After experiencing the biggest travel high after not being able to travel for the last few years, I’ve come to realise just how wonderful it is for the girls to be able to get out of their usual routines and environment to experience something totally new. We spent some time in London, Paris and Italy and it was wonderful for the soul but also for our family in general. The girls had an absolute ball while we were away and it brought Luke and I so much joy to see them having a great time. That said I’ve also realised (much to my delight!) that the girls are now at a really good age to travel. We no longer have to worry about prams, cots, bottles, nappies and lugging half our house around with us so it makes a HUGE difference, particular when you’re dealing with long haul flights and constantly changing time zones. (If you are still in that stage check out this travel post I did when the girls were younger.) That said, the girls are still kids so there were a few things that we found really helpful on our trip to keep everything on track. Sharing some of my tried and tested tips for travelling with kids in case you’re embarking on a holiday with little ones in tow…
Choose your flight times wisely
I purposely chose flight times that were neither too early or too late. There’s nothing worse than trying to rush out at the crack of dawn while trying to corral two children, the same goes for flying way too late and ending up with extremely irritable kids. We made sure to fly at the friendliest hours we could so we got the girls at their most perkiest selves.
Pre-kids me probably would’ve just hopped into a cab or an Uber as it was easy. I’ve found it’s not so easy now with two kids in tow so I made sure to have transfers to our accomodation locked in ahead of time so there was no waiting around at airports. Also when everyone’s tired and over it, you’ll be so glad there’s a car ready and waiting to whisk you away to where you’re staying.
Do your research
We did tours that were specifically recommended for kids. I think there’s a big difference when a tour is accomodating of kids as generally it’s much more upbeat and energetic to keep little ones interested. I think the girls would have lost interest very quickly if we ended up going on something that was geared towards adults.
Choose accomodation with child-friendly amenities
When staying in big cities, I would try and book a hotel with a pool. That way we could do the sights in the morning and then we could retreat to the hotel pool to escape the heat in the afternoon and also allow for some relaxation time. It ended up getting quite hot in some of the cities we were in so this was a very welcome reprieve, and then we would go out for dinner afterwards.
As any parent will attest, eating out sans kids is a vastly different proposition to eating out with kids so my biggest tip is to sort out restaurant reservations in advance. It’s nice strolling around and choosing restaurants on a whim but when you’re dealing with hungry kids, it’s best to have a destination in mind and a guaranteed table once you get there. We researched in advance and chose family friendly restaurants so we could all have a relaxed time and not have to worry about keeping the kids quiet because we were at a white tablecloth/deathly silence kind of fine dining establishment.
Come prepared with entertainment
I made sure to stock my bag with lots of colouring and activity books to keep the girls entertained at restaurants. It helped to occupy them while we were waiting for food, and helped us avoid screen time at the dinner table.
Document the trip
It’s not a logistical or an organisation tip but one of the best things we did on our trip was have the girls keep a journal while they were away. They loved finding things to put in their journal and writing about their day. I know it’s something that will be looked back on fondly and will be treasured forever.