We recently got back from travelling with the boys and I wanted to share a few tips that I learnt along the way. I’ve done a lot of travel content before but always for what I would call ‘holidays’ aka going to one destination, leaving and returning from the same airport, checking into one accommodation and staying there until it’s time to say ciao.
These trips however have been different; we’ve travelled to five destinations, stayed in 6 different air bnbs and flew back to different airports to the ones we flew out of. Sure we didn’t backpack around the world but I’d say it constituted as travelling compared to how we usually venture abroad.
Don’t get me wrong we felt so calm and relaxed when we returned but I will say it wasn’t a typically relaxing beach holiday. It took a lot of planning and packing had to be so precise due to the number of flights we’d be taking. So, here are a few tips I picked up along the way for travelling with little ones:
1) Get flights right
Pay the extra for convenient flights. Saving money at the expense of night flights and far away airports will only cost you your sanity. It may seem appealing to save £50 on a flight but when you’re waking your baby up at 2 in the morning to drive 4 hours past 3 closer airports you’ll feel like spending double that on a spa day sans-children. Take into account travel costs to and from airports as you may end up spending more in fuel or taxi fares getting to the further away airports. Also take into account your little ones schedules, picking a morning flight means they’ll be less grumpy, picking a flight that takes off at nap time is genius. A final note on flights – don’t scrimp on not choosing your seats; it may seem a lot when you’re booking to add on all the extras but when you get on a plane, your toddler, partner and you are all sat apart – you’ll wish you spent the extra … unless your’e happy for someone else to deal with your hyper toddler on a plane – that’s one to consider haha
2) Invest in good travel equipment
We’ve tried a range of products like the Trunki and Scooter Suitcase which were both amazing and we will still use them for different holidays but on these trips we gave the Jetkids Bed Box a go and it was a serious game changer! At a glance it looks like a ride along suitcase; it’s not made for that purpose but it’s one of the sturdiest around and is so easy to navigate between barriers and crowds. What set’s it apart though is the fact that it can turn a normal seat into a bed – hello sleeping babies on planes! The lid lifts up and flips over to provide a flat surface, the handle strap secures the base to the childs seat and and then a mini foldable mattress with removable sides is added for comfort.
Both boys absolutely loved it, they used it lying down on their backs and sides with the belt across them and also sitting with their belt on. It can’t be used for take off and landing for safety reasons but it is a lifesaver for keeping your child comfortable, has storage for all of their flight belongings and can be personalised with stickers to make it fun!
Another couple of pieces of equipment we always travel with are neck pillows for the kids, the iPad stocked with games and movies and headphones to keep the noise to a minimum! These are all fab for not only the plane but transfers, airport waits and when in hotels/ air bnb’s!
3) Pack like a pro
Pack light. It’s so easy to panic pack and add in everything ‘just in case’ but from experience you’ll be much happier lugging a lighter case around and honestly there is nothing more satisfying than coming home knowing every item of clothing was worn and nothing was unnecessarily packed.
If you have short haul flights then don’t bother with toys; our boys had one iPad and that was it, it was a real eye opener actually. They used their imaginations, snacked, played calming games and watched movies – it was bliss!
Outfit plan, enough for an outfit a day and one extra. If your children get messy every day and you need evening outfit changes then go with the intention to find a launderette half way through your trip, it will save you any heavy luggage charges as well as from extra time unpacking or searching for clean clothes each day.
Layer up; it depends where you’re going to of course but for us for example we travelled to Barcelona-Rome-Lisbon in a cold March; the first two were sunny but cold and then Lisbon was a wonderful 22C. We packed light rain coats that were never worn, two hoodies for each boy and then lots of thin cotton T-shirts which in cooler evenings they doubled up on. Looking back we could have downsized to one hoody each and I also stuck to one pairs of trainers each for all of us and then just a nicer pair of boots for me.
4) Make use of apps
I think I’ll do a separate post on this as I have a lot to say but downloading apps before we left made our whole travels so much easier! Most airlines have apps for you to check in online, upgrade to any flight extras and show your boarding passes without needing any paperwork. Research beforehand as well and find the local taxi app, most of our cities used Uber but one place had an independent one which was fab – it saved any lost in translation nightmares!
As someone who tries to eat vegan as much as possible the Happy Cow app literally saved me; I didn’t know about it until we were half way through out travels but oh my goodness it was amazing, it tells you where vegan/ vegetarian restaurants are in your area worldwide.
Cleo is also a fab one for keeping an eye on your finances whilst abroad, it runs through your Facebook messenger, you can log into it at anytime to keep an eye on how much you’re spending in restaurants, tourist attractions and taxis! It’ll also warn you when you’re near your overdraft and if you follow the link provided you’ll get £2.50 straight into your account and so will I – result!
We also used Withlocals a lot to book local run tours as well as Google maps to navigate our way around when walking and also air bnb to communicate with our hosts!
5) Research your trip
Last but not least, do your research before you travel! The best thing I can recommend to do is google phrases like ‘Things to do in Rome with kids’, ‘Child friendly activities in New York’. You’ll be taken to blogs, magazine and newspaper articles, Youtube videos and you’ll get some of the best recommendations ever. Also check out Trip Advisor for advise as people often go into great detail on the best times to visit attractions, which buses to get, the best places to buy tickets etc.
To go one step further you could even take to Pinterest to search for places and see where the most photo worthy spots are!
I also ask for recommendations on my social media and it just means that before you travel you’ll have a bit of a schedule, you can roughly plan out what you’ll do each day to avoid turning up on busy days or days when attractions are closed and it even helps you to keep costs of taxis down as you’ll work out the fastest routes!
Well those are my top 5 tips for travelling with children. I do have so many more but I’m going to try and put them into more specific travel topics like apps that I use, airport hacks and keeping costs down!
I hope you found this useful and if you did please do give it a share and of course comment below and let me know your tips for travelling with little ones!
Thanks for reading,