This week Hannah from Mini First Aid Wirral brings us her pearls of wisdom on travelling with children!
When I was a child the majority of our holidays were spent camping in North Wales, there were 4 of us kids so I think money was always a bit tight. Not that I’m complaining, I have very fond memories of my childhood holidays, we always had such good fun. These days I think it is definitely more the norm for families to go abroad and us Dodd’s are no exception. My eldest son is 10, and in those short 10 years he has been to Florida 5 times, Spain 3 times, New York and Crete (his first holiday abroad at the tender age of 10 weeks!). As a family our annual holiday is something we really look forward to, my husband and I both work long hours and quite often opposite shifts, so having quality family time together is vital for us.
Now I’m no expert on travelling with children by any means but I have picked up a few hints and tips along the way which I would like to share in the hope that I can ease your travelling anxieties.
Make sure the passports are in date
Sorry for stating the obvious but even the most organised of us, and I mean me, may at some point overlook these things! 2 years ago we did just that with our daughter's passport. Cue panicked appointment making, filling in and verifying of paperwork, the nightmare that is having passport photos taken (!) and the extortionate cost of an express passport service. Thankfully the passport arrived with a few days to spare; the delivery guy obviously thought I’d gone mad as I told him that I loved him when he arrived with the sacred passport! Just check, and then double check, just to be sure.
We are all familiar with the liquid restrictions when travelling through customs - even if the milk is in sealed cartons they will still make you open them. When we first flew to Florida with Harry, I phoned the Boots store that was airside in Manchester airport, checked they stocked the formula I needed and then asked them to put some aside for me. Easy peasy!
Snacks, snacks and more snacks!
Now I don’t mind plane food, I always get the vegetarian option and it’s usually edible. My children however are another matter; they don’t always like what is presented to them so I always have snacks, lots of snacks with me. Apart from easing their hunger, it also helps to fill in some boredom gaps, just go easy on the sugar is all I will say, I don’t think you would be very popular with other passengers if your children are swinging from the overhead lockers!
My children no longer require nappies but when we travel I still carry nappy sacks with me. Apart from the obvious use, they are fantastic to collect rubbish in when on a plane or in a car. When I had children I decided that I would not be one of those families that left a trail of destruction behind them when travelling, so I collect all the rubbish together as we go along. Plus they also make useful sick bags!
What a fabulous invention these were. I always have packets of these with me, great for wiping down the kids, clothes and surfaces - in fact if it’s not moving it gets wiped!!
First aid kit
Of course I’m going to say that having a first aid is an essential but it really is. Throw one in a bag - you might not use it but at least it's there if you do need it, plus if it’s a handy sized one you can take it with you on days out. Just remember that any medications you take on a plane have to be under 100mls, I always pack the larger bottles of Calpol in my main suitcase and carry the small sachets on the plane to save the hassle. Even if we’re travelling in the UK, I still make sure I have any medications with me that I may require for my kids; it just saves having to find a chemist at what will probably be the most inconvenient time! Of course all children are different but I always ensure we have travel sickness pills with us too as I have 2 children that are prone to going a bit green on long journeys!
Change of clothes
Having a change of clothes is always a good idea and not just for the children. I learnt this the hard way when my daughter vomited all over me at the end of a flight to Florida; it was even in my hair! I had to walk through customs and travel to the villa with the whiff of ‘eau de vomit’ following me, not pleasant.
Hands up if you like ‘Home Bargains’ or ‘B&M’?! Stores like these are fabulous for getting cheap new toys and activities for the kids to do on a long journey. The key is to not let them have them until you are on your way, its all new stuff to them and they’ll be thrilled, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune either.
I have definitely relaxed when it comes to travelling with my kids, I used to feel my anxiety shoot through the roof at the thought of a long journey, especially on a plane. I would worry about the baby crying, the kids making too much noise, what would the other passengers think of me? Then I realised it doesn’t matter what other people think of me, I'll probably never see them again and anyway, if anyone thinks they can do a better job then me, then they are very welcome to give it a go!!