Holidaying with small children is really rewarding, however just because you’re on holiday doesn’t mean they stop being kids! The best way to enjoy travelling with kids is to get a little bit organised and a little bit savvy. Here are a few tried and tested holiday hacks to help you with your holiday planning and packing.
1. Clothes Wash and Pack Less
When travelling with children, you can be sure you will need to do some sort of washing whilst your away. Whether it’s smudged ketchup on a t-shirt from dinner or the aftermath of a dramatic poonami, you’ll more than likely want to get it sorted so you don’t have to deal with a bag full of stained clothes when you get home.
When I travelled with really little babies I always took 100mls of non-bio washing detergent and 100mls of conditioner in hand luggage liquids bottles. You can get a pack of 3, plus a funnel and small pot very cheaply and they are so useful for on the go or emergency washing.
However, I ALWAYS take a bar of Vanish with me and that means i’m ready to deal with whatever those kids throw at me….or down me….or down each other…or themselves…
This also means I can pack less clothes for the kids as I can get by on reusing some of the same clothes because I can wash them. If you find yourself flying with a budget airline and do not want to pay extra for a checked bag, this is a game changer!
2. Let Go of Routines – Holiday Hacks Travelling with kids
As parents we spent a lot of time getting our kids into routines to make our lives easier, but when we travel with kids sometimes it’s not possible to keep up with these routines all the time. Various reasons such as travel days, days out, excursions and dinner plans might mean you have to make some concessions to the way you usually do things and that is totally fine.
On holiday things aren’t going to be the same as they are at home so give yourself some room to experience something different.
If you’re travelling with a small baby or a child up to three you will probably be taking a pushchair with you, which might sound like hassle but secretly it will be your best friend! Use the pushchair as a portable bed and let them sleep in it whenever and wherever is convenient for you.
This is great if you want to go out for dinner and they get tired. You can snuggle them up and have them asleep right next to you.
In the past we have tried to look for restaurants that had booths or bench seats at dinner. This was because once the kids had eaten and they got tired, we simply laid them down on the seat and let them doze off. I agree, this isn’t perfect and might not work for all, but it was a hack that worked for us at the time. Think outside the box and see if you can come up with your own solutions for those occasions where you find ourselves out and about a bit later than usual.
Obviously as your kids get older this becomes less of a problem. So while it is, make life easy for yourself.
3. Baby Bag / Mum bag
I still carry a pretty large bag with me everywhere I go and I seem to have just as much in there for the big kids as I do for the baby. When waiting around for dinner, or waiting in line for an attraction take something to keep the kids entertained like a colouring book with pencils, a small book you can read together, download some tv shows on your phone, a sheet of stickers and snacks like a pot of raisins. Any of this will simply take their mind of the fact that they are waiting for something else.
** Extra hack – make your own colouring books from the internet. We usually make books with pictures of their favourite TV shows. You can make these to any size you like with as many pages as you like.
4. Travel Carry-ons – Holiday Hacks Travelling with Kids
The process of travelling with kids can be hard work and tiring. Sometimes the prospect of 4 hours with small kids on a plane with no entertainment can be a bit of a daunting challenge.
However, this is where your child’s very own carry-on travel bag comes into its own and is something to think about creating for every child to travel with (click here to read more about what to pack inside your child’s carry-on bag).
Travel sized games are also a really good addition to downtime and a way for the whole family to get involved in something. Guess Who is a good first game to play and learn together and is available in small travel sized editions as is snakes and ladders!
If your little munchkins have a scooter at home, take it on holiday! This is a great holiday hacks when travelling with kids. We never invested in a standing board for our buggy so a scooter was ideal for us and saved our backs and shoulders from endless carries. A scooter is also something they can play with at the park or walking the promenade whilst you’re away, which means they get just as much out of it as you do.
However, this only really works if you are taking checked luggage as you will need a bag big enough to pack it into. It also depends where you go. When we went to Madeira we took our Scooters and they were never used because Madeira is so hilly, so these things are worth thinking over too.
6. Indoor Pool / Heated Pool
If you’re booking a holiday in Europe out of season, for example in the Easter or October holidays, think about the weather and whether it would be worth booking a hotel with an indoor or heated pool. It’s a great option to have if the weather isn’t great or the outdoor pools are a little too chilly for the little ones.
8. Screen time
There’s no getting away from it. A tablet can be really helpful when travelling and let’s face it, it wont be long till our kids know how to use it better than we do. We tend to download shows and movie for the kids to watch on the plane and then use them for wind down time in the evening before bed too.
9. The Right Shoes
You don’t need to pack loads of shoes for your children when you go on holiday, you just need to pack the right ones.
One pair of shoes that protects their feet on long walks and are breathable and washable are Keens kids shoes. We have used the Knotch Creek sandals and the Newport H2 and we love them both. Keen shoes are perfect for the adventurous kid on any type of holiday and as their shoes double up as sandals and trainers you’ll find they don’t need much else.
10. Holiday Money
If you tell your kids they have a certain amount of money to spend whilst they are on holiday, you might find they are less eager to ask for EVERYTHING all of the time. It might make them stop and think about what it is they want out of their money ,which is a priceless holiday hack when travelling with kids (forgive the pun).
For example we usually give each child 5-10 euros in holiday money. Then every time they decide to spend some of it we discuss how much remains of their money and whether the item is worth what they are spending.
I know not all of these will apply to everyone as people and children aren’t generic. However, I hope you find it useful or use it to start thinking about some of your own holiday hacks travelling with kids!
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Planning a flight with kids soon? Check out how to create your very own Munchkin flight bag to keep your little ones entertained.