When we have travelled abroad, there has always been young children and toddlers with us. Either from when the older girls were younger or as our family has grown. This year we were lucky enough to be able to visit Gran Canaria as a family of 17. This involved travelling with a 3, 4 and a 5-year old in our group as well as the older girls. So over the years, we have managed to pick up some tips and tricks for travelling with toddlers to allow us to be able to make this process as easy and pain-free for us and everyone else flying or holidaying with us!
Tips and Tricks for Travelling with Toddlers.
Before you think about setting foot on a plane your first step is to find your getaway. Of course, you all want to have a good time so finding suitable accommodation is a must. We scoured the internet looking for a resort that was not only family friendly but would be a safer option for our tiny tearaways. This meant minimal steps in and around the accommodation itself. Low levels or even ground level only rooms. The drama of Egypt and our room being at the top of a tiled staircase with babies was still with us!
Read reviews from families who have children in similar age ranges to yours. Check out exactly where your room could be and make sure you are comfortable with that. We opted for a resort with bungalows for our accommodation in Gran Canaria as we felt this was best for all of us. Companies such Tots To Travel specialise in finding you the right holiday for your family.
We have holidayed in Egypt in May and Gran Canaria in June. For young children or babies this may be too hot for them and choosing to visit at a different time of year, or visit somewhere cooler during peak months, could be an option. If you aren’t restricted by school holidays, take advantage of not only the lower booking costs but also of the cooler temperatures. You can still visit somewhere nice and hot but avoid the hottest times of year when temperatures could rise and become unbearable for younger members of the family.
Sure we want to get the most out of our holiday but when booking, consider the times for the flight. We booked early afternoon flights. Everyone had had a good nights sleep. We were picked up around 8.30 am leaving us plenty of time to get to Manchester Airport before our flight. We arrived, after delays, around the early evening ready to enjoy our first night. That being said Maria at Suburban Mum has some great tips for those considering a long haul flight with children.
No one knows your child better than you, however, no one knows how they react at any given time especially in an environment like a plane, if it is their first time! This was us. It’s better to be safe than sorry was our motto and we made sure we had situated all of the children in their requested window seats and had some of their favourite things to keep them occupied.
Pack their own hand luggage with their favourite toys, books, or activities. If you need a DVD player for 5 hours of non-stop Peppa Pig, then Peppa Pig it is. Just don’t forget the headphones! We had an assortment of reading books, colouring books, mini figures, activity sheets and the all-important DVD player. For really young children having something to be able to suck on during takeoff and landing may help with that all too familiar ear-popping sensation.
If you can check in online. Make sure you can get seats together and/or by the window or anywhere else you prefer. This is the easiest way to do this and saves a lot of time when you do make it to the airport.
Make a list and check it twice. This not only works for Santa but also parents flying to far-flung destinations with young children. Keep all your important documents in an easily accessible place. So if the worst does happen, you won’t be rummaging around in your bag for passports and paperwork.
Have a designated bag for yourself/partner and one for the children too. Having everything squeezed into one place just doesn’t work and will only add to the stress. My mum kept hold of all passports in a clear wallet in her bag. She took the time to make sure everything was in there after removing or putting back anything from it. This tiny detail helps, especially when you are travelling in large groups like we did.
After spending all that time on a plane, nearly 5 hours for us, waiting in line at passport control and then getting your transfers to the resort/accommodation can be too much for little ones. Especially if like us, you arrive at your destination in temperatures the UK couldn’t imagine even on its sunniest days! Plus everyone will be tired. Take time out from queuing if you can by taking you them away from the line until needed and maybe sit down and play a game whilst another parent/member of the family holds the place in line.
We witnessed families doing this at the airport as their children became restless. I-Spy is always a popular one especially with so many people around. Make it fun for them, and yourself, because we all know waiting in long queues after an even longer flight, isn’t any fun.
Hopefully, these tips and tricks for travelling with toddlers will help you avoid a stressful start to your holiday and you can land and enjoy your family holiday with minimal stress!