Travelling With Kids:
10 Essentials To Pack
Date: December 11 2015
Travelling with kids can be a fun family experience but it can also be quite chaotic and stressful if you’re not organised well in advance. Whether you’re travelling with your infant for the first time, or on your hundredth road trip with your pre-teens, it’s still vital to know what to bring along, and what to leave at home.
Gordon Bayne, Head of Travel at Scoopon shares his top 10 must-pack essentials when travelling with kids to ensure your next family getaway is the best one yet.
1. Plastic Bags
Kids can be messy - bring along a plastic shopping bag and hang it in the backseat of your car. This way the little ones can keep their rubbish off the floor as they eat. Plastic bags are also great for separating your dirty laundry from your clean clothes so make sure you pack a couple.
No trip will pass by without your kids looking for a treat, so plan ahead and pack light, healthy snacks for the journey. Stick to simple and easy options that won’t digest poorly on the road like fresh fruits and cheese sticks. You’ll also save money by avoiding more expensive road side pit stop meals. Bring along one or two “special treats”. You may find that a small chocolate incentive can go a long way in a roadside negotiation.
This one speaks for itself - you don’t want to be caught out without spare nappies. It’s tempting to think your destination will have the size and brand you’re used to but err on the side of caution and bring your own. While nappies are essential, leave the spare bibs at home. You can use hotel napkins to do the same job, and save money by not having to replace bibs on the road as you go.
4. Appropriate Toys & Entertainment
Bringing along the classic travel toys – crayons, paper, colouring books and cards are always a great idea. The ultimate aim is to find toys and entertainment that keep the little ones occupied but won’t cause headaches for anyone else around. Inflatable toys for toddlers make a simple and easy choice too. Put a limit on ‘screen time’ (e.g. the iPhones and iPads), especially in the car.
5. Car Seats and Prams
If you’re dealing with younger children, bring along a fold up stroller. This can double as a bag holder too which adds to its value. If you’re travelling by car or plane, consider a car seat. Toddlers under two can fly on your lap, but a long flight can mean a squirmy toddler, so the car seat is well worth bringing. Just make sure you check in with your airlines beforehand to get approval.
6. Spare Clothes
Bringing spare clothes for your kid’s sounds obvious, but the trick is packing the right type of spare clothes. Avoid light colours and whites as they get dirty easily – not a good idea if your children are extra playful and messy. Anything in denim is a good choice as it’s durable and won’t wrinkle. If you’re travelling somewhere near the beach then double up on swimming costumes, one to wear while the other is drying. Even if you’re travelling in summer, it’s worthwhile bringing a jacket for your kids just in case it gets really chilly at night.
7. Roadside Emergency Kit
You never know what could happen on your trip so bring a roadside emergency kit with bandages, any medicines and other items you think you’ll need. This is especially important if your kids have allergies. Wet wipes and tissues are also essentials, handy for cleaning up accidents and messy spills. Also bring along hand sanitisers, moisquito spray (if you’re camping) and extra bottles of water.
8. An Essentials Backpack
Putting all the absolute necessary items in a single small backpack is a great idea for ease of access and peace of mind. This will be particularly useful if you’re doing day hikes or a lot of sightseeing. To avoid having to lug around a heavy bag, stick to absolute essentials only e.g. water bottle, medication, a snack, bandages, wet wipes and plastic bag.
9. Rain Coats & Umbrellas
In an ideal world, it won’t rain during your travel times but sometimes you just never know. Pack umbrellas and rain coats just in case the unpredictable happens. It may take up some extra space in your luggage but at least you’ll save money by not having to buy waterproof gear for the whole family when it starts to thunderstorm.
10. A Portable Phone Charger
These days our smart phones have become a go-to for everything we need, especially when we are travelling. From maps to navigation, camera and access to Google (which provides answers to almost every question we can think of), smart phones can be very handy on a family trip. As the battery tends to drain quite easily on these phones, it’s a good idea to pack a portable phone charger so you never have to worry about running out of juice while on the go.
Travelling with kids doesn’t need to be a stressful experience. Whether you’re taking to the skies or going on a road trip with the family, planning ahead and being prepared makes the world of difference.