Monday, 5 June 2017

Trains, Planes and Automobiles. Our tips to make your life easier when travelling with smalls.

I thought as it was getting into summer and lots of people are off on holiday, I would do a blog on travelling with children.

We mostly travel by car with our boys but have gone by train and plane. I will share what works for us and if anyone has any tips please share.

Trains are always a fun way to travel. My boys are train mad, so that in itself is entertainment enough some times. here are my top tips :
  • Always give yourself more time than needed. If you are 20 mins early it's better than finding your platform and carrying luggage and a child who may not be cooperating with only seconds to spare to make your train.
  • Toilet before boarding the train in your spare time is much easier than trying to pee with two small boys running around you on a moving train.
  • Snacks!!! My boys love holidays and the nice snacks I take. If travelling by train it is much cheaper and easier to pack a sandwich and some healthy snacking, prices on trains can be pretty steep.
  • Note books for writing memories in are a lovely keep sake of your holiday. If a child is too young for this then colouring in or a worksheet can be amazing for keeping small hands busy.
  • Pack sensibly. Lugging lots of things around on a train with smalls is just a hassle.

Planes are a new sort of transport to my boys, we've always had fun road tripping but we have been introducing plane travel. 

  • Like the train always give yourself time to get to the airport, rushing is just a stress I am not willing to have.
  • Have all documentation in order. we have a carry wallet which zips up I have all our passports, EHIC cards, accommodation details and transfer papers.
  • Try to book sensible flight times. Think 'is it more hassle to get up early and arrive at a sensible time or will we be arriving in a new country late when children are tired and fed up of travelling?' We try to aim for lunch time flights so that we can have breakfast/ brunch in the airport, therefore we get no "I am hungry mammy" every few minutes.
  • Try to get a window seat in the airport. Nothing passes the two hour waiting time before a flight than excited children watching planes and trying to guess where they are going to. Newcastle airport is amazing for watching planes, they have huge floor to ceiling windows.
  • Backpacks full of chewitts (to stop ears popping), colouring in or a note book, a map or guide book on where you are holidaying (there is some nice child friendly ones around), change of clothes (in case your suitcase goes missing the other end or spills happen, they mostly certainly do with my two) and when you get through security it is always an idea to get a bottle of water to go in your child's bag as keeping hydrated on the plane is needed.
  • Have a plan for when you get to the other side. Where is your first stop?  Make sure there is no doubt in the adults you are travelling with minds as to where you are herding your children too. Arguing in a packed airport is not something I would like to do. M and I always have a clear plan with a few back up plans. It normally goes toilet, baggage and then find our form of transport.
  • Make sure you talk your child through what may happen during going through security. Our eldest is always stopped during checks, he loves it as he knows its keeping us safe and he rather likes the gadgets the security has.  This is how it should be, no child should be scared of people who are keeping them safe. 
  • A point we have from last year is if you are travelling and you need medication, (our eldest got an infection a week before travelling although he was cleared to fly he was on his last days of antibiotics, he got 10 days instead of the usual 7) make sure you have all information on the tablets/medicine from your doctor.  Keep it in your hand luggage in original boxes, inform your travel operator as they can mark it on your file to get quickly through the airport, always declare them and be ready to answer questions.
  • Make sure you pack well in advance and check weights and restrictions on your airline of choice, having to open cases at the airport is my idea of stress!

Now for our favourite form of transport. We love travelling by car. It feels easier to travel by car when you have smalls and we feel we have master easy travelling.

  • Have a plan of what you need over what you would like to include in packing up the car.
  • Always have a first aid kit in your car and spare bottle of at least 2 litres of water, we have once on a road trip ran out of windscreen wiper water. Which brings us on to our next point...
  • Always maintain your car. Make sure water, oil and petrol is topped up. check your car over including paint work and tyres.
  • Make a plan of action. Where are you going to stop for toilet breaks? Where will you drive to first? Where will you stop for food and which route will you take?
  • In between the boys chairs we put a basket full of snacks and some small activities (magazine, colouring, and a small amount of lego)
  • We have DVD players which we hook on to the back of the cars front seats. our boys can then watch a movie and it keeps them entertained. Although we have these our boys love looking out the window and doing a check list.  You can see amazing sights like the time an eagle took off from a tree at the roadside as we passed.
  • Break up your journey where you can. We will drive on a night time to our first stop and take our second day stopping at a few places if we have time before stopping over in our end location.
for stressful travel always have a plan of who, what, where, and when:

  • Who is going?
  • What is the reason behind the trip and what places do you need to be? What do you need to take?
  • Where are you going?
  • When are you going and when will you be in certain places?
The more you can be prepared the better and a little tip for in current events, always make sure people know where you are for safety issues, also so there is no unnecessary worry from loved ones. Make sure you have a fully charged phone where ever you may be going and most of all enjoy it and have fun! Happy holidaying!

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