With so many long bank holiday weekends on the horizon, it’s tempting to plan a change of scenery with a mini-break. If you’re dreading the thought of travelling with kids, you’re not alone. It’s stressful for everyone involved; cranky babies hate when their routine is so rudely interrupted, and crabby toddlers often find long journeys distressing, mainly because it means being cooped up for so long!
A company called Book Mallorca recently got in touch with the results of their parent travel survey. In April, they asked 1000 UK-based parents with children under the age of six to share their number one item they couldn't live without when travelling with small children. Whether you’re hopping on a flight to Spain, or loading up the car for a road trip to Grandma’s, here are a few indispensable tips to make the journey as smooth and stress-free as possible.
1. Keep everyone entertained. The number one item on the list was a tablet device. This isn’t surprising, as keeping kids entertained on long journeys is a constant struggle. Load up a tablet or smartphone with videos and games that they love to keep them happy on the long drive. If you’re not keen on all the screen time, another great form of entertainment is music, which came in at number 5 on the list. Ebooks are a great option for older kids, or you can create a playlist of nursery rhymes for the little ones.
2. Take your own food and drink. If you take snacks and drinks from home, you can make sure your rest stops are all about stretching your legs and going to the loo, rather than waiting in line for food. Pack a range of snacks that will last the journey, like babybel cheese, muesli bars and watered down juice in sippy cups. Avoid anything too high in sugar, or you’ll have the sugar highs and lows to deal with.
3. Figure out your best solution for car sickness. There’s nothing more miserable than car sickness, so try to identify the cause and the best possible solution. Some kids need to look out the window, while others simply need to stay hydrated. Try using car sickness bands if all else fails. And if the worst should happen, always keep a sick bag in the glove compartment.
4. Tidy as you go. Only one person in the survey said that an in-car bin was essential for travelling with kids, but just over 7% agreed that wet wipes are non negotiable. Make your own bin by placing a plastic bag inside a plastic cereal container with a lid, then you won’t have to worry about the bin being up-ended 10 minutes away from home. You can also use a pack of wet wipes to clean grubby faces and sticky fingers before you arrive at Grandma’s. They also double as makeup remover wipes if you’re staying overnight.
You can see the full top ten list of items in this infographic. Do you think there’s anything missing from this list?