Travelling with your kids is a great way to expose them to new experiences, helping them to learn and grow.
However, it also adds an extra layer of complication to any trip.
Children don't always have the patience for long journeys, even when they get a bit older, so you'll need to make extra accommodations to ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone.
Follow these tips for travelling with kids to make your next holiday with your children your easiest one yet.
General Tips for Travelling with Kids
Some tips apply no matter how you will be getting to your destination, so they can make just about any adventure with your kids a bit easier.
- Pack Plenty of Healthy Snacks: Even if there will be snacks provided or places to stop along the way, there is no guarantee that they will be healthy or that your little ones will like them. It is always a good idea to have a stash of crackers, cheese sticks and anything else your child likes when travelling with kids. Try to minimise the sugar by packing only healthy road trip snacks. The last thing you want to have to deal with is hyperactive children and the impending sugar crash.
- Be Prepared for Accidents: Even if your kids have been perfectly potty trained for years, the stress and excitement of travelling can lead to accidents. Be sure to pack plenty of nappies, wipes and changes of clothes, and take frequent bathroom breaks. Do your best not to get upset if your child has an accident, as this will only make the experience more stressful for them.
- Allow Loads of Time: When you are travelling with kids, it can seem like everything takes longer, so always leave plenty of extra time in your schedule. Your kids won't necessarily understand the need to rush through the airport or get back on the road when they are tired. It is much better to have too much time available than not enough.
Above all, the important thing is to stay calm and try to just roll with things as they happen. Things may not always go according to plan, but that is half the fun!
Travelling with Kids by Car
Many families love taking road trips across Australia and WA rather than flying, thanks to the greater flexibility it provides when travelling with kids. Sitting in the car for a long time isn't without its challenges, though.
- Take Breaks Frequently: While you may be able to push through for just a few more kilometres or to the next town, tired, cranky kids are another story. You'll need to stop much more regularly than if you were on your own. This will give your kids time to stretch their legs and run off a bit of pent-up energy.
- Make the Journey Part of the Adventure: When you stop along the way, try to avoid just pulling into petrol stations for a few minutes. Instead, try to plan little excursions that will appeal to your kids, like parks, short hikes and other tourist attractions. You don't have to stay long, but the break will help your kids feel refreshed and relaxed once you get back on the road. Make sure you also plan your driving song list that the whole family can sing along to.
- Play Car Games: As you drive, play games like I Spy and 20 Questions to help your kids interact with their surroundings. Try to keep the focus on things outside the car rather than inside so that they stay engaged with what is going on around them and enjoy the changing landscapes. You could even bring along some supplies for easy arts and crafts that kids can do while travelling.
As you drive, take cues from your kids as to when it is time to stop. They won't have the stamina for long trips that you might, so do your best to accommodate their needs as much as possible to keep stress down.
Travelling with Kids by Plane
Planning a holiday in Western Australia but want to cut down travel times? Going to the airport for the first time can be scary and stressful for many children, so preparation is key before your journey west through the sky.
- Know Your Airline's Requirements: Each airline has its own specific rules regarding travelling with kids, so be sure to check with your specific carrier well before your trip. You don't want to get all the way to the airport only to find out that you can't bring some of your gear or will have to purchase an additional ticket.
- Pack a Separate Carry-On Bag for Your Little One: You'll have enough of your own stuff in your personal carry-on bag, so keep your child's toys, snacks and other items in their own bag or backpack. If your child can walk well, they can even carry their own bag through the airport. Be sure to include them in the packing process so they can choose their preferred items to bring along which will also help build up the excitement of your holiday.
- Role-Play the Experience Before You Go: Unfamiliar experiences can be challenging for some kids, possibly resulting in a meltdown in the middle of the airport. Before you start your trip, practice common airport activities with your child, like going through security, giving the ticket agent your boarding passes and getting onto the plane. You can play pilots and passengers as well to help get them excited about your upcoming trip.
Air travel with kids might seem stressful at first, but you can get through it if you adequately prepare your little ones for the trip in advance. Do your best to stay relaxed, as they'll take cues from you, and this will make them feel more relaxed as well.
Fun for the Whole Family with Summerstar Tourist Parks
Once you get to your destination, you'll need plenty of things for your kids to do so they can enjoy their holiday. Our friends over at Travelling Australia With Kids also have some great guides and activities for your kids during transit.
Summerstar Tourist Parks have multiple parks across Western Australia, and each comes with a variety of amenities for travellers of all ages, like swimming pools, playgrounds and easy access to a wide range of local attractions.
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