Helen Barker from www.awaywiththekids.com gives us her top tips - before even getting there
Of the many experiences we have as a family, I find travelling abroad a stressful experience, more so for me than the kids. After spending two weeks meticulously packing for the whole brood, there are some things you can’t plan for. Like your dearly beloved getting in late the night before your precious family holiday and shoving his favourite jeans in the wash. Then sleeping in sub-tropical temperatures (and that’s before leaving home turf) with the radiators on full blast to get them dry in time. I am flying before I get to the airport!
A friend of mine has laminated lists with all bits and bobs noted for a flight, car journey, accommodation – it works for them. For me: passport, confirmation of booking, insurance documents, visas, tickets and a few sachets of Calpol tucked in handbag, are crucial – all else can be acquired elsewhere - normally!
Arrive in plenty of time - the most likely source of my stress comes from my largest kid – my husband. We are complete opposites. He’s a seasoned business traveler, specialising in getting to the airport 5 minutes before the gates shut. When travelling with 3 young kids in tow and a highly-strung wife THIS DOESN’T WORK. We once arrived with 3 hours before take-off at the airport, only to find it was the wrong terminal - I collapsed in a heap on the pavement in floods of tears waiting for the airport bus to take us 5 minutes down the road! Irrational it may be, but I like to be very early…
If you pack and plan well in advance the kids will be occupied and carried away with the experience. Ideally get them their own travel bag with their own toys, comics, books and activity pads, DSIs (said it) to keep them busy – you will know what they encompasses. Mine love freewheeling along the concourse independently with me 10 paces behind huffing and puffing with our wonky trolley.
Once on the plane be prepared for hundreds of toilet visits, pencil hunting, walking the aisles, ignoring other passengers tuts and incessant “stop kicking the back of the chair” messages over a four hour period – the simple chant “It will all be worth it” should be on repeat throughout!
The other end: make sure your car hire firm know that you want car-seats – double check at least 20 times! Get in car making sure you drive on correct side of road and get to your accommodation, preferably away from the flight path and less than an hour away – retire to bed for at least one hour with a hefty G & T – it’s easy from there on in - happy holiday!!!
Away with the Kids is online family travel directory featuring a diverse collection of those hard to find holiday gems, which are truly child friendly. Set up by 2 mums with three kids each, with an aim to provide a valuable resource for parents when choosing a family holiday. We highlight small, independently-run places in the UK and abroad, that will appeal as much to frazzled parents as well as energetic little ones. From luxurious child friendly hotels to funky farm stays, idyllic holiday cottages to family camping under the stars. All are verified and approved by our team of family travel experts.