We are a family who loves to travel, as you’ve probably guessed already. It’s taken some practice to make getting around with 2, and sometimes 3 kids, stress free but we are starting to feel like we’ve nailed it from where to take the family on holiday to making packing for the kids as easy as possible. Family road trips? Well we’ve got those covered too, and this list of ultimate family travel hacks is going to help you out no matter what kind of holiday you are thinking of taking.
I’ve spoke to many parents over the years who are worried about going on a plane with a baby, or aren’t quite sure where to take the toddler on their next holiday, but these things really shouldn’t be an issue. Families travel with kids all of the time, and it’s OK. The trick is to be prepared and keep doing it. The more you travel with kids, the easier it gets. Once you’ve practised these travel hacks a few times, you’ll have going on holiday as a family sewn up, I promise you.
Make a List of What You Need to Have a Good Holiday
Before you have even booked your family trip, make sure you know what you want from your family holiday. Do you enjoy picking up a good deal on a hotel from websites like HotelsCombined? Do you want the freedom and space that self catering gives you? Is an all inclusive package going make everyone happy? Think about what everyone enjoys about being on holiday to make sure you get that booking right. There may be some compromise, but talk it out and see what is going to work for everyone.
Write More Lists!
Be organised and write lists. I write a few lists to make sure everything is covered for going on holiday. We have a list for things that need to be booked, including airport parking, transfers etc. We have lists for what everyone needs for when they are travelling and a list of what to pack for the holiday. Each person has their own list so that the favourite toy, books and snacks are not forgotten. Do you need to take a travel crib for a baby or toddler travel bed?
Get A Litter Picker
Our kids are always dropping things in the back of the car, and sometimes reaching them can be tricky. Put a litter pick in the car to reach those toys or books that have managed to slip out of reach.
Invest in a Plastic Cereal Container
Pop a plastic bag inside it and pop it in the car and you’ve just made yourself a car rubbish bin, perfect for road trips and everyday use.
Where to Keep the Toys on Road Trips?
When you are going on a family road trip, all of a sudden car space is at a premium. Get a shower caddy with suction caps, or something similar, and attach it to the rear car window. It’s perfect for storing books, toys and pens needed to keep kids busy during a long journey. Shoe organisers hung over the back of the passenger seats work pretty well too.
Cover the Car Seats
If you want to keep your car seats clean, pop a sheet over them before your trip to catch all the crumbs. Just remove it when you get to your destination and you’ve got clean car seats again.
Photograph Your Important Travel Documents
Take photographs of all your important travel documents including your passports and tickets. Store them on your cloud drive so that they are accessible even if you lose your phone. If something goes wrong, and you lose all your paperwork having these photographs will help you to get replacements.
Roll Your Clothes Up
If you want to make the most of the space you have in your suitcases, roll up your clothes. You will get so much more in but keep an eye on your baggage allowance when you do this.
Shower Caps for Shoes
Pop your shoes inside shower caps to keep the clothes clean and shoes together.
Let The Kids Wear PJ’s
If your catching an early flight, or want to get on the road before your usual getting up time keep the kids in their pyjamas. Kids can get away with lounge wear at airports and it will make getting away for your trip hassle free. Just scoop the kids out of bed and pop them in the car when you are ready to go.
Unpack Everything When You Arrive
When we arrive anywhere, the first thing I do is unpack everything and put it away. This helps no end, as firstly we know where everything is, so getting ready for each day is so much easier. Secondly, you now have empty suitcases and bags to put things in you don’t need anymore like dirty clothes etc. Pop some tumble dryer sheets in the case to deal with those nasty smells during your holiday and keep your dirty laundry out of sight. It makes packing to go home SO much easier.
Zip Lock Bags
Zip lock bags are an essential travel item as they are useful for so many things. Put your toiletries in them to save on spills when travelling, keep your phone and tablet inside a bag on the beach to save accidents. Also, take one to breakfast and pop a few snacks in for the kids from the buffet. There’s so many wins here.
Take empty bottles or your kids favourite drinking cups with you so you can fill up at the water fountain when you get through airport security. Pop one of those really concentrated squash drinks in your liquids bag, and you can make everyone a drink in the airport lounge and save yourself a few quid.
Book Trips and Activities in Advance
You can save a lot of money by booking your family travel activities in advance. A lot of websites offer discounts for advanced bookings and it’s well worth looking at tourist passes if you plan on doing a lot of sight seeing.
Use Online Shopping
If you need to take bulky items like nappies, or you are going on a self catering holiday you might be able to get some shopping delivered directly to your accommodation. It’s worth looking into, and can save on packing and time if the things you need are coming directly to you on holiday.
Follow Your Routine
Our family motto is ‘don’t mess with the routine’. We know if we do the kids get very overtired and extremely grumpy. Going on holiday is a big change for children, but sticking to the routine you have at home around meals and bedtimes is going to keep meltdowns to a minimum.
Change the Nappy Just Before The Flight
If you have ever tried to change a baby on a plane, you will know what I mean. The tables aren’t the biggest and airplane toilets are pretty small. Time a nappy change just before you get on the plane. It’s not going to prevent a poonami, but it will help you get to the other end with a chance of avoiding a nappy change in mid air.
Make the Most of Your Travel Allowance
Make sure you know who is entitled to hand luggage and what you can check in. Kids can carry rucksacks filled with toys and clothes, and heavy items like shoes and toiletries can go in the suitcases.
Forgot Your Adaptor?
Have a look on the TV, and see if it has a USB port. You can use this to charge phones and tablets while your away. For more tips like this, check out these awesome travel hacks.
Tip For Keeping a Child Busy on a Plane or Train
You can use this time to really enjoy some quality time with your children. You are free from distractions and in a good mood because you are going on holiday so use the time to play games or do activities with your children. The time will literally fly by for everyone. If you are taking a family road trip, then you will find some excellent advice, then check out this useful family survival guide from North East Family Fun blog.
Let the Kids Set The Agenda Sometimes
If you want a quiet relaxing time, letting kids pick what they want to do on holiday is really going to help. They might just want to build sandcastles or play in the park, and my advice is to let them do it and enjoy the peace you get from watching them enjoy themselves. You can use these times as a trade, so when you want them to do something they are less excited about, you can say ‘we will make some time for the beach later’.
I hope these have helped you out. If you are still feeling nervous about your first family holiday abroad, then pop over to Flying With A Baby travel blog who has got lots of helpful advice for travelling with kids.
Do you have any travel hacks to share with families still worried about going on holiday?