Your love of travel doesn’t have to end when you have kids. If you plan it right, travelling with your children can be an enjoyable and stress-free experience. To create a wonderful family travel experience, plan ahead and have strategies ready to keep the kids happy. Use proven methods to keep everything organised during the trip.
Shortlist family holiday ideas and take contributions from your older kids. Whether it’s a weekend road trip, a cruise in Fiji or a three week holiday overseas, get the kids involved, and they’ll be more likely to enjoy themselves.
Choose centrally located accommodation. You’ll want to be close to attractions and recreational areas like parks and beaches, and you’ll save money while still being able to keep the kids occupied. Hotels with games rooms and cruise ships with children’s facilities can be a major plus if you have one sleepy child and two other kids who need to be occupied.
Keeping the kids happy
Boredom, tiredness, and hunger are the root causes of unhappy kids. Before your trip, think about how you can address each on the road, and keep ideas noted on your phone.
- Tiredkids – Ensure the children get a good night’s rest before your flight or road trip. Incorporate lots of breaks into your travel schedule. Make sure younger kids have a chance to take afternoon naps if they’re used to them.
- Boredkids – Pack activity packs and games so you have something on hand to keep the kids entertained. Load a tablet with their favourite shows and movies.
- Hunger – Pack kid-friendly snacks for the flight. During your trip, be on the lookout for places where you can buy snacks. You’ll save money if you stock up at supermarkets rather than convenience stores and popular attractions. If you have kids with allergies, do research ahead so you have a list of local restaurants and eateries catering to special dining requirements.
Flying with kids
Bring a change of clothing for younger kids, and try to maintain the same bedtime as you would at home. Bring books and toys to help them get comfortable enough to sleep on the plane.
Before touchdown, make sure the kids have a snack and go to the toilet, as you don’t want to be waiting in a long line at customs with tired, hungry, busting kids. Direct flights are best since they cut down the amount of time you spend walking around airports.
Taking a cruise eliminates a lot of planning and hassle. You don’t need to worry about moving luggage from airport to hotel to airport, and your travel schedule is arranged for you. Pick a child-friendly cruise and your kids will get a chance to play with other kids and attend children’s events.
Road trips are a wonderful way to holiday with kids. You’ll have plenty of space to bring all your essentials along with toys, books, and comfort items – without luggage limit rules. In addition, you can take breaks as often as you like. Organise your trip so you stop frequently at attractions such as monuments, parks, playgrounds, and beaches. Encourage the kids to stretch their legs during breaks.
During your trip
- Rent equipment, don’t bring – If you have young kids, keep your load low by renting as you go. Top travel destinations often have rental strollers, car seats, and playpens available. You might not need to pack your stroller after all.
- Childproof your room – Do a quick check of your hotel room once you arrive. Childproof it with electrical outlet covers, plastic locks, and other lightweight childproofing accessories.
- Eating out – Dinner tends to be the most expensive meal of the day, so if you’re working on a budget, eat out at breakfast and lunch and prepare your own dinner where possible.
- Reward good behaviour – Practice positive reinforcement. Give kids small treats, puzzles, or souvenirs if they’re well behaved. Encouraging good behaviour by setting expectations and giving rewards.
- Involve the kids – Talk to your children about what you’ll be doing the next day and encourage them to get excited. If you have older kids, involve them by asking them to pick attractions and spots they’d like to visit. Work these into your schedule.
- Slow down – Slow down and enjoy the trip. Travelling with your kids will be different to how you used to do it alone or as a couple. You might need twice the amount of time to see everything, so don’t overbook your schedule. As a general rule, plan your trip according to how much your youngest child can handle.
Organisation is key to a stress-free family trip
If you’ve been putting off a family holiday because you’re apprehensive about travelling with kids, keep in mind it can be a fun and rewarding experience – if you plan it right. Stay flexible and well-prepared, and you’ll end up with some great holiday memories to last a lifetime.
Captain Cook Cruises Fiji is a multi award winning market leader in family holidays. We have a range of day, evening and extended cruise packages to suit any family for an amazing stress free holiday.
The Tivua Island Day Cruise offers an all inclusive day departing at 10am or 12.30pm and caters for children 0 – 15 years old. The Reef Endeavour 3 – 11 night cruises offer amazing rates for families with children 5 – 17 years old. Contact us today to find out more about our family friendly cruises.