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Going on holiday should be a time of relaxation, however when travelling with young children, everything can become more stressful. Here are our top tips for travelling with children;
Since 1998 children can no longer be added to their parent’s passports, they need their own to travel abroad. Anyone under 16 needs a child passport to travel abroad; after 16 they can apply for an adult passport. Remember that a child passport is only valid for five years – make sure your children’s passports have not expired, and if they have, leave yourself plenty of time to renew it before travel. You can find more information here.
The hardest part of travelling with children is keeping them amused, happy and well behaved during travel. Every child is different, and they will react to this new and stressed situation in different ways. Create a happy environment and in your hand luggage, pack some favourite soft toys, and plan some games. A pack of playing cards can be a simple but great way to amuse kids, teach them some games and play them on the flight when they need to sit still. Story books, portable DVD players and narrative CDs are also a great way to keep them amused.
It can be extremely tempting to let children bring a bag full of their favourite toys, to keep them amused throughout the holiday. However, you have to be careful as these toys could cause delays at security (as they may want to go through the bag,) and could even be confiscated. Toy guns and anything which could cause hurt or alarm to other passengers will not be allowed. Also, make sure that you or your child will be able to lug a bag full of toys around the airport all day, travelling is tiring enough!
Many people forget to plan meals when travelling; all the other planning involved seems to take over. However it is important that you pack some snacks for your kids, something easy and healthy and maybe a treat if they are behaving well. You can’t be sure that they will like the food at the airport or on the plane, plus it can be very expensive, and if they get hungry they could become difficult.
On long haul flights, everyone needs to sleep to avoid a terrible journey, natural sleep aids are a great back up plan if your child cannot fall asleep in the strange environment. You could also try packing a blow up travel pillow and a familiar blanket or throw to help make them comfortable.
Unfortunately, there is no magic answer to this issue, as every child and family is different. However if you prepare beforehand by getting your kids excited about travelling, by carefully packing things to keep them amused, by packing snacks and natural sleep aids – you should find that the experience isn’t that bad. Happy travels!
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