There are times when you may need to take your little ones on a long journey. Whether it’s by car, public transport, boat, or plane, taking little ones on a long journey can seem stressful, anxiety laden, and just all around not a good time. It doesn’t need to be like that. A little preparation can help you conquer long journeys with your little ones.
If you’re travelling by car, you should prepare for the chorus of ‘are we there yet?’ and ‘how much longer?’ These tips can help you manage long car trips.
- Plan your route and make note of opportunities to stop. Look for service areas where you can take your little ones to the toilet, get something to eat, and refill your drinks supply.
- Pack a boredom buster bag. Fill up on age-appropriate books, toys, and travel games. Look for ones that your children will be able to use to amuse themselves, and ones that an adult passenger can get involved in as well. You might be able to involve your children in selecting what books and games go into the bag.
- Bring some surprises as well. Decide how many surprises you’re going to bring, and how often you’re going to hand them out.
- Don’t forget the arts and crafts supplies. Young children can be entertained with nothing more than a pack of crayons and some blank pieces of paper.
- Don’t forget to pack snacks. There may not always be the opportunity to buy food, so packing snacks is essential.
- Bring screens. We usually spend so much time trying to limit the amount of screen time our little ones have, but screens can be a huge help during a long journey. If possible, try to bring one device per child, and avoid any arguments.
- Why not play a classic sightseeing game? Everyone loves a bit of I Spy, or why not try ‘First One to See’; where you each take it in turns to name something commonly spotted in the area (e.g., first one to see a… yellow car!) and you must be the first to call out when it comes into view.
- If there are two of you, make a rule that whoever isn’t driving is the person who will deal with any arguments that break out in the back seat.
Children can find travelling by train fascinating, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll enjoy it during the entire trip.
- If possible, book your trip during off-peak times. It will be easier on your children to travel when the train is less crowded.
- Bring snacks, and activity packs. Pack anything that you would usually pack for a long car journey. Some trains may have a dining car, but even if it does, you can’t guarantee that your little one would eat anything on the menu.
- Bring a pillow and a blanket. You may be able to convince your children to take a nap. You should keep as close to their usual sleep routine as possible, so bring their favourite story, or make sure their favourite lullabies are downloaded on your phone.
- You can also take little walks up and down the aisle of the train. Breaking up the journey with movement can help your little one stay relaxed.
Long haul flights can be particularly daunting for parents, but a little preparation goes a long way.
- Pack an activity pack, snacks and drinks. Keeping your little one occupied during the flight will help them pass the time.
- Bring at least one change of clothes in your hand luggage. You should pack a change of clothes for yourself as well.
- Make sure you have a bottle or dummy for babies during landing or take off. You’ll need something to help them as their ears pop. You can offer older children sweets to suck.
- Blankets and pillows can help you pretend it’s bedtime. Encourage your little ones to sleep during the flight and bring their favourite bedtime items.
- Don’t book the cheapest flight if it has a long airport stopover. If your flight does involve a stopover, try to find an airport transit hotel. Children can sleep anywhere, but you need sleep as well.