Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tips for travelling with kids

I have been saying for so long that I would share a few tips for travelling with children. I am so sorry it has taken me this long – especially when many of you have reminded me a few times now! Well seeing as on Friday we are off to England for our summer holiday (hooray) I may as well do it right now! I need to remind myself and psyche myself up for packing anyway, so what better way? Here goes... actually I do not have that much to offer when I think of it ... but maybe that is because my main advice to travelling families is to keep it simple.

Ok, here is my list of things you may want to take with you. I would say the toys are probably the least important but included them anyway. We took some to Vietnam, but our kids mostly played with their environment (you know, rubbish, old tin cans, cigarette butts, plug sockets, hotel loo brushes, filthy shoes) or other people.

1. Ergo or your favourite baby carrier, and a cloth sling that folds up small.
2. A wet cloth in a bag for washing faces and hands – more eco-friendly and less heavy than a pack of wipes.
3. A bag of dried apricots and prunes... for snacks that last for weeks and are filled with iron for when their diet becomes less balanced.
4. A bendy plastic catchy bib you can fold up and shove in handbag.
5. An inflatable highchair (really - it makes having to eat out three times a day bearable).
6. Stories, songs and cbeebies on an ipod with headphones and/or speakers.
7. A bag with small toys that you can empty onto the floor of an aeroplane, bus, train, hotel room, airport... anywhere when it becomes necessary. E.g. finger puppets, sock puppets, face paints, fuzzy felt, rubix cube (!), small dolls with clothes, beads for making jewellery, plastic water bottle (Bella’s favourite for three weeks), bouncy ball, balloons, small dolls with long hair and a hair brush (hours of fun for me at any rate), play doh, bath crayons for writing on tiles and bath tubs and bodies – washes off.... sure have more ideas, can’t think of them now but would like to hear yours!
8. A book of children’s songs or the words to your favourite songs - be prepared to sing for hours and hours and hours...
9. Essential oils... lavender for sleep or nausea, chamomile for nappy rash or swelling/sunburn/sleep, tea tree for antiseptic. And rescue remedy for shocks (like flying out of bunk beds on night trains in Vietnam or being attacked by a dog when you are only one foot high), Echinacea and olive leaf tonic for vitality after way too many long bus rides for a three year old.
10. My boobs.

Oh, and a few lessons learnt about travelling overseas (from my travelling with kids chapter in my book)
1.It can be fun! (Just as long as you accept the fact that it will be different to the good old days BC).
2.Travelling with kids can help you see a place with new eyes.
3.Most children love new food, new places and new faces.
4.The journey can be part of the holiday…
5.but if it’s by bike, make sure she loves it as much as you do, before you set off!
6.Travelling with children is easier in countries where people love kids and are willing babysitters.
7.My children are a lot more resilient to heat and mosquitoes and jetlag than I am.
8.Exposing my children to new cultures will help them see the bigger picture, be thoughtful and open to difference.
9.If you plan it right, you might even be able to have the odd night out, exhaust them so thoroughly that you get a lie in the next day, and have sex in the middle of the day when they nap…
10.failing that, going to bed early when they do with a good book is pretty close to heaven (oh dear, I am definitely in my thirties…)

If you like this post you might like to read about our travels in Vietnam or about my travels with my girls.


Jeanette said...

We do the wet cloth in a bag too, but we add a drop of lavener EO, very soothing! Or sometimes we take a little spray bottle (an empty Bionsen bottle is the perfect size) of water with a drop of Lavender eo in and sptritz it onto a dry cloth,in the air,on skin. wherever it's needed.

Georgie said...

Oh yes you are brilliant I totally forgot all the essential oils. Going to add them into my list right now! gxxx

Georgie said...

Oh yes you are brilliant I totally forgot all the essential oils. Going to add them into my list right now! gxxx