Travelling with kids comes with its own special challenges... lots of them. Creating fun and special family memories means hours of work planning and preparing, and endless patience one you set off. Here are our top 5 tips for travelling with children:
Be flexible - you can schedule to your heart's content, but children have their own (often inconvenient) internal clocks. So leave enough wiggle room in your itinerary to stop for a snack, or play in a park, or go back to the hotel and nap if need be. Sure, you may miss the changing of the guard, but you'll keep your sanity.
Arm yourself - A well-armed mom or dad comes equipped with a bag nearly as bottomless as Mary Poppins'. Favourite snacks, emergency toys, a change of clothes and several extra diapers are things you shouldn't leave home without. Having them portioned out in individual bags means you can whip them out instantly when there's a problem. Camping stores stock single-serving travel goods that can be extremely handy.
Get them involved - Let the kids help plan the trip as much as possible. Older ones can research your destination and suggest things they'd like to do or see, and younger ones can help choose what looks the most fun. Getting involved in the planning will mean they know they'll enjoy what's coming and get more excited about things on your itinerary.
Do your research - Know exactly how kid-friendly your flights, hotels, and activities are before you book. While many hotels do what they can to cater for families, it's ultimately your responsibility to find out if you need to book that rollaway cot ahead of time, or if you need a child-safe balcony. If you have specific needs, make sure everyone knows ahead of time to avoid nasty surprises - never assume!
Take some time off - Does your hotel offer childcare? Take advantage of it! A little bit of homework in finding someone to watch the kids for an afternoon or evening, or even just a few hours, can yield a huge reward in the form of some much-needed grown-up time. Get dressed up and have a nice dinner or see a show, and you'll be recharged enough to tackle Disneyland the next morning.
Image from here.