Paula Scott

Paula Scott

Jan 23, 2023. 7 mins read


A Helpful Guide to Survive and Enjoy a Family Holiday with Young Children

So, you want to plan a family trip with the wee ones. Well, buckle up my fellow parents, as this is not for the faint of heart. You may be daydreaming of one day exploring new places with your mini’s – making memories, while frolicking on the beach… but if you don’t have your ducks in a row, there will be way more F bombs than cheers. Now, don’t get me wrong, you can (and will) have a ton of fun, but I am here to level your expectations. Because after all, the best way to guarantee disappointment is unmet expectations. Thanks, Dr. Phil. You can really nail this family trip if you keep a few things in mind. Gather ‘round for some Do’s and Don’ts of travelling with children.

kid travelling in the airport

7 Tips for Planning and Preparing for the Journey

Do Plan Ahead 

And this starts with booking family friendly accommodation. If your accommodation is multi-level, ensure there’s a lift or ask for the ground floor. Airbnb and Stayz are terrific for booking whole residences that are self-contained. Check that parking is close if needed. When travelling with children, think pool, games room, beach toys! Ask if they have cots, maybe a second fridge for the formula and milk. If you are heating up formula, ask about a microwave. Also, when booking your accommodation, one thing to consider is proximity to activities. The older children might have some gas left in the tank while the littles need a mid-afternoon nap. Mum and dad will likely have to divide and conquer so what makes the dream work? You guessed it – team work! Lastly, pre-book most things if you can. That is, events, accommodation, sights, zoo's, transport etc. It’s just one less thing to think about when you’re on the go and saves standing in queues or being incessantly nagged while you’re trying to concentrate on getting where you need to go. 

Do Pack Snacks 

I don’t know about you, but I wish that word could somehow be outlawed. But it appears I am doomed to hear it at least 5x daily for the next 10-12 years. You know what your child likes, so give ‘em what they want! If they like pizza shapes, le snacks, and oreos - bring ‘em. You can try out the quinoa muffins at home and watch them toss them across the room on your own time. All rules go out the window when flying the high skies. It’s science. If you are on a road trip, you can bring lots of healthy and sugary options, but when flying, you are limited to what you can bring on board. Pack for what you know they will like, not what you wish they would! I've found some healthy-ish, travel friendly fun snacks on Kidspot.

Do Bring Entertainment

And bring options. Trust me on this one. That game they want you to play 10x a day at home is somehow “boring” 3 minutes into a flight. Play dough, post it notes, stickers, colouring in books, Water Wow paint pads, iPads or find out how this Paediatrician keeps her toddler happy on a plane. You do not want to be up there with 6 hours to go and have nothing but a movie. And if you think they are going to nap, well, my friend, I’ve got news for you. Naps are non-existent on flights. Also science. I’ve done the red eye, thinking it’s their bedtime anyway, so ooofff couuursee, they will sleep. I can still hear the 2am screaming when I close my eyes shudder

Do Bring their Comfort Items/ Blankies/ Soft Toys

And when you leave a hotel, CONFIRM you have said item. I left a blankie in a hotel in Brisbane once and had to have it shipped to me a week later. The tantrums I had to endure for 7 nights straight were reminiscent of the Exorcist. Full on head spinning. Well, that’s how I remember it, anyway. Their little brains crave routine and structure, so having that little piece of home is CRUCIAL to the success of your family holiday.

Do Pack Extra Clothes and Other Essentials

You know the drill. Nappies, formula, wet wipes. I’m talking nappy rash cream, powder, even panadol/ ibuprofen. No one wants to be on a flight or a long car ride and not have these items readily available and in ample supply. Make a list and check it twice… a la Santa. These are non-negotiables. You can bet your bottom dollar that if little Sally is going to have a blow out of epic proportions, it will be at the most inopportune time. Like takeoff or landing. I don’t make the rules. Blame Murphy.

Do Bring Baby Transportation and Carrier 

No one wants to carry a child for hours around an airport. No one. And if you have a long layover or – heaven forbid – you have a severe delay (eek!), you need somewhere that baby can try to sleep (no guarantees – see above). I suggest a convertible travel stroller that can lay out flat. I used the Mountain Buggy Nano for both of my little bundles of joy and it was smooth sailing. It’s light and fits in overhead compartments (big win) or most airlines will let you gate check it. The basket is small, but you can hang a pram hook or clip for extra bags if needed. It’s not the lowest cost option, but trust me when I say you would trade your kidney for them to sleep if you’ve missed 2 naps. Like a war veteran. I’ve seen some things.

Do Book Family Activities 

There once was a misguided mum who took their munchkins to Cambodia and booked a trip to Angkor Wat. Ok, it was me. I’m the idiot. I know you want to see such things and take in the culture of the ancient temples or visit the Great Wall of China, but guess what? Your kids probably don’t! I learned this the hard way. I walked so you could run. So instead of hoping and praying your kids will have a good time at these places, just do yourself a solid, and do it (definitely) when they graduate and leave home. If you simply must see that museum on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, I strongly encourage you to break it up into smaller visits. Find a park nearby with some swings or a fountain and let them RUN. They will be much more willing to put up with your oohs and ahhs at the Opera House or Eiffel Tower if they just lapped circles around some newfound playmates at the park that you – Parents of the Year – just took them to. 

Making Memories and Embracing the Adventure of Travelling with Kids

Life is short and we only have 18-ish years with our little humans in tow, so squeeze all the fun you can out of this one trip around the sun. Don’t let any nay-sayers scare you out of that long-awaited family trip. There is no better education than seeing new places and having new experiences outside your little corner of the world. Book those flights, make those memories, frolic in the sand… but for the love of gawd, don’t forget to pack your sense of humour and patience, because travelling with kids can be a wild ride and the unexpected moments are bound to happen! Catchya later, my fellow soldiers parents!

Paula Scott

Paula Scott

Active mum of 2 . Wife . Research Nerd . World Traveller . Adventure Seeker

Loves writing about fashion, travel, parenting, must-have products, and music. She can be found chasing her children, playing tennis, at the beach, or at a concert. Loves to eat. Hates to cook.

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