Although the long school holidays have just finished, we’re already trying to plan our next one. This time we want to go on big family holiday overseas – crazy, right?! I have anxiety just thinking about it – but you do only live once and dealing with the crazy kiddie chaos is all a part of the fun (said no one ever). As a little girl my grandparents lived in America and I was lucky enough to go on a big tour around the country, so I want to (block out the TRUMP drama) and book a campervan and take our family to see all the amazing spots and cities that I got to see as a young girl. To help with the planning and process of a holiday we’ve put together a list of our Tips For Travelling With Kids.
Take your time
The greatest thing you can take – whether at the airport, sightseeing or getting from A to B – is extra time. Kids love to explore and don’t care about the time pressures of travel so you’re more likely to keep your cool if you factor in the million stops, stalling, toilet break, snack times and tantrums into your timeframe.
Whether you’re camping or staying in hotels, it pays to book ahead. Spontaneity doesn’t really work when it comes to the key things like accommodation, especially when you have kiddies. There is nothing worse than arriving at your destination to find you can’t get a room or camp pitch and have to hit the road again with tired, hungry kids melting down in the backseat.
Make the most of the memories
Get your kids to keep a travel journal, drawing and listing things they’ve seen and interesting foods they’ve tried. Who knows, this might also encourage them to try more new things along the way. You could even give them their own (robust, child-friendly) camera which encourages them to observe their surroundings and focus on what interests them. You might be surprised at the results from their knee-high view. Amongst pictures of feet and flowers, our kiddies have shot great pics of the native scenery, seashells, animals and cow poo lol.
Although the main idea of travelling is for the kiddies to soak in all the experiences and things that are happening around them, sometimes you need something to distract the kiddies to give you a lil’ quiet time to plan what’s happening during the trip. Thanks to kid-friendly apps, there’s no need to cram a toybox into your hand luggage when travelling. By all means take a toy and a colouring-in book, but the most compact form of entertainment is a device loaded with apps and games.
Use public transport
Most kids love the novelty of travelling by train, bus and boat, so ditch the rental car and use public transport where possible. When we were last in Sydney we caught the train lots and our kids would repeat the names of the metro stops as they were announced, which taught them a little bit more about the city and made them even more excited about boarding the train each day.
A large chunk of your budget goes on food – and every extra mouth makes it more expensive! We all know that eating at restaurants is part of the magic of a family holiday, but dining out for three meals a day can quickly add up. As a compromise, why not eat out for one meal a day, then rely on grocery store food and simple picnics for the other meals? If you have room in the car, bring a cooler and keep it packed with your favourite foods (easy snack-size things that require minimal prep and food that will last a few days). It’s also wise to pick accommodation that has a basic kitchen with a mini fridge so that you can prep and store food each day.
Every air traveller knows to pack smart to avoid those extra baggage fees. But even road tripping families can benefit from packing strategically. If you are making stops along the way, rather than dragging everyone’s bags out of the car and repacking it each time, look at packing a smaller bag just with what your family needs for that night. This will help cut down on time and the amount of crap everyone pulls out and leaves lying around. Bags with a zip off or multi-size compartments work well, so if you do end up purchasing a few things along the way, it is versatile enough to fit them, or you can resize it for day trips.
There is nothing worse than arriving somewhere and your bag has either ended up on another flight, been stolen, or gone MIA. So travel insurance is a must if you value your time, money and sanity. Especially when it comes to car rentals it’s also a good idea to get insurance cover (if it is not too expensive) – think about it, you are driving an unfamiliar car in unfamiliar surroundings, the chance of having an accident is much higher. It’s a small precaution to have in place to save you the stress and give you peace of mind that everything is covered while away on holiday.
Be wise with your budget
Set yourself a budget for the whole trip and break it down for each day. When purchasing flights look at booking in the off-peak season; even changing the dates to travel on a weekday instead of a weekend can decrease prices. When booking events and activities look on sites like Groupon to get a full group discount and where possible, search what’s happening locally – you might find some free community events to visit. Every little thing adds up so the more you can do to plan and save is a win for you.
Make it possible
Sometimes our holiday dreams get held back by our bank balance but that doesn’t need to be the case. Flight Centre just made travelling more possible with the Flight Centre MasterCard®. It has the best bits of a credit card, a long-term finance card and a rewards card, all in one. You can use it for everyday shopping anywhere in the world where MasterCard is accepted. The best part is, that you will earn Flight Centre Rewards on any purchase. And then you can redeem your rewards on any purchases at Flight Centre in New Zealand – on any airline, any tour, any sightseeing, any hotel, any cruise or any car hire! Plus you can book your holiday and pay later, with some Long Term Finance options as well. For more info click here.
We hope you find these tips useful for your next family holiday. At the end of the day the main thing is to slow down, enjoy your experience and make many lasting memories with the ones you love.
To help your family travel easier we’ve got an awesome family Luggage pack to give away from Voyager that includes a three luggage bag bundle (size S,M,L) from the Rome Series (like the bags in our picture above) worth $750.00. For more information about the specifications of the bags click here.
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Safe travels and Sayonara
Thanks to Flight Centre for collaborating with us on this blog.