Travelling with a Family
Travelling with children can be tough but there are many ways to reduce the stress and worry involved. Before your travels there are various factors to consider; research your destination and your chosen travel method. Consider what essential items you will need with you and what you would do in the case of an emergency.
Plan the journey in your mind and make sure you are prepared for every eventuality; for example, what would you do if your train/plane/ferry was delayed for several hours? When it comes to travelling with children it is far better to be over prepared than under-prepared.
A handy tip for keeping children entertained in any situation is to play word association games
A handy tip for keeping children entertained in any situation is to play word association games, there are hundreds of them and they tend to keep kids happy for a long time (you can search the internet for inspiration). If you are planning to travel during term-time make sure you inform your child’s school and ensure you have official approval before booking anything. Each school will have its own policy on absence and the penalties can include fines or prosecution. Another thing to be aware of is that children’s passports are only valid for 5 years so make sure you check the date well in advance of your travels, giving you time to apply for a new one if necessary.
Travelling with children can be a daunting prospect, especially in unfamiliar surroundings. After several years of holidaying with friends and family I recently decided it was time to take my daughter abroad on my own. This was a new experience for the both of us and while I was excited I was equally terrified.
When travelling with children it can be the small things that make the biggest difference; it’s useful to keep certain things handy such as plasters, calpol and tissues. It’s also useful to carry drinks and snacks, activities (colouring books, card games etc.), any medication needed (such as travel sickness tablets) and a change of clothes. I used a rucksack to keep items accessible whilst keeping my hands free to hold on to my suitcase and my daughter! Forward planning of the small things and being organised will stop you from panicking leaving you free to relax, take in the scenery and enjoy your travels.
As well as keeping luggage safe you need to look after your valuables such as cash and passports. I invested in a money belt for my week in Disneyland and I would highly recommend it. The money belt kept valuables safe and hidden but I wouldn’t advise carrying large amounts of money as it can still be lost or stolen. An option worth considering is the use of a travel money card; many travel agents, banks and post offices offer this facility. It can be used like a credit card but without the borrowing, just add a balance to the card (this can be done at the place of purchase or online) then it can be used at over 30 million cash machines worldwide. This prevents charges that may be incurred as a result of using bank or credit cards as well as keeping your cash safe. Some companies will charge for using this product so it is wise to do your research before choosing one; comparison websites are handy for this.
Tips for safe family travel
Research your location before you arrive, it can be handy to know where to find local transport, medical services and food supplies.
Choose a safe place to meet your child should they get lost. Places like Disneyland get extremely busy; a landmark such as the Disney castle is a good meeting place due to its size and central location. Make sure the child knows who to ask for help and where it is safe to wait i.e. asking members of staff or police officers, it’s important that they know not to be led away by strangers.
Do your research about where you are staying; the hotel we stayed in was a short scenic walk from the Disney parks, it was handy to know that a free shuttle service ran between the park and hotel every 10 minutes. This was especially useful in the evenings from the safety aspect of not wanting to walk in a secluded areas after dark.
Be careful what you post on social media sites, keep your home & belongings safe whilst you travel, don’t let thieves know when your home will be empty or of your exact location whilst travelling. If you are using Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family be aware of who can see your posts and use the privacy settings to limit the audience.
Make the most of your destination and enjoy what is available to you. Disneyland provides many shows and parades that are all included in the cost of the park tickets. Make the most of your trip and see all the sights that you can! Some opportunities only come around once in a lifetime.
The main thing I learnt from my experience is that planning is key to a successful trip, being organised when travelling with kids ensures everyone has an enjoyable experience. The greatest thing about our trip was the sense of accomplishment I gained; knowing that travelling isn’t as scary as it might seem and the adventure is usually worth it!
Written by Sarah Carmichael