Travelling with kids can be a lot of fun… the joys of exploring a new place, the memories, the sense of adventure.
For the road tripper.
1. Work out where you will stop and where you can get decent food. If you choose to skip Maccas in search of something more healthy, I guarantee you will drive another 40 minutes before you come across – you guessed it – another McDonalds.
2. Games…. Yes, they are clichéd and will drive you batty but they can hold off the onslaught of the ever popular ‘are we there yet?’, ‘how much further?’ You can count cars, play I Spy, or even make up a checklist of sights to see, anything to make the car ride a bit more bearable.
3. Headphones. I did not want to listen to The Wiggles on rotation for 10 hours…. Depending on the age of your kids there are some great headphones on offer, my eldest son’s car seat even has speakers built in so he can listen to his tunes while my husband and I listen to True Crime podcasts. #winning
4. Toys. The most popular device on our last road trip was a $10 etch a sketch. Yes, Mum did get sucked into drawing at least 178 dinosaurs but they explored their creativity without smushing red crayon into the back seat of the car.
5. Portable potties. Buy one. Kids always want to stop at the rest stop with snake warnings and no toilet paper and then do a #2
What to do on planes.
6. There is nothing worse than getting on a plane at nap time even if it saved you $50 bucks at the time of booking. Pay the money and travel at a calm time for your kids. No one wants to deal with a two-year-old that has missed his afternoon nap!
7. Planes breed germs and kids touch everything. Embrace wet wipes and hand sanitiser.
8. The best thing I ever purchased is a travel stroller you can take through the airport and carry on. You can even wheel this magical contraption down the aisle if you want to be really smug in front of other parents who are lugging a massive toddler in one hand and their bags in the other.
9. Meltdowns – The last time I travelled with my then 18 months year old all was well until the flight crew determined all devices had to be shut down for landing, EVEN handheld ones. Have you tried to remove an iPad from a kid half way through an episode of Peppa Pig? A brand new toy or game that you can pull out if things get intense can be a lifesaver.
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Where to go?
10. Know your audience. Beach holidays have a casual vibe, restaurants seem to be kid friendly and you will always have a surplus of other kids for your little ones to interact with. Before I had kids I would love to pop up for a peaceful weekend in the wineries and go to the day spa. But Mummy can’t enjoy her Semillon while kids are running through the vineyards throwing grapes at each other…
11. Or if you really need a timeout, two magic words –‘Kids Club’
12. Views go a long way to making you feel relaxed, especially if you have little ones and will be confined to your room by 8 pm curfew. At least you can kick back and enjoy the ambience.
13.Get a kitchen – This gives you options if your kids are a bit exhausted and need a night in. Also handy if you have a child like mine who needs his milk heated to exactly 38.7 degrees….
14. Washing machines. Flashback to Gold Coast holiday where my one-year-old threw up an entire bottle of milk on fancy travel stroller – that thing got pulled apart and chucked in the washing machine and a major crisis was averted
15. Ziplock bags are amazing for pre-packing whole outfits – saves negotiations on what they will wear each day
16. Backpacks - awesome when chasing small children around airports, at theme parks or just when you need your hands for coffee or wine
17. Pack First aid supplies in travel size so they are always handy. I guarantee if you don’t take them you will end up searching for a late night chemist. #murphyslaw
18. At all times know how far decent coffee is. Parents have tantrums too.
19. SNACKS. Food is the key to any trip with kids. Mum, are we there yet? No, have a museli bar…. Mum, my brother is breathing my air… here have a sandwich…Have snacks for diversions, distractions, bribes and of course as a cure for actual hunger….
20. Wine. If Mum is relaxed, the whole family will be too.
Melanie Aslanidis is a media professional from Sydney and is married with two boys aged five and two. She is the founder of Beachside Collective where she curates beach related brands and writes content around beach lifestyle and travel inspiration.