There are few more rewarding experiences than visiting new countries with your kids. Even visiting places you know well is an entirely new experience when you see them through their eyes. That being said, family holidays are not without their unique challenges. To have a (relatively) stress free trip with the kids you need a hearty blend of patience, forethought, good humour, and did I say patience?
Yes, it can be frustrating having a misbehaving little one at home, let alone thousands of miles away, but there are few better ways to help your child grow and develop than by introducing them to new places and cultures. To make the process as painless as possible and whether you’re flying to Mexico or Malawi, here are five tips on travelling with an under 10.
When you were free and childless you might have been able to burn through a full itinery every day you were abroad. Catching multiple attractions each day might have been more than possible back then, but this is now. Be realistic about the ground you can cover, your child’s attention spans, and above all be aware of their energy levels. Seeing one landmark or visiting one museum may well be more than enough for one day.
Check the weather
Make sure you are fully aware of what to expect when it comes to the weather. This is especially true of hot countries. While you may be well prepared when it comes to sun cream, if your child is not used to hot temperatures make sure you pack plenty clothes made from breathable natural fibre as well. Plan to change you child’s clothes once a day and pack accordingly. Also ensure they have comfortable sunhats, and sunglasses as their eyes are more sensitive to the sun than yours. Keep them well hydrated, and while they may complain, make sure they don’t spend too long in the sun!
Be wary of food poisoning
The quickest way to derail a fun vacation is with a poorly child, and the quickest way to a poorly child abroad is food poisoning. While you can never be 100% safe from a tummy bug, make sure that you avoid buffet style food, only let them drink from sealed cans and bottles, and ensure you dry any cutlery before use.
Split the responsibility
If there are two adults traveling together then don’t feel guilty about splitting the child care from time to time. You deserve a break too, and having one parent look after the children while another goes for a stroll, a drink, or a swim can help keep both of your energies up.
Children are unpredictable and things will go awry when you travel. But remember that many people’s best childhood holiday memories are of changed plans and simple family time – so don’t be too precious with plans as you will have to change them on the hoof. Just remember to relax and enjoy any time you have away as a family and don’t fret over spilt milk or spoiled plans.