[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Travel with kids doesn’t always go smoothly. Catriona Rowntree once travelled the world for the hit TV show Getaway. These days she prefers to travel with her family of four.
Catriona says she’s learnt a lot about travel with kids from getting things wrong.
Here are her top tips for travel with kids.
You need to be super organised, have a multitude of distractions and do not overpack because then everything becomes painful. I tend to find entering an airport can be like enlisting for a marathon. You don’t want a baby bag that is too heavy. You do want the medications that you need. You should have baby Panadol, always have Band-aids on you and make sure you have something for the kids to do on a plane. I have a box of mini-games including dot-to-dots. Make sure all your devices are charged. And always have lots of wet wipes.
Respect other travellers
Be respectful to the people around you. Make sure you have headphones. Don’t ever play your device out loud to annoy other passengers.
Ditch the screens
Take the time to enjoy conversations with your children. Put the devices away.
Take care of little ears
I believe really strongly that you must be mindful on a flight that children’s little ears can hurt. On the ascent or decent, you must have something for them to suck on like a lollypop. It pains me when I hear parents get cranky at their kids or try to shoosh them – it is their ears. I never let my kids have gum at home. so it’s a real treat when we fly because they get to choose something to chew or suck on the plane.
But have a backup in case they eat the whole thing in 20 seconds.
Pop essentials in your carry-on
I took my son to Uluru in the middle of summer. They lost our luggage. If only I had put some swimmers in our hand luggage, just to take him down to the pool to cool down. It would have made all the difference. The same goes for cruises – it can take a while for the check-in process, pop some swimmers in your handbag.
Get travel insurance
Give yourself the peace of mind and before you go, take a few minutes, spend a few dollars and make sure you have travel insurance.
When you are travelling you are often over-tired and in awe. You are being amazed and that is when accidents happen. Things can happen in a split second. Something may get stolen or you may fall.
Break up a trip
I think it helps to break a trip up if you can. If you are travelling on your own you want to get there as soon as possible. You don’t mind driving straight through – but be more mindful of it when you have kids. Give yourself the time to rest and recuperate.
It is for a short period of your life that you will have situations like this. If you are doing drive trips, have overnight stays, have stopovers. I do a lot of driving trips with my boys from Melbourne to Sydney and we stop off in Beechworth. We stay in the cheapest daggiest hotels and the boys absolutely love it. They love filling out the breakfast menu at night.
On a plane trip, maybe go and overnight in Dubai.
Beware motion sickness
I’m the youngest of four kids and I was always made to sit in the very back and I would always get car sick. Be careful that the kids don’t always read in the back of the car. Be mindful of motion sickness.
Always pack electrolytes
On our Bahamas trip, a bug went through everyone, except my youngest who kept on drinking ginger ale. It’s worth getting electrolytes before you go from the chemist. I have learnt this the hard way.
Relax the rules
I might be really strict at home in terms of junk food, but the payoff in terms of being strict at home is that we get really excited on holidays about stopping and having a McDonalds breakfast
Bring the water bottles
Take your own water bottles so you can fill them up and save money and the environment.