For many parents, making a long trip with small children is a dream. Discovering the world together, experiencing other cultures, exploring nature and playing on white sandy beaches. As soon as you have decided to make that dream come true, the question arises: how do you tackle that?
Select the destination consciously
The preparation starts with selecting the destination. Choose a destination that you think is suitable for going with your children. You can base your choice on the climate, the political situation in the country, the necessary vaccinations (note malaria), hygiene, medical assistance, the duration of the flight, the price and the activities and sights.
Book a practical flight
Preferably book a direct flight where you choose flight times that suit your children. Also, take into account the departure and arrival times and the time difference. If there is no direct flight, take a good look at the transfer time. Make sure there is more than enough time so that you do not get stressed yourself when transferring. But do not opt for a transfer that lasts longer than 4 hours.
Is your child still a baby and does it weigh less than 10 kg? Then it is possible with most airlines to request a bassinet (check the conditions of the airline). This is a cradle that is attached to the wall. This way your baby can sleep while lying down during the flight.
Plan a calm travel program
With children, it is practically impossible to cover enormous distances or do multiple activities on one day. Therefore adjust the travel pace to the rhythm of your children. Accept that the travel pace is lower than you would like. Travel time of up to 4 hours per day is a good guideline.
How can and do you want to travel? Do you rent a car or perhaps a camper, can you travel by train or will you travel adventurously with public transport and taxis?
In any case, do not change the location and accommodation daily. It is too restless for children to sleep in a different bed every day. Make a list of sights and activities that you want to do. Try to visit this as much as possible from one fixed location. Are you, for instance, looking for things to do in Tenerife, you might find that there is plenty to do specifically for kids and most are within reach wherever you are staying.
Make sure that every day there is a possibility for the children to play freely and that there is an opportunity for sleep. For example, go and do an activity in the morning and relax in the afternoon.
Involve the children in the preparation
Involve the children in the preparation of the trip. Show videos and photos of the destination and tell what you are going to do. Perhaps there is a nice booklet about the destination from which you can read. What language is spoken and what do they eat there?
Count down with a countdown calendar and pack the travel bag together. Ask what they need when traveling. And let them choose which toys to go with. Their own backpack with books, paper, and colored pencils, the favorite hug or doll and some tasty snacks always work well.
Take as little as possible with you
You can find various packing lists and checklists online for making a long journey with children. That way you won’t forget to arrange or take anything with you.
Keep the following in mind while packing: the less you have with you the easier it is to travel. Even children don’t need much. If you need something that you do not have with you, you can still buy it on the spot. You make the locals happy with that.
So take only the most important things with you. Put everything you want to take with you on your bed so that you have an overview. Then choose what is and is not essential to take with you.
Relax and enjoy
Small children are sensitive to the mood of their parents. If you are stressed on a trip and have a short fuse, then your children will feel it and they will respond to it in their own way. So be alert to this.
Make it easy on yourself by properly preparing everything and accept that things can sometimes turn out differently. Let it go, relax and enjoy.