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Travelling with small children and babies is never easy – the children get tired, grumpy, the routine goes out the window and don’t even talk to me about the packing! You might wonder if it’s too stressful or worth going at all, but as we have recently got back from our first holiday as a family of four – I thought I’d share some tips and tricks on travelling abroad with little ones as I can tell you now – it doesn’t have to be stressful!
Accept it’s a new experience
I’ll be the first to admit, a holiday with children is not the same or as relaxing as holidays before kids – but embrace the new experience! The joy of seeing their little faces light up when they see something new, giggles when they are splashing in the pool or the extra cuddles as you settle them to sleep are just magical. They are new memories there to be made.
Take it slow and take plenty of time
You can guarantee that if you are rushing to get somewhere, your child will have other ideas and will refuse to put on their coat and shoes, fall asleep or even worse – do a poo. It’s like they just KNOW. Leave plenty of time so you aren’t rushing to get anywhere, take it slow and relax the pace.
Choose All Inclusive
On our cruise, all food and drink was included which was AMAZING and gave us a real taste for all inclusive. I’d highly recommend it when travelling with kids, especially if they are fussy eaters as there was so much for them to try, without the stress of a wasted meal. Having everything included with no bill to pay at the end of the holiday was a dream and so stress-free. I’ve already been looking at all inclusive hotels on the Voyage Privé website for our next holiday!
Plan and arrange everything before you leave home – from the bigger elements like flights, accommodation and car hire to smaller details like travel cots and sterilisers. The more you have arranged in advance, the less you’ll have to worry about when you get there!
BUT…..don’t pre-book your excursions
We didn’t pre-book our excursions on our cruise holiday and I’m SO pleased about that. You never know how children are going to feel on the day or how the night before is going to go. Being tied to early mornings and strict itineraries just adds stress to a holiday. We researched ways to see the sights at our own pace before we left and just took it easy, strolling around until we had seen enough.
Don’t try to do too much
This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point, don’t try to do too much or see too much. I accepted that kayaking, zip wires and cable cars were all out of the picture now we were travelling with children and instead took the gentle sightseeing train. Of course, I’d have preferred the first option, but this is a different holiday! Save adventure holidays and some of the sights for when the kids are older!
Bring food from home
Snacks, snacks and more snacks! You never know what you’ll have access to abroad, so always bring a huge stash of snacks from home. That familiar taste of home can distract even the grumpiest of toddlers!
We took activities to keep the little ones busy at dinner every night. I put together really simple activity packs with colouring books, crayons and stickers that kept them busy whilst we finished eating. If you are running out of time, you can buy packs ready to go, like these!
Accept things will go wrong
Expect the unexpected! We had such a fab time on our holiday but not everything went as I expected or had planned! Try to be as relaxed as possible about the plans, accept things might change, children are unpredictable, so just go with the flow for the most stress free experience possible!