Going on a long-haul holiday for the first-time with young children can be a scary thought. As parents in charge of little ones, there are so many different things to remember.
With all the planning that is necessary, it is easy for new parents to ditch the idea completely, but that means giving up a dream family holiday.
So, before you give up on a break with the kids, we have shared some tips that will help make your trip a stress free one.
At the airport
One of the most intimidating parts of going on holiday with young children can be right at the start of your trip; the airport.
However, this can be made easy with some of the following tips.
– Do your homework and see what family-friendly things there are to do at the airport. Most airports have kids’ zones with play areas or TVs.
– Swat up on where the baby changing facilities are, pre-order baby milk from Boots and take your pushchair to the gate early to be packed on board. Planning in advance will make everything run smoother.
– Give yourself plenty of time as the last thing you want to be doing is rushing to the terminal.
– Check if your airline offers a special service for kids. This could include free snacks, priority check in and boarding or free seat selection on board.
– Depending on how old your child is, giving them their own hand luggage can create more space for snacks and toys and help keep them happy. The Trunki suitcases are a great idea as they are easy to pull for children and can double up as a seat or buggy.
– Buy lots of little cheap toys you know your child will play with as these will keep them entertained while waiting for the plane. Something new will hold their attention, and by being cheap, you don’t need to worry about them being lost or broken.
Hire a car
If you are planning to travel around during your break, then you can avoid the nuisance that public transport can sometimes bring by hiring a car.
Using a car rental service in Canada, for example, means you can come and go as you please. If the kids are having a blast you can stay longer, or you can take tired little ones back to the hotel early without being restricted by bus and train times. You can stop as many or as few times as you want in a journey, which can be great for longer driving distances. It also means you don’t have to make your little ones walk too far when getting to attractions.
If you are worried about keeping your children amused during a long car journey, here are some ways to keep your kids happy:
– Travel games – pocket-sized sets of connect four, chess or battleship – or games on the iPad – will help keep your children amused.
– Activity books – drawing books, puzzles and colouring books will all while away the hours.
– Frequent stops – stopping at a number of attractions along the way will keep your children interested, whilst giving you a bit of fresh air in the process.
– Audio books – these amazing books will help get your kids caught up in a world of their own.
– Snacks – nutritious foods like raisins or apples will help keep little tummies full, avoiding energy dips and frustration.
– Car seat – although car rental companies offer car seats for hire, you can take a car seat on the plane free of charge if you are travelling with an infant. Taking one with you can save money and also reduce the stress of trying to use an unfamiliar car seat.
When it comes to choosing accommodation for your trip away, then interconnecting rooms would be highly recommended.
Interconnecting rooms are perfect for large families or for groups that have young and older children. By day they can open up to become a large living space and by night, everyone gets the chance to enjoy a bit of privacy.
When picking somewhere to stay it is certainly worth checking the reviews of the place you will be staying, as well as researching what amenities they have for children.
Depending on what type of holiday you are going on, it is worth checking to see if the place you are staying has a children’s club.
While a family holiday is all about spending time together, sometimes it is nice to choose a hotel that runs a kids club.
This will not only give you and your partner some alone time (and some peace and quiet), but will also entertain your child and give them the chance to make new friends. A lot of places have clubs for older children as well.
Recommended kids clubs in Canada
One that is well-known is the Fairmont Chateau kids club in Whistler, which offers weeklong kids’ camps throughout the ski season. At its Blackcomb Base children are assigned to one of three age groups and have the same ski instructor all week. The ski resort also has a three-days-a-week RU Ready programme to help improve kids’ agility, balance and hand-eye coordination.
Fern Resort, located just outside of Toronto in Manitoba, offers a year-round kids’ club. The resort has a Playvillage where children can drive around on battery-powered mini-jeeps, ride the Honey Bee Express hay wagon, flop in the ball pit, ride ponies and jump on trampolines. Older children can enjoy fishing, rock and rope climbing as well.
Be prepared for the climate
A country like Canada has a varying climate, with some regions much colder than others.
Therefore it is vital that you check what the weather will be like before you start travelling, as children dressed comfortably for the weather and terrain will be happy.
If you are going on a skiing trip in Canada then it is important that you have packed warm clothes that fit your child.
If you are heading to a beach where you might encounter sea urchins, it is wise to pack some surf shoes or sandals that they can wear on the beach and in the sea.
Another essential is a handy pack of medical supplies for you and your children. This bag could include insect repellent, sun cream, hand sanitizer, plasters and medicine that could come in handy.
Encourage your child to keep a travel journal
If your child is old enough to read and write then get them to start a travel journal so they can document where they have been and when.
Giving them a camera is a great idea, as they can then add the photos they have taken on holiday to their journal when they get home.