Travelling with kids: the importance of planning ahead

If you are a regular reader of the blog, you may have read my article on how to put a ‘busy bag’ together and the advantages of doing this before travelling with your children. I always see planning ahead as being central to the success of any big trip with children. Here are a few reasons why.

You are less likely to leave something ‘essential’ behind

The way I plan and pack is to think through logically what we will need in any given situation. My dad taught me this when I was young and I used to compete at horse shows. He would get me to lay out all my kit on my bed as I would wear it. He learnt this from racing motorbikes in his youth. On a race day that’s how he prepared and ensured he never forgot anything.

It’s been such a valuable tool to me over the years. It’s how I prepare when the six of us go skiing as well.

So – this is the approach I use for packing. The times I have forgotten something have been when I’ve deviated from my tried and tested method because I’ve been trying to do everything a little faster than normal.

You are more prepared to cope with a range of potential situations

I’ve said it so many times – you can’t prepare for every eventuality with children BUT, you can prevent a number of situations arising and nip things in the bud early if you are well prepared.

One of the things I always pack for a trip is a torch, or small night light. I do this because we’ve had a number of situations in the past where we’ve been in hotel rooms and one of the children has thought it was too dark, but the lights in the room have made it too bright. We’ve also had lots of times late at night arriving somewhere by car when a torch or night light has proved really useful.

Little handheld torches are ideal, or equally something fun with a novelty factor like a Smiggle Hangry Heroes Night Light, which changes colour and is super cute, but also small enough to pack.

By packing things like this you are just more prepared to defuse an issue before it starts. Packing things like Calpol, Nurofen, Vicks and a thermometer, along with a basic first aid kit is also another good example. No one wants to arrive somewhere late at night with a child with a cough or fever and suddenly realise you don’t have anything to help them. Or a cut knee.

I tend to carry a basic first aid kit on days out. We’ve needed plasters and alcohol wipes on a number of occasions when someone has tripped on a walk or had a tumble. I’ve also been able to help out a number of other families, when we’ve witnessed an incident happen and they’ve not had anything with them.

As a parent, when you are prepared, you tend to be calmer, which in tern keeps everyone else calm.

You feel more relaxed

I don’t know about you but being prepared for me has the knock on effect of feeling relaxed. I’m less anxious about things because I know that I’ve covered all bases to the best of my ability and foreseen as many potential issues as I could have done.

This means I am way more relaxed on the trip. If I feel chaotic and disorganised before we leave, I tend to feel like that for the duration of the trip. Anyone else?

You can head off a meltdown

Any parent will know that children can have colossal meltdowns. Sometimes periods like holidays can make these worse, especially for children who love routine.

Knowing your children and what makes them ‘tip over’ is the best possible approach because in many cases you can anticipate what will happen before it does.

If you are on a mountain top, in the car, or even on a train, that’s not too difficult, but when you are stuck in a huge queue for passport control or waiting for baggage in a crowded area, that can be a big problem. For these occasions, I always have something I can whip out of my bag as a distraction. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, but something that will hold your child’s attention long enough to get through the situation you are in.

Maybe it’s a gadget, or a small game, maybe it’s a lollipop, maybe it’s some sort of figure toy or a blind bag even. You know your children best, so you will know what will help.

Our youngest two love little figures and things like blind bags and small cars, so I’ve used things like this in the past. They also like things like slap bands and fidget cubes. Something like the Smigglets Collectable Starter Pack is ideal as there is the added surprise of a mystery figure.

Do you have any of your own tips to share, I’d love to hear them in a comment below.

This is a collaborative article.

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