 1. One of my saviours was having a suitcase for my 3-year-old to be responsible for herself. We opted for a Trunki, but whether you choose a suitcase or a backpack, make sure it's easy for your little one to carry or wheel around and not too awkward for you to carry if they end up abandoning their station! For our flight, we only had the Trunki and my handbag as carry-on. My 3-year-old was proud to be wheeling around her own things and I just had to worry about the baby and my bag.
Pictured, left to right, top to bottom: Trunki Una Unicorn from David Jones, Wipe-Clean Dinosaur Activities from Australian Geographic, Away We Go Travel Journal in Blue from Smiggle, Beats EP On-Ear Headphones from Apple Store, Lonely Planet Boredom Buster from Australian Geographic, Skippet Pack v3 from Kathmandu.
Pack all the snacks
Sitting next to a hangry kid on a long flight is anything but enjoyable, so make sure the snacks are plentiful. Keep all your snacks together within easy reach and, if you are travelling interstate or overseas, familiarise yourself with any restrictions on bringing in food to your destination.
If you're heading on a sightseeing holiday, stock up on some snacks when you arrive (or bring them with you if your kids are fussy) and then take them out with you each day to save any meltdowns while you are out and about. Pack a reusable snack bag that you can rinse in the bathroom sink each night, rather than a bulky lunch box that will weigh your bag down.
Don’t forget to pack a water bottle for everyone in the family as well!
Choose your accommodation wisely
If you’ve never stayed in a hotel with young kids, you’ve probably never had the joy of sitting silently in a dark bathroom while you wait for them to go to sleep. When your kids are young, serviced apartments or Airbnb-type accommodation is usually best. You will have access to a kitchen for preparing meals and you can book somewhere that has an additional room so you aren’t sitting in the dark when your kids have gone to sleep. If a hotel is your only option, a set of headphones may be a good investment, so you can at least plug in to your tablet or laptop!
As your kids get older and you don't need to worry about getting them to bed at a certain time each night, hotels can become a better option, although it really depends on your preferences as a family. The benefit of a hotel when you are a tourist is that the concierge is usually a wealth of knowledge when it comes to transport options and things to see and do.
Have activities at the ready
Whether you're flying or driving, bored kids are a surefire recipe for travel hell. Prepare a busy box or activity bag for each child to keep them entertained on a long trip.
Ideas for activities:
• Wipe-clean activity books are perfect for travel because you can use them over and over again
• Creating a treasure hunt is a fun way to build some structure into your travels. Give the kids a list of things they each need to find on their holiday and mark them off as you go
• For older kids, a travel journal is a great way to keep them engaged and entertained, as well as creating a beautiful record of their travels
• Lonely Planet also has a range of kids' travel books, so check if they have one for your destination and let the kids be the tour guide
• Keep a secret special toy or activity that you can pull out if you really need it, like at the end of a long flight when the kids are extra grumpy!
Pack a change of clothes, even for yourself
Whenever I travel with the kids, I always pack a couple of changes of clothes for them, but I also pack a fresh top for myself because you never know what will happen when you have kids! It’s easy enough to squeeze an extra t-shirt into your bag rather than having to dry off when you inevitably have a drink spilt down your front, or worse…