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Travelling with kids:

Travelling with children doesn't have to be stressful. Here are six tips to make the entire experience a happy one for the entire family.
By Jessica Byrnes
Date: September 20 2014
Editor Rating:

The September school holidays are a favourite time for families to take a break. It's beautiful weather in Australia, being Spring, but it's also still good in the northern hemisphere as they finish summer and slip into autumn. In some areas of the world, you can even find snow if winter sports are your thing. 

So with school holidays on us again (already!) here are six quick tips to help you have the best holiday possible with your family. 

1.    Safety is key

When travelling to a new town, city or country, make sure your children know where and how to ask for help. If you’re children are older, make sure they know the local emergency contact number and for younger children, put a card with your hotel information and contact details in their pockets in case they get separated.

2.    Pack Light

Travelling with young children can be stressful enough and the last thing you need to worry about is excess baggage.  If you’re travelling for an extended period of time, take advantage of the hotel laundry facilities rather than packing more clothes. 

3.    Be prepared

Pack toys and games for long trips and any unexpected delays. You and your fellow travellers will be thankful for the distraction. If it's electronic, make sure you also have headphones or earphones. There's nothing worse for fellow travellers than a child watching a program or playing a game on an iPad with the volume turned up loudly so everyone can hear - whether it be in your car, a train or an aircraft. 

4.    Dine smart

Eating out can be an expensive part of your holiday, especially if you're staying in a hotel. If you’re on a budget, do your research and choose the hotel wisely. Many hotels and restaurants offer family friendly packages including ‘kids under 12 stay free’ or ‘kids eat free’ deals when dining with an adult. For a larger family this could save you hundreds of dollars over the course of your trip.

For future planning of holidays, consider the alternative of a holiday apartment so you can cook some meals (although you might not think it's a holiday then). 

5.    It’s not a ‘guilt’-trip

Family holidays are lots of fun but they can be exhausting for parents and children alike. Remember, it’s your holiday too so don’t feel guilty about taking advantage of the kids club or hotel babysitting service so you can enjoy a little romance with your partner or some well-deserved relaxation by the pool or in the spa. 

6.    If you're flying

Flying can be an added stress with a family - but it can also be a great experience. Here are a few things to help make it as smooth as possible:

  • If you're flying on a long journey with a small child and you haven't purchased an extra seat for them, ask for an extra seat in your row when you check-in. The worst they can do is say "no" (and they certainly will if the aircraft is full) but most people are sympathetic to families travelling and will do their best to help. The best way of making sure this happens is to get to the airport as early as possible. 
  • If you can, board the aircraft before other passengers as it gives you extra time to settle young children. Some airlines do this automatically, but many budget airlines do not. Once again, the worst they can do is say "no". 
  • If travelling internationally, and if there is not a separate Customs line for families, ask a Customs officer whether there is one. More often than not, they will take you to a new queue or to the front of a queue if they see you struggling with young children in particular.

Have a great holiday - and remember, if you haven't made any plans yet you can always check out!

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