Tips to help make travelling as a family less fraught and more fun
For most of us, holidays are a great way to unwind but can be a major source of stress all at the same time. Generally the preparation and journey are the most tricky bits - packing everything you need without going overboard, setting off on time, and remembering to take along all the passports and travel documents - but when you factor in young children, it can seem an even more daunting undertaking. A 10-hour flight seems long to an adult, but to children it's a lifetime. Here are some tips on how to make travelling as a family less fraught and more fun.
A bag of their own
Compact, fun, educational as well as useful for carrying things, children's luggage gives a child ownership and sense of responsibility for their own bag. This encourages them to make decisions like which toys to take and which to leave behind. But more importantly, they have a new travelling companion to play with during the long wait at the airport. When it comes to cases doubling up as toys, Trunki has the market cornered with their ride-on suitcase. Even though you can't sit on them, LittleLife animal-themed daysacks are both playful and practical. They offer enough packing space for a few small toys, which is ideal because it means your little one can't overload it, and features a water-resistant, fold-away hood and a detachable parent's safety strap for your peace of mind.
Entertainment on the go
The main rule when helping small holidaymakers pack is to keep it light and simple, but make sure there's variety. Start with a new favourite cuddly toy, then an activity or character book, and finish off with a family game for you all to enjoy. Another way to keep the load light is to play games that don't require any props, such as I spy. The AA has created a long list of travel games (new window) to fend off the boredom - not just the wee ones', but yours too. A good selection of driving music will help make the miles fly by and allow you to shape your children's music tastes. A portable DVD player is a great way to keep kids entertained in the car, train or plane. Don't forget headphones if using in public – not everyone likes to sing along with The Little Mermaid over and over again.
An ideal way to pass the time while you're en route is napping. A neck rest comes in really handy when you want to have a quick sleep, as does a travel blanket. Pack a goody bag with snacks to help liven up the monotony of the journey. Keep them cool and fresh with a selection of colourful lunch boxes - melted chocolate bars are a nightmare to clean up.