20 Tips for Family Travel

Just thought I would share my tips.  Wish someone had warned me about a few of these….

  1. Don’t travel too far, I think 2 hours is about the longest I can mange on a plane. Portugal, The Balearic Islands, France.  Anything longer is suicide.
  2. Overpack snacks, books, toys etc for the plane.  What you thought would last 2 hours will actually last 20 mins.
  3. Expect the flight to be horrific.  Anything less is a bonus.
  4. Don’t get upset.  People will look, people will stare, there is bound to be a Supermummy looking at you from behind her Breton stripes, but just focus on breathing and counting to 10. Lots.
  5. Ignore your normal rules.  Now is not the time to limit exposure to the ipad or enforce your sugar ban.  Nor is it the time to worry about exceeding the daily allowance for Peppa Pig episodes.
  6. Know how many ‘pieces’ your pram/buggy comes in.  I never understood this question at check-in and was met by very angry flight staff at the boarding gate. For the avoidance of doubt, if the seat comes off, that is TWO parts.
  7. If you are breastfeeding, allow for major poo incidents.  I am talking leak-through-the-nappy poos and up-the-back-poos.  Even if you stick to bottled water, your body still needs to adjust.
  8. Likewise, milk and most other foods will be different to what your body (and baby) is used to.  Be sensible.  This is not the time to sample the local ‘cuisine’.
  9. If your baby or little ones have a routine which involves an afternoon sleep, try and stick to it.  I say this for several reasons,firstly, they obviously need it.  Secondly, if you only have the one child, one of you goes back the room and the other gets wonderful me-time/kindle-time/trashy magazine-time/sun worshipping-time.  You can alternate so you both get a chance.  if you have more than one child, you can have quality one to one.  DONT try and let them sleep in the sun/pram unless they are very small.  I always take a small sheet with me.  Great for draping over the pram to create shade .
  10. Give up on the sun worshipping. You just wont have that kind of holiday. Unless you follow no.9.  Go, expecting to come back white.  Do the sensible thing and book a St Tropez before you go.
  11. Dont bother taking books.  Unless you are following no.9.
  12. Buy UV all-in-one swimsuits.  I know they sometimes look hideous and bandage-like.  But there are some great designs out there if you hunt about.  It significantly reduces the sun lotion applying areas and minimises burnt children.  Which is horrendous.
  13. Buy sunhats with straps.  I tie them under my little ones necks, they don’t fall off, they don’t blow away.  Ditto number 13, sunburn is the end of your holiday as you know it.
  14. Try and get something on the ground floor.  Whether you are hotel or apartment, a ground floor usually means several things – the balcony is often bigger and you usually have open access onto gardens etc.  This can be a lifesaver of an evening when the kids go to sleep and you are stuck in the room whispering to each other at 9pm.  A bottle of Rioja on a balcony that is NOT the size of a 5p coin will make you feel better.  Marginally.
  15. Email ahead.  See no.14.  I always contact the hotel in advance and ask for a particular type of room, I am uber polite and complimentary.  Most hotels will try and accommodate you.  It can make all the difference. Persistence is key.
  16. Buy a plastic food-catching bib.  You know the type, they have a lip at the bottom to catch everything.  These are wonderful.  DON’T bother with the disposable ones. They rip easy and the velcro/sticky fasteners are a magnet for stray hair.  Cue extreme pain and screaming when you try to remove it.  The bonus of the plastic ones is that you just wipe it down after every use and its good to go for the next ice cream.  Who wants to take 14 fabric bibs that will stink by the time you get them home?  Even if you have got one to match every outfit.
  17. Buy bucket/spade/watering can AS SOON AS YOU CAN. Simple, but oh so effective.
  18. Kids don’t need lots of shoes on holiday.  This is not the time to show off your impeccable taste.  Crocs.  They are the way forward.  Comfy,cool, fine-if -they-get-wet. If you really hate them, try the electro range, lovely colours and a slightly better shape.
  19. The beach – take a large muslin or at least one towel that stays dry.  In a major sand incident (eyes, mouth etc. ) a baby wipe just wont cut it.  A dry piece of fabric you can use to just whip the sand away is much better.
  20. In the words of Elsa – Let It Go.  You can always soak up the sun when you’re retired.
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