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Posted on: Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Travelling With Children

Posted to: Travelling Tips
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Travelling With Kids

Travelling With Kids

Children change the nature of travelling. Often, they make it so much better; giving you a different perspective of the destination and holiday as you see it through their eyes. However, it certainly takes some adjustments so that both you and the younglings can get the most from the travel experience.

When planning your trip, keep your children in mind along every step of the planning process. Choose activities that they’ll enjoy and balance adult sight-seeing experiences with fun distractions for them. So, if you want to see a monument or library, try to make the trip there fun for the little ones (perhaps taking a train), for example. Try to give each child a chance to choose what they do or see at some point in the holiday. This will make the entire experience more exciting and memorable for them too.

Also, remember that children can, generally, not maintain the same pace that adults can. You’ll need to stop and rest for juice and bathroom breaks more often and will not be able to squeeze in quite as much as usual. It might be necessary for one of you to take turns minding a child while the other does something that they really want to do, which may not be appropriate for children.

Fun In The Sun

Fun In The Sun

Ensure that children have a bracelet or necklace that lists their allergies as well as your contact details in case of their going missing or being in an accident (remember that, if you are in the same accident, you may not be able to speak for them). Carry a recent photograph of your children so that you are able to provide authorities with identification should anything happen to them while you are away. Tracking devices resembling a wristwatch can be worn by your child. Then, you simply carry the transmitter, and can locate your child in a busy mall or market.

Travelling with children is going to be more expensive. Budget-friendly accommodation options include self-catering places, farm facilities or university dorms. Of course, staying with friends or family members is always the cheapest option, when possible.

See your doctor well ahead of time so that you and your children can get the necessary vaccinations and medication necessary. It is essential to carry a small first-aid kit along with you. This should include gauze, antiseptic liquid or cream, anti-nausea tablets, anti-histamines, insect repellent and something to put onto sunburn. Also, Ponstan or Panado syrup is always a must for minor headaches or tummy aches. Pack in a high-factor sunscreen and ensure that you apply it to your children every few hours to keep them protected from harmful UV rays.

Kids Love Animals

Kids Love Animals

If one or more of your children is adopted, carry a copy of the adoption papers with you, particularly when travelling to other countries. In addition, if your spouse is not joining you, have them sign a letter of consent for you to be travelling with your shared children. With the rise in human trafficking, this may become more and more necessary.

Pack smart. There are few things worse than struggling with bags and babies at the same time, so try to keep your luggage as light and compact as possible. Prepare your bags well in advance and only take what is absolutely essential.

Hand-held carrycots are a fabulous way to carry small babies around, since they also double as a bed. Get a carrycot and pram that folds up easily, preferably into its own carry bag. Fit your pram with a wind shielding device and sun protective barrier so that you can push your toddler or baby around in comfort. When your child wants to walk, use the pram for your bags.

When flying, you will likely have to decant liquids into smaller containers as few airlines allow you to take large quantities of liquid onto the plane.

Fun On The Train

Fun On The Train

If possible, book and purchase as much as possible online so that you are not forced to stand in long queues with impatient children in tow. When booking your tickets, specify the ages of your children and enquire about group discounts as young ones sometimes benefit from special rates.

Consider the weather conditions of your destination carefully and prepare for these. Hot, dry, sunny places will likely mean buying sunglasses or protective goggles for little ones, for example. Keep their clothes comfortable and breathable.

Stay away from buffets, as sensitive little stomachs may not handle a touch of contamination as well as adult stomachs. Rather, eat at places that are busy, so that they are better known and have a high turnover of food.

Although you want to get the most out of your holiday, you have the added responsibility of children. Avoid drinking too much or going to party hotspots that might not be particularly safe for kids.

Encourage the older children to keep a journal of the holiday, maybe even getting a postcard from each place, so that theirs can be a very personal and special experience.

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Amelia Meyer


Amelia is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for all things travel-related. She is based in Knysna, but has studied, lived and travelled further afield. She studied Film, Media and Literature at the University of Cape Town. She began her solo career in the form of Voxate Writing & Editing in 2008 and loves every minute of it. Amelia believes in silver linings, lessons learnt and the responsibility to do what’s right. When she is not writing, she can frequently be found at the local animal shelter, on the bicycle trails of the nature reserves or sampling new restaurants with her family.

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1 comment about Travelling With Children
  1. June 29th, 2013 at 22:53
    Alexander says:

    Thank you very much for this very helpful article! We will definitely act according to your advise when planing our trip to South Africa.