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Family Travel: 5 Ways to Make Travelling with Kids Amazing

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AdvertisementIf the idea of traveling with your kids is enough to induce a cold sweat, or the thought of spending 4 hours (or more!) on a plane with both your toddler AND the general public warrants a stiff drink, then read on friends.

Traveling with your kids, whatever their ages, is a great privilege and luxury afforded to few.  If you have the opportunity to get out there and adventure with your family then what are you waiting for?!  The rewards and benefits of forgetting your daily routine or even just ‘transplanting’ it somewhere warm and sunny for a few days can be a liberating experience for parents and kids alike.

Right now I’m mentally prepping and researching for a family trip to the Gold Coast next month, so, I’d thought I’d share a few tips we’ve learned over the past 12 years as we’ve traveled with the boys.

Getting ready to travel, even for a short while can be super exciting but also incredibly draining.  Get a head start on your planning, figure out what the ‘Travel Deal-Breakers’ are for your family (quiet accommodation, short transit times, kitchen facilities, proximity to Zara………..) and make it happen. 

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelling with Kids

Queenstown Gondola 2017

5 Ways to Make Travelling with Kids Amazing

    1. Food – Pack as much as you can!  It’s a brave parent that leaves their home without snacks and drinks packed for their little ones.  It’s a crazy parent that leaves the country (or city!) without doing the same.  When we traveled to Rarotonga two years ago I did meal planning for the entire 10 days and packed a suitcase full of snacks and meal starters.  Why?  Kiwi staples can be expensive on the islands and food is NOT one of our family’s Travel Deal-Breakers – we would rather save money on eating out and spend it on local experiences.
      My boys are ready to eat 24-7.  Having to constantly stop and search out food in unfamiliar locales is both costly and time-consuming.  Rolling with pre-packed snacks and drinks leaves more time for fun and also provides some home comfort for little ones in an unfamiliar place.
      Hungry kids are not happy kids.  End of story.
    2. Itinerary – Think before you book.  My boys travel well first thing in the morning, and by first thing I mean, we’re on a plane or on the road at 8 am.  If we’re heading to a NZ destination this gives us a whole day to get our bearings and start with the fun!  I’m also really cautious about how much I try and cram into a trip.  Dave and I can seriously smash out some touristing but it’s unreasonable to expect kids to go go go, all in the name of ticking boxes in your Lonely Planet guide.  We plan on one activity per day (unless we have a driver), anything else is a bonus.

      Mummy Blog new Zealand TRavel rarotonga Family

      Rarotonga, 2015

    3. Accommodation – Here’s where your Travel Deal-Breakers are super important.  If you’re looking for a ‘lay around the pool-max out the Kids Club-never leave the resort holiday’, you’re going to be looking for a premium hotel that you’ll love spending time at.  If getting your kids to sleep easily/early is a priority, look for options away from the main drag and off the pub-crawl route.  If you’re only there to lay your head, save some cash and book an economy option.
      How can you tell what a place is really like when you’re making a reservation online?  Easy.
      Read.  The.  Reviews.  All of them lol.  I’m looking at accommodation right now in the Goldie and there are hundreds of reviews on each of the properties I’m considering on  Take your fellow travellers advice under consideration, after all, they’ve been there, done it!  Warning – there are over 1.2 million properties to choose from on so don’t leave choosing your accommodation until the last minute lol.New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelling with Kids
    4. Transport – Little legs move slowly, don’t rush your kids through their travel experience.  Consider your accommodation location carefully and plan your transport options accordingly.  If kids have to walk for ages, they’ll be tired and cranky before you even arrive at the day’s activity.  Take your stroller!  We have a trusty umbrella stroller that cost all of $30, has been all over New Zealand and to Australia and Bali and it’s worth its weight in gold.  It doesn’t incur any extra luggage charge and makes Nixie’s life much more comfortable when we’re rushing from here to there.  On last months trip to Queenstown, we took his balance bike instead and this was amazing.  He even rode it 5kms along a trail to see the Franz Josef glacier!  (We stayed here while in Franz Josef and it was perfect for families). 
    5. First Aid – Be prepared.  If you’re traveling to warm climates use the space you’ll have in your luggage (after packing minimal bulky clothes) to go nuts at the pharmacy.  Little cuts, scrapes, and grazes or excessive sun can quickly ruin a family holiday.  Pack more insect repellant and sunscreen than you think.  Pack 3B Action Cream, chafe can be a killer when you’re doing heaps of walking and you’re hot and sweaty.  On a trip to Tonga, Ethan pretty much lived in his board shorts, however, his little thighs were rubbed raw by the end of the trip from so much time at the beach and in the sand.  Take antiseptic cream with you, take Pamol and Phenergan for bug bites and allergic reactions.  The medicine we had to purchase for Nix in Bali was flavored differently and proved a mission to get into him.  Prepare like you’re Florence Nightengale for all child-related contingencies lol.

So, you can take all of this into consideration, but the most important thing to remember when traveling with kids is to just be open to changes of plan and expect everything to move a wee bit slower than you might prefer.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelling with Kids

Tonga, 2008

I find that our willingness to pull the kids out of school to travel gives us more options in pricing then trying to book trips exclusively in the school holidays.  Many people disagree with us, but I firmly believe that there is not one thing that Ethan will learn in Year 8 that compares to walking the cliff tops at an ancient temple in Uluwatu.  Travel is life!New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelling with Kids

Tauranga, 2017