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Travelling with Kids? 5 Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday

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New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Home Decor Travel InsuranceSome people are obsessed with shoes, some with working out, hipster coffee or mastering their winged eyeliner.  I’m a sneaker-wearing, Nespresso-drinking, tinted moisturiser kind-of-girl who’s allergic to the gym, hence, my passion is slightly more far-flung and requires a little more planning than simply co-ordinating my active wear.

I absolutely LIVE for travelling with my family.  And by family, I mean hubby and the kids.  Our ongoing partnership with Jetstar over the past couple of years has meant we have been able to keep our Wanderlust at bay with frequent trips exploring New Zealand and further afield to Australia, Bali and Japan.

As we’re flying 5 times in the next 9 months (eek!!!), I need to get organised.  That means getting itineraries locked and loaded and life-admin such as travel insurance sorted with minimum hassle and expense.  It also means revisiting our family travel hacks and implementing everything we learnt on our last BIG trip, which was to Japan in January. 

Travel insurance – done deal.  This year we are using Holiday Rescue Travel Insurance.  They are new, they are different and their benefits for us as a family are soooo good.  Kids 17 and under are covered for free, and medical services (fingers crossed we won’t be needing them but hello Nixon on skis lol) are provided by the best of the best, as opposed to the cheapest bidder which is whom other travel insurance providers tend to use.  Check out this Q&A from Holiday Rescue for more info – travel insurance in everyday, easy to understand language = amazing!

5 Tips for Stress-Free Travelling with Kids

  1. Avoid airport stress:  Departing the house, airport arrival and check-in is a stress-minefield when you’ve got kids AND luggage in tow (which inevitably means a shit tonne more luggage than you ever imagined could possibly fit in your car!).  Allow an extra 25 minutes to leave the house, kids move as slow as molasses, slower when they know a situation is time sensitive.  Park at or near the airport if at all possible.  There are heaps of inexpensive, open-air park ‘n ride options which mean you won’t be relying on someone else to get you to the airport on time – cue reciprocal airport-drop-off-obligations :::::shudder::::::  Invest in a little hanging luggage scale to take with you ($10 from Kmart) and you’ll easily avoid the trauma of rearranging your families dirty undies on the floor at the check-in counter.  Double check VISA requirements and passport expiry dates.  I’m going to leave that one there as I’m still recovering from the fiscal shock of needing 2 emergency passports before we left for Bali last year!
  2. Transit times matter:  Scoring cheap flights are epic and often necessary when you’re planning a holiday with your entire tribe, but, sometimes the real price is paid via long layovers and extra stops.  If you’re particularly keen on your kids losing their marbles, keep them in a transit lounge for 5+ hours – works every time!
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  3. Go easy on the itinerary:  After 14 days of travelling in Japan with only ONE day unscheduled, I realised that ‘more’ is not always best when your travelling with your kids.  As adults, we can fuel our adventures day after day with coffee and adrenalin and wind down at night with a herbal tea (or glass of wine!), but kids simply crash and when they’re away from all that’s familiar they crash hard!  Alternate your Big Adventure Days with low-key, relaxed time spent exploring or simply being together as a family somewhere new.
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  4. Mealtimes are KEY:  Don’t skip them, keep dinner times early and don’t disregard how grounding that 3-meal-a-day routine can be for little people who are out of their comfort zone.  It’s super easy to want to make each meal an ‘occasion’ when your travelling, but sometimes a takeaway pizza eaten on the floor of a hotel room with a family movie playing can be exactly what the doctor ordered for holiday-makers of all ages.  Pressure to behave in a restaurant may be the straw that breaks the camels back for Littles at the end of full-on day abroad.
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  5. Accommodation options are endless – choose wisely.  Gone are the days when cramming the family into one quad-share hotel room was the best/only option.  In my family, we don’t need a whole lot of space, but everyone needs their OWN space.  Renting apartments, villas and townhouses have proven cheaper and much more convenient whenever we travel with the boys.  Access to kitchen and laundry facilities cuts down on life-admin, allows us to travel lighter and means we can whip up eggs and toast for brekkie on those 5 am mornings when ONLY eggs and toast will do for Master 4!
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This post was sponsored by Holiday Rescue Travel Insurance and I’d LOVE to keep it updated with more tips around reducing stress when travelling with kids so please leave me a comment below with your ideas and experiences!