Travel Tips for Families Travelling with Children
How do you choose
If you're not sure where to go or how to choose, try getting everyone in the family to write down what they enjoyed from their last holiday and what they want out of the next one. We've designed a simple kids' holiday questionnaire and a kids 'inspire me' page for younger children. Ask your kids to complete them individually and then compare notes. If you've got more than one child it can help solve the arguments that inevitably ensue as they get older.
Check your passports!
It might sound basic, but it's well worth checking your passport expiry date well in advance of travelling to avoid any last minute panics. These days children need their own passports unless they are already named on a parent's passport. Though adult passports last 10 years, those for children last only five years. You should allow at least four weeks when applying to renew one. If your passport is in its last year of validity, check entry requirements for your country of travel and consider renewing it early.
It's all too easy to book a holiday and leave the insurance until later. It's also a mistake. One of our clients on a recent trip in Costa Rica delayed taking out insurance when they booked. Unfortunately, he injured his back before the holiday started and it looked like the whole family would not be able to travel. In the end they made it, but it was a close run thing. It's best to ensure you have insurance at the same time as you make a booking.
Have Two Christmases!
Our tip is to enjoy your first Christmas at home with all the turkey, trimmings and presents. Then you can head out on 27th December for a second Christmas somewhere completely different. Why not consider Winter Slovakia or Ice pop for some seasonal snow and winter sports? Or head for winter sun in Morocco or Egypt. Further afield you might like to consider Costa Rica or Thailand.
Make it a project
Once you've booked, start getting your kids to think about where they're going. Make it into a kind of project and give them tasks to do, like colouring in a map, cutting up pictures from a magazine, learning a few words of the local language (especially numbers) and perhaps a few bits of trivia. Collect it all and put it into a scrap book.
Buy a Power Monkey
This is one of the best travel gadgets I've come across in years. The Power Monkey is a small charger which has an almost infinite number of inter-changeable 'tips' to fit just about every appliance (such as mobile phones, ipods, Game Boys, Nintendo DS, laptop). So all you have to do is carry the one charger (the Power Monkey) and the tips instead of all of those chargers and wires. If you buy one, mention the code FWWPM and you'll get 25% off through Families Worldwide.
Wrap a few presents
On a long-haul flight, this works wonders, especially with smaller children. Prepare for this a few weeks in advance and make your flight an enjoyable one. Make each present a puzzle, a CD, a colouring book or something to read and play with.
Although trying local food abroad is one of the joys of adult travel, kids can find it a challenge. So why not bring a supply of favourites, such as muesli bars, dried fruit or even a tin of spaghetti or baked beans!
When did you last travel? A year ago? Six months? It's easy to forget the hassles of last minute panics, airport parking, queueing etc. With many airlines these days you can save yourself quite a bit of time and effort by checking in online. All you need to do once you arrive is drop your bags (with a noticeably shorter queue at the bag-drop desk).
Good hygiene is the secret of staying well when you're exploring unusual places. The old adage 'cook it, peel it or forget it' is well worth remembering (though it is not a hard and fast rule). Packets of wet wipes are also useful, especially with children who inevitably get mucky when playing. A quick swab of hands before eating is always a good idea.
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