There are many reasons why parents should take their children on holiday with them. Besides teaching the little ones adaptability and opening them up to diverse new cultures and experiences, travelling together also creates lifelong memories.
Of course, hitting the road with your bubbas in tow can be a mean feat. So before you pounce on the next travel deal to plan a family holiday, here are some practical tips to help you along:
My children are at an age where they can walk, talk, are curious about their surroundings, and don’t need a long checklist of things just to survive. They’re also at the age where attractions make sense to them (like zoos and theme parks).
In short, I will probably not go on a ‘holi-date’ (a one-on-one holiday to bond with your child) with my baby, and wait till he/she is a little older. However, I’d gladly take a baby on a regular holiday. The purpose of both is quite different.
Catch an early morning flight because when children wake up, they’re ready to go! Morning flights are also usually less crowded, and you reach the destination in the day, making it easier to get around and navigate your way through a new place.
Especially if you’re travelling with young children; they cannot help you with larger bags. You also don’t want to be in a frenzy waiting for multiple pieces of luggage to arrive on the belt while taking care of your child. Pack only what you absolutely need – swap strollers for carriers, and remember that bags with rollers are easier to lug around.
Bring some meds
When travelling with children, you want to always be prepared to combat any bug or treat wounds. Essential medicine include paracetamol, antihistamines, and a small first aid kit. I also always carry some multivitamins or vitamin C for them to boost their immune system.
Encourage them to keep a travel journal
One of my kids kept a travel journal of his trip to Taiwan. He scribbled the different places we went to, foods we tried, and things we saw. He doodled his observations and stuck entrance tickets and stickers in it, too. Now, he absolutely treasures his journal (which is nothing fancy, just a few pages of A4 paper stapled together with a self-decorated brown cover), and this will be in his library of memories way into his adulthood.
Do some pre-trip learning
Read up, watch videos, and talk about the place you’ll be going to with your child. It helps to create a sense of excitement and anticipation before a holiday.
Take your time
Remember, it’s a holiday with you and your child. Give yourself enough buffer at the airport, for getting around, having a meal, or sightseeing. Needless to say, young children love to explore and they don’t care about time, so a one-hour excursion can easily become a two-hour adventure.
Meanwhile, older children might prefer doing things you don’t usually fancy. Keep in mind that giving them time means and doing it together allows you to appreciate the world through their eyes. One time, my husband was with our daughter at a park, and he thought a walk through was enough. However, she decided to pick leaves, gawk at birds, pick up stones, and wander around. My husband instinctively got the cue to slow down, enjoy nature, and taught her about the tortoises and ducks in the pond, and the different birds they saw.
I suppose at the end of it all, the most important thing is to take it all in stride and go with the flow. You’re there to build a bond. Enjoy your next trip!