With our next adventure less than 24 hours away, I thought I would share some tips I have learnt preparing and travelling with our children.
1. Don’t bother getting them to pack!
I know this is a controversial one. Everyone says “they are old enough to do it themselves”, but mine (12 and 15, female and male) just don’t. They leave it and leave it. When the time comes, everything they want is on the floor dirty and the arguments begin.
Some would say I have facilitated this laziness and reliance on Mum and that may be a fair call. But, I think my kids just know……if you want a job done properly, get Mum to do it! And don’t think I haven’t tried. There was that one trip when Master Travel Bee had one pair of undies for a week (you couldn’t even buy any at our destination) and had to resort to wearing his father’s. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it wasn’t the best start to a relaxing break.
Do make sure you start early. Put things in the cases they aren’t going to be using and encourage them to leave it alone. Stay on top of your washing for the 10 days leading up to the trip. Start filtering more into the suitcase, telling the kids to only rotate through a few outfits for the last couple of days.
Call me a control freak, but the advantage of doing it this way, is less worry down the line. When you are heading to the other side of the world with loads of activities planned, it is good to know what is in the bag and that all activities are covered or at least what you may need to pick up along the way.
2. Just deal with it, there will be rewards at the end.
I have run around endlessly for the last two weeks packing suitcases, buying Christmas presents, trying (and failing) to buy warm clothes, sorting the house out ready for house sitters, ordering school books for next year, planning itineraries and booking tickets. I am shattered but calm. It’s done.
Yes, I may have moaned about being the only one that does anything but at least I am in control (I really am a control freak). I know what is done and what needs to be done. You can always ask someone (AKA the husband) to help, just make sure you are clear in what you want them to do. I did this last week and with two of us working on it, we blitzed through some of the more arduous tasks together.
Remember once you are on that plane with everything planned and everything booked, you can relax and enjoy the ride. If things aren’t planned and you don’t have what you need, you will end up in a world of pain with grumpy and bored children.
3. Prepare the kids for things going wrong.
Especially at the moment, travel doesn’t always go according to plan. Planes do get delayed, luggage does go missing and activities can go wrong. Kids (and adults) have to be able to roll with the punches. Make sure everyone has at least spare underwear in their hand luggage (if not a full change of clothes) and activities for delays. Make sure you have chargers for devices you may need on your journey. Accept that at least one thing will be left behind at some point.
If you are heading to the UK like we are, prepare for anything! Below is a schedule of all the upcoming strikes. We are fully aware that at some point, something we have planned is either going to be disrupted or not happen at all. I guess we should scrub the driving test off the itinerary 🤣
4. Plan rest days.
I think this goes for adults and children alike, travel can be overwhelming. Everything is new and exciting, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking you can not waste a single minute, but this is a mistake. Rest is vital, particularly if you have a long haul flight to contend with.
Have a day off and sleep in. The next day you will feel so much better and enjoy whatever you choose to do that much more feeling refreshed. The kids are less likely to drag their feet and you won’t get caught out spending a fortune on coffee.
5. Always pack snacks.
This goes without saying. Same as any other trip out of the house. Make sure you either have snacks in your bag or quick access to them! Hangry travellers is a recipe for disaster. If you have a teenage son, plan the whole day around meals!
6. Just do it!
It is easy to think travelling with kids is too hard. No routine, different foods, too tiring, close quarters, they don’t like what you like, but honestly the benefits are huge.
Children are far more resilient than we give them credit for. In my experience they handle change far better than us adults. Travelling with children is awesome, they force you to look at things from a different perspective and find the fun in everything you do. The wonder and awe you see in their eyes plus memories created is truely something to cherish.
Wow! Now I am super excited now! Half a sleep tonight (airport at 3:30am) and we are off. I can not wait to share our stories with you all.