happylittlegems travel fact of the day:
Families with young children take an average of two foreign holidays per year.
So the summer holiday season is approaching and research says British families with young children take an average of four holidays per year, two of them foreign holidays... that's a lot of travelling with children. Having taken long haul trips with my children since they were babies (on my own!) I've got a lot of experience of how to do it and my main tips are be organised and prepare yourself for anything! I've had trips where people have cooed and told me how good my babies/children are and I've had trips where the flight stewards have asked me if there's anything I'd like other than to get off the plane and been shocked when I'm not taking them up on their offer of gin! Here are some tips to help you through the journeys with your young children or babies...
happylittlegems top tips for travelling with babies and young children:
Be prepared for anything! Just accept that the next few hours are going to be difficult and roll with the punches, then anything better than 'terrible' is a bonus!
Be organised. Take spare clothes, loads of milk, baby food, snacks etc, take an abundance of things to occupy toddlers or children - colouring books, sticker books, iPads, cuddly toys, anything that might give you 20 minutes respite.
Pre-book a child meal on the airplane it's not just automatically ordered - I've made that mistake before.
Be prepared that you may not get your pram or buggy back at the other end of the plane and you may have to walk with your children all the way through to baggage reclaim (I've done this with two under two and waited an hour in passport control jet lagged, not the best day of my life I can tell you!)
Give up on screen time rules. Hey, I'm the first to limit screen time, but when we're travelling long haul all rules go out the window... it's about survival!
If you're doing a night flight or it's nighttime in your country of origin make sure you get your children to sleep for at least some of the journey. I normally feed them and let them have a couple of hours iPad/TV time then it's bedtime. Sometimes they go to sleep straight away, sometimes they're overtired and it takes a while, but it's better that they get some sleep.
Jet lag and time zone changes are tricky, the best thing is to adopt the new time zone. Don't let them get up too early, eat at the appropriate times and put them to bed at a set time every night even if it's not quite the same time as they would go to bed at home. Routine is key.
Remember to stay safe in the sun, avoid being out in the middle of the day and try to use a non-chemical based sunscreen, Green People sun cream is great.
If you're travelling on your own try to only take one suitcase, that way you can push a buggy and pull a case at the same time. I once booked one of those airport porters too as I couldn't work out how I was going to get to the check out desk on my own. Check them out on your airport website.
Travelling can be stressful, but remember the benefits of holidays on children far outweigh the journey stress. Research suggests that holidays make your children happier and smarter (see my previous wellbeing blog for more info).
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