Have you figured out how you will survive traveling for the holidays? Fear not, we have called in an expert to give us some tips. Wendy Shand, is a family travel expert and has traveled widely with her 3 children, Barnaby (10), Maisy (8) and Monty (3). She is also the founder of leading family friendly villa company, Tots to Travel. Take it away Wendy…
Vacationing with tots strikes fear into the hearts of even the most courageous parents but with some careful planning and forethought, this doesn’t need to be the case. So how can we make traveling with small children at worst manageable and perhaps even, dare I say it, fun?!
And as a mum of 3, I’ve had my fair share of headaches, but the benefits of sharing the big wide world with your brood far outweigh the downsides.
Here’s what I’ve learnt:
Book a Vacation That is Appropriate For Your Family’s Stage of Life
Hotels with small people just don’t work. What do you do after you’ve put the kids to bed? Are you happy to leave the kids in a hotel room while you go off to dinner? Probably not.We’ve ended up sitting in the bathroom or in the corridor with a beer, not my idea of a great vacation…
Instead consider a vacation that is geared up for the stage that your family is at. Renting a holiday home works really well and increasingly are completely set up for families. The less kit and clobber you have to haul around, the less stressed you’ll be. Leave ambitious holidays like tours of ruins, mountain climbing or high culture for another time.
Consider How Far You Are Prepared to Travel
Long plane flights or ridiculously long car journeys just aren’t necessary.
Instead, make life easy for yourself by keeping the distances fairly short. Consider short to medium haul flights over schlepping to the Middle or Far East. From the UK, you can get to the Canaries for all year round sunshine in less than 4 hours or to lovely parts of France, Italy, Portugal and Spain in less than 3 hours by plane. And you can pretty quickly reach some amazing parts of France by car and ferry.
Keep It Simple
Many a journey has descended into marital disharmony as we’ve got stuck in traffic, are running late or get lost en-route…and stress is contagious!
Instead make life easy by managing your stress levels. Do consider booking a hotel room for the night before your flight or at least leave plenty of time for the journey. If you get stressed because the traffic is bad and you’re running late then the children will sense it. Consider valet parking at the airport, print out your tickets before you leave to save queuing and pack more food and drink that you think it’s possible to consume!
Delays mean over-tired and hungry toddlers…
Instead keep some surprises up your sleeve. Bubble mixture, balloons, small toys (like you’d find in a party bag) are perfect for the job and easily (and cheaply) available from supermarkets.
I’d love to hear your tips so do share them!