The first time I travelled with the kids by myself (18-month old and a 3-year old), I packed way too much! It was an overseas trip so I thought I had to be extra prepared.
The next trip with my kids was completely different. Today they are 2.5 and 4.5 years old, and they’re awesome travellers. All we take for a trip that lasts 1.5 to 3.5 hours are some snacks, water, colouring books and 1-2 small toys. Oh, and music – the kids LOVE music.
I’m writing this as we’re on our way to Tasmania, so I thought what better thoughts to share than my tips for travelling with kids. Whether they’re rather relaxed or a little hyper at times, here are my 10 tips for any adventure-loving parents.
# 1 – Relax and plan (semi) well ahead
I only started packing half a day before we left for a 10-day trip. Trust me, you’ll never need more for a longer trip. Been there, done that. Don’t overthink it!
#2 – Toys are great
Have toys that your kids don’t usually play with daily to give them a sense of “new” and keep the curiosity satisfied for a while.
#3 – Snacks!
Take plenty of healthy snacks and look, even some cheeky ones won’t hurt. I usually take apples and crackers because they’re easy to pack.
#4 – Take a break
Schedule in frequent breaks – everyone in the family needs them. Make sure to include some running, eating and playtime.
#5 – Use your imagination
I’ve become a big kid myself ever since I’ve had children. Sometimes you need to get creative to distract the little ones from being bored or having a tantrum. We’ve turned rows of chairs into a boat or plane, we’ve navigated through space or pretended that we were sailing through the winds like Moana. We’ve walked and sung songs and we don’t care who’s listening!
#6 – A little screen time is OK
Allow a little screen time if nothing else works for you, especially if you’re travelling long distance on a plane or if you simply need some quiet adult time.
#7 – Always allow for extra time in your planning
If you’ve got little ones, allow for more time so they can walk as much as they can without rushing. Don’t forget the pram or carrier! If the kids aren’t using it, it’s great to dump all the other bags in there.
#8 – Again… RELAX!
Stop stressing. We’re all human so don’t worry too much. The more you relax, the more relaxed the kids will be as well. Even if they do have a meltdown, who cares? It’ll pass and most of the people around us won’t be fussed about it at all.
#9 – ASK for help
Don’t be shy to ask for help when you’re travelling alone with kids. It makes a huge difference and you’d be surprised at how many people there are out there who are happy and willing to help!
#10 – Don’t be a d*ck
Ok, so this one isn’t for the parents but for everyone else. If you’re on a train or bus and you see a mum with kids – please don’t be THAT person who looks away and keeps their bag on the empty seat. We’re not expecting special treatment but we are super grateful when you help us. To the mum on the train who had two spare seats, if you happen to read this – yes, I was that mum sitting on the steps with my kids and our bags. Tut, tut.
Travelling with kids isn’t easy, but it also doesn’t have to be difficult at all once you get the hang of it.
Last, but not least. If you can – make sure you’ve got a bottle of wine ready for yourself at the end of the day. You deserve it ;)
Happy family, happy travels!
Haddy is one of the Founders of Famly App, the one easy app allowing you to find and book things to do with kids in Sydney. From free kids activities and to paid outings like the zoo, whale watching, dance lessons and art workshops, the kids will never be bored again with Famly App. Whether it’s a family day out, pram walks for mums and dads or kids-only activities, see what’s on in Sydney on our family friendly app using our filters based on location, day, who’s going and level of action. Less time searching and planning, more time having fun!