Andrew Robinson is a Childcare Practitioner by day and a parent writer by night. He is an outnumbered dad to 2 girls and a cat. He likes cracking open a bottle of Prosecco for no particular reason. Andrew gives us his top tips of travelling with children, and how it needn't be feared!
How to survive when travelling with kids
Travelling with your little ones may seem daunting as a new parent. Granted, it is. And it can test your parenting patience to the limit at times. But life is still there for living. Just because a child has entered your equation, does not mean you should put off that well deserved trip to a distant land or that road trip to the West Country.
The first thing to decide is how adventurous you wish to be. Do you want to dive straight into the deep end by boarding a plane and experiencing all the associated accompanying laughs and giggles? Or do you want to play it safe by being in the relative comfort of your own car?
Time to pack. Bags. And Bags. And a never-ending supply of wipes. And some more bags.
Either way. You need to plan. And pack. Plan the bags. Pack bags in bags. Bring empty bags. Bags-For-Life. Expect bags under your eyes. Joke. Don’t be afraid. You get the gist of this. The one thing I can guarantee with a trip with your kids, is the constant requirement to use a wipe. There will be 24/7 mess. Have a pack of wipes in each bag. If you are clever and love a bit of retro, pop a pack in your bum-bag. Wow. Bum-bags are so cool.
If you opt for the land-based holiday, you can pack as many bags as your poor car allows. Just please allow up to a fortnight to pack and a further 48-72 hours to fill your car. Check to see whether your accommodation provides a cot, this will save on a tremendous amount of space. Or it could act as a footrest for your little one in the car.
Modern UK airports are geared up for families to pass through security with ease. Locate the family security check areas as queues are smaller and the atmosphere created from the security personnel is much more relaxed and family orientated.
If you are flying, remember infants under 2 must sit on your lap, so expect some fidgeting and some whinging. They just wish to explore. Explaining to them that the flight is about to descend will simply not wash with them. I recommend buying a snack box with dividers. This keeps the consumption of snacks a little more exciting for them. Pre-packing this snack box with all their favourite nibbles. Let them choose. Even if it is a 5am flight and they are munching on a Kit Kat, allow it. You’re on holiday.
Bring technology with you.
Do not feel guilty about plonking them in front tablets and phones. Cartoons and playing games can be a welcome distraction for all. You are in a bubble. And you do not wish it to be popped.
A baby will more than likely sleep and give you very minimal fuss. It may be the almost-2-year-old confident walker who may give you some trouble. They may wish to introduce themselves to the pilot or walk on the clouds. Go for a walk with them to the toilet as a compromise.
If they become irritable, swap them over with your partner. If you are alone, give them to the person sitting next to you and run. Joke. It will be fine. Read, colour-in, sing if you must.
Create your own personal expectations of the trip.
Long gone are the days of sipping endless cocktails beside the pool, whilst tucking into a riveting book. In. Peace. And. Quiet. It will not happen. You will be beside the pool, for sure, but you will be changing their third nappy in an hour due to some leakages. Or you will be re-reading that Peppa Pig book for the 32nd time in 24 hours.
Well not quite, granted. But you certainly can have fun and create lifelong memories. Breathe, enjoy every moment and remember those wipes!
Be prepared with our top holiday picks!
Take a look at our Holiday Edit, our selection of handy travel toys, games and books, as well as clothes and accessories perfect for when you're away: