I thought I pretty much knew all there was to know about travelling, seeing as my old career had me flying off to places far and wide. Sometimes to beautiful Paris; then off exploring the rich, colourful souks of Marrakech or the following weeks trekking through the raw wildness of Kinshasa or marvelling at the yurts in Ulaanbaatar. However, travelling as part of a crew or even solo is completely different to travelling with children. A whole different level of preparation is needed. Whereas adults can make do, young children can not – they will make their protests known!
Allow extra time. With kids there is always the inevitable nappy change or loo stop. To alleviate some stress allow extra time to get to the airport, station or to check-out of your accommodation..
Research how you are getting to your destination: Flying as a family can be costly, especially once your child turns two and requires their own seat. Other modes of transport may suit your family needs better. I’ve learnt it is well worth investing time to secure the best deal.
Choose seats in advance: Booking in advance can avoid some of the stress of travelling. If you are flying with a young baby, then reserving a bassinet seat may mean you all have some sleep. Some trains have sleeper carriages, or restaurant carriages so you can chose which best suits your families needs.
Brings snacks- lots of them! It never ceases to amaze me how much small people eat. Not only that, but pulling out a packet of raisins, or a banana can help while away some time. With unexpected travel delays or fussy easters, having a stash of snacks has been a life saver on many occasions.
Wear layers: From hot to cold climates, or over zealous air conditioning or heating on public transport, wearing layers can prove a practical way of keeping everyone comfortable for the journey.
Pack smartly. Have nappies, wipes etc & change of clothes in separate, clear bags so you can easily and quickly pull them out if little one has an ‘explosion’ or is sick. Always carry a spare change of clothes for you in your carry-on too.
Have some local currency on you at all times: You never know when you will need some spare change for an airport baggage trolley, to purchase a ticket, to tip or buy a snack. Having some local change on you can prove to be so useful.
Know local emergency numbers: Wherever you are heading to, jot down the local emergency numbers, dialling codes etc in case you need to head to the hospital or dentist. Having these listed with all the information, can help especially if you are stressed.
Note down your passport information in a secure place: I’ve had the pleasure of my passport being stolen from me, and a lot of hassle was avoided by me having a copy of it on my email. At the embassy, I simply logged on and could prove my identity very quickly. I had nothing else, as even my purse was taken.
What travel lessons do you have to share?