Top tips for travelling with Kids

Snapshot: Sound planning can make all the difference to a family holiday.
Snapshot: Sound planning can make all the difference to a family holiday. Photo: Getty Images

Deborah Dickson-Smith of family travel website Littlenomads.com provides her top 10 tips for travelling with the tribe.

Decide what kind of holiday you want with your kids. Do you want to laze by the pool with a big fat crime novel while your kids go wild at the kids' club? Or do you want to play with your kids and explore your chosen destination with them? Perhaps you'd like a combination of the two?

2. AIRLINE

Choose your airline carefully - find out about the in-flight entertainment and any services provided for kids. Check whether your airline offers premium economy seating. For a little bit extra, you can get bigger seats, more space in front, priority check-in and, sometimes, use of the airport lounge.

3. PACKING

You really will not need as much as you think on holiday, so pack, take a break and then go back and remove a few items. If you don't want to take nappy supplies for the entire length of your stay, then find out in advance if there's somewhere nearby you can buy them.

4. AIRPORTS

Remember how much longer it takes you to achieve anything with kids in tow and apply the same formula to travel plans. Smile sweetly and helplessly at everyone and you may get help jumping queues. Ask if your flight is full when checking in. Some assistants will offer you the option of sitting next to a vacant seat.

5. IN-FLIGHT

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Give all the kids a backpack with a change of clothes, (healthy) snacks, iPods, Nintendo DS and a book or two. Don't pack any games with small parts and especially not Lego or jigsaws. Give younger kids colouring-in books and older kids journals. It doesn't matter if the journal is ignored once you get to your destination - it's served its purpose on the plane.

6. HOTEL ROOMS

Check that the hotel offers suites or adjoining rooms and what deals it offers for families. Sharing a standard hotel room with two kids is doable but not really enjoyable - especially for a week. To test out your level of endurance, get the family to camp out in the living room for a night and see how much you enjoy it.

7. FOOD

Especially if travelling with a baby or toddler, pack all his/her favourite foods and don't rely on the airline, because what they serve up may not be to your baby's liking. Always ask for food/bottles to be heated up well in advance of when you need them because cabin crew don't have access to a microwave and will need to use hot water to heat.

8. COOKING

It's best to choose a hotel room with a kitchenette, or at least a microwave, so you can prepare meals for the kids in your room and avoid eating out every day. It's not just a matter of budget, the kids won't want a full meal three times a day so it's useful to be able to make them a sandwich.

9. NAPPIES

Aeroplane bathrooms are small, so you need to be prepared before entering with a squirmy baby. Pack a small bag with one nappy, travel pack of wipes, a nappy sack and rash cream and store it in the pocket in front of you.

10. SLEEP

If you're anything like me, sleep on a plane is only possible if you're travelling alone in first class. With sedatives. So let's be realistic. Get plenty of sleep before you leave so you at least start out refreshed. Ensure your kids do the same.