Travelling with young children is a magical, mind-expanding and thoroughly bonding adventure.
Aye, right . . . Come, check out this Oasis Travel guide for holidaying with kids.
We all hope for that perfect family holiday, when our charmingly tanned youngsters learn to chatter happily in a foreign language and discover that the undiluted joy of foreign travel, culture and cuisine is equalled only by the pleasure they take in the company of their siblings.
The reality tends to be rather less picture-perfect and most parents will recognise the alternating travel choruses of … “I need a wee”, “I’m going to be sick”, “S/he hit me” … “Let’s sing ‘The Wheels On The Bus’ one more time” and, of course, that much-loved classic, “Are we nearly there yet?”
If you survive the journey, the holiday brings its own challenges. Young children are very much creatures of habit and a dramatic change in surroundings, food, time table and temperature can be enough to bring down a reign of terror on their nearest and dearest. That’s the thanks you get for trying to Make Memories That Last a Lifetime.
The good news is that it does get better. As they get older they’ll embrace the adventure of travel and they’ll be up for everything that a holiday can offer … by which stage your main problem will be keeping up with them!
In the meantime, while your travelling companions are still toddlers, it pays to be well prepared.
- Choose your holiday destination with care, making sure that children are (a) genuinely welcome and (b) catered for. Check out arrangements, child-friendly attractions and facilities before you book.
- Think kids’ dream holiday and you’re probably thinking of theme parks, but be aware that height restrictions apply and your wee ones may be just too wee. Theme parks can also be something of an endurance test: perhaps it’s better leaving this experience until the kids are a tad older
- It’s not just about the kids: when you have little ones you need a break so choose a destination with adult appeal too.
- When the kids go to school you’ll be hit with higher prices for travelling during school holidays. Make the most of off-season bargains with your pre-schoolers. You’ll benefit from lower prices and resorts which are less crowded.
- What about making it a multi-generational vacation? Inviting grandparents shares the looking-after load, gives everyone time to have some fun together … and you may even get to go out at night while granny and grandad babysit.
- An iNanny (known to childless couples as an iPad) can be wonderfully absorbing. Pre-load yours with stories, movies and kiddie games and bring along a good set of children’s head phones. If the budget runs to it, noise-cancelling headphones will make air travel more comfortable.
- Embrace The Nap. Travel and long sunny days can be tiring. Don’t expect little ones to keep on going. Let them kick back and snooze in the shade and, if you have any sense, you’ll do the same!
- Plan Plan Plan. But don’t work yourself into a panic; remember, people right around the world have small children so, whether you’re in Belfast or Bogotá you’ll be able to buy nappies, Calpol, spare tee shirts, buckets and spades… whatever.
… and if you want advice on how to make flying with tinies bearable, if not actually enjoyable, then you should check out this animated guide from our friends at Sainsbury’s Bank. which inspired this blog. It has a download to an even more comprehensive guide at the bottom of its webpage.