This is a guide to travelling with young children – one of the greatest adventures of your life! From planning to departure, packing to sightseeing, expectations to reality:
But with careful planning it can be hugely rewarding. You'll have a slow-paced semester full of new friends, because kids talk to everyone they meet and are constantly discovering new things. Below are some good tips. See also: Travelling with small children and Children and sun protection.
The secret to a successful holiday is simple
The secret for a happy holiday with young children is actually pretty simple. Remember these two things: Plan and adapt the trip with the youngest traveller in mind. There may be lots that you want to see and experience in and around your holiday destination, but your child probably has other needs. On the other hand, rest, a slow pace, one activity per day and even more rest may work miracles for both young children and adults.
Tips for before and during your tip
• Packing: Take some favourite toys along. Let children over the age of two pack their own rucksack with toys, books, felt tips, paper, painting books and stickers.
• At the airport: Board the plane as late as you can! You'll probably be invited to board early, and that may seem like a good idea – but it isn't. Wait as long as possible in the lounge by your gate, so the children can move around.
• Food on the flight: Don't wait to be served food. Take your own provisions that you know your child likes.
• Clothes: Choose clothes that are right for the circumstances. That means comfortable clothes that don't pinch anywhere.
• Where to sit on the plane: Window seats are perfect for adults. If you're lucky, the view may also keep your child occupied for a few minutes. The middle seat is perfect for young children. You'll probably have to walk up and down with your child.
• Remember to bring one or more changes, nappies and wet wipes.
• In the car: Stop frequently. Try to drive longer stretches while your child is sleeping.
• Holidays with young children are often most successful if you stay in one place.
• Check the safety of borrowed equipment, such as beds and high chairs. Standards vary from one country to the next.
• It's good to stick to your routine, even on holiday. Keeping snacks, naps and bedtimes the same as at home is smart.
• If possible, choose a room with a fridge or kitchenette. That way you're less dependent on trying to find hot water or a microwave, and on restaurants and opening hours.
• One or two activities a day are recommended. That's what children aged two to five can handle.
• Children aged one to three tend to love visiting kids' museums and places with outdoor activities, such as zoos with animals that you can pet, farm visits and fruit-picking. Children of this age love investigating, running around and doing things.
• Turn the visit into a game, even if you're visiting a museum for grown-ups For example, have your child look for animals, food or other things on the display boards.