Before children you probably counted down the hours to your holidays, breathless with anticipation. Now, it’s more like trepidation as you wonder how to keep Junior amused on a long flight or car journey, or you worry about how to deal with tummy bugs and bug bites.
All you need to do is take a step back and do a bit of planning before the big day:
Book ahead and save money
Just accept that most children prefer routine and give up on the idea of spontaneous weekends away. This phase doesn’t last forever, and you’ll get cheaper deals if you book well in advance.
Technology is your friend
It’s not ideal to just hand over the iPad at home, but on holidays, particularly on flights, it’s the perfect solution. The child is quiet and occupied and you can relax and even do some reading yourself.
If you’re bottle-feeding and you’re worried about security rules and restrictions, you’ll be pleased to know that some UK airports let you pre-order formula.
Give each child his or her own goodie pack, with cheap toys, pens, sweets and dried fruit in. The kids can open one item every half hour or so to make the journey easier to handle.
Use the web if something goes wrong
Whilst abroad, you may find the internet is often the quickest way to lodge a complaint, especially as this can help avoid expensive overseas calls. Many travel operators also offer online chat facilities which can also help speed up the process.
Alternatively you can search for help with Thomson complaints, or whichever operator you booked with.
Break up long car journeys by stopping every two hours or so – unless the kids are asleep, in which case carry on and stop when they wake!
Bubblebum has an inflatable car seat that’s small enough to carry in your luggage when deflated. This is ideal for car and taxi journeys overseas.
Think about your usual medication, as well as baby wipes, nappies, favourite treats and pack twice as much as you think you’ll need. Teething, colds, and other minor ailments don’t stop just because you’re on holiday and you might not be near a chemist.
If you’re facing a long drive, leave at breakfast time! The children can eat breakfast in the car and you’ll steal a march on the traffic.
Bring along your sling
Try juggling a baby, a passport or two and your luggage… Not easy, is it? Avoid this by bringing your sling or baby carrier – it’ll prove invaluable at the airport and on the plane, as well as for short sightseeing trips.
Holidays can disrupt feeding and sleeping routines, and when children get hungry, they can unleash chaos on everyone around them. Pack lots of snacks so that you can offer rapid refuelling in emergencies. Make the snacks nutritious, though – oat bars, small bags of nuts, crackers – because too much sugar can make things worse.
Sweets do come in handy during take-offs and landings, though, so make sure you have some to hand for older children to suck on to reduce earaches. For babies and toddlers a dummy might work.
Have you got any great tips for holidaying with children?!