Finally getting to travel with the family brings sheer excitement. But for some parents, the experience can also be quite daunting. Planning a getaway that is appropriate, fun and accommodating of your children’s needs at different ages without stunting the rest of the family’s, yours or partners fun may seem overwhelming.
Travelling with your kids is important, however. A United States Department of Education study found that children exposed to travelling during their schools holidays, tend to perform better when it comes to reading, mathematics and general knowledge compared to their peers that stayed at home. A survey also found that 57% of people that travelled as children went on to go to university.
Here’s what to consider for family holidays with children that are either babies, toddlers or teenagers to take out the stress of ensuring that it all runs smoothly, and is appropriate for your child.
Travelling with a newborn may be one of the most stressful experiences. For new parents, the experience can be even more overwhelming. It is however manageable when carefully considering what steps you can take to make the journey as fluid as possible, for not only the baby, but for yourselves as well. In the planning stage, consider a destination that is well suited for your little one, and can also allow some relaxation for yourself. This would mean avoiding high traffic and noisy destinations where younger travellers may frequent. A more tranquil setting that still offers a real holiday experience is important. Next, you want to consider the effort required to get there. If you’ll be travelling quite a long distance, consider non-stop flights that will minimise the stress of boarding, offloading, luggage-fetching and flight-changing. Lastly, when it comes to accommodation, consider booking at an establishment that will accommodate all that you’re packing and allows for important tasks such as bottle cleaning.
Travelling with toddlers may be a whole new territory. As with infants, decide on a destination that will let your little one’s energy run free and explore. A high-energy destination like a big city may be too much to handle, and may wear yourself and little one out faster than you think. Resorts offer plenty of room, bring a whole new world of nature to life, and usually have secluded rooms or chalets that your little one can be free in, especially when it comes to noise levels. With flights, connecting flights may be easier to manage with a toddler than with an infant, but they may become more restless while onboard than newborns. So, consider packing some activity items in your hand luggage that will keep them entertained and stimulated.
With teenagers, experiences to ‘text home to their friends’ are the goal. It’s important to consider a destination that offers many options of things to do. Be careful however to differentiate between what may interest you and your partner vs what may be interesting to them, while also knowing that ‘kid-friendly hotel’ may also feel rather ‘condescending’ to them. Destinations that also allow them to explore on their own, without compromising on safety of course are also great, reassuring their sense of new found independence as they experience a new part of the world. Flights and accommodation are at least one less thing to worry about – just let them pick their seat at least!