Before I took my daughter for the first time on the road I was so anxious and excited at once. I was Looking for any kind of advice or help online and I’m sure every parent goes through it.
You don’t want your child to go through Any kind of distress and let them get on the journey with as much joy as you.
That’s why I am writing this piece on my personal keys to a successful travel with children.
Well technically child. At this point I only have 1 daughter, so I guess it’s another level with several but I believe my tips are pretty much universal. No matter how many kids you have.
Where can I take my kid?
Before I answer this question I tent to ask myself more questions.
Is this a safe place in general?
Do we all have a mutual benefit when we go there? For example, will I also make plans to ensure my child is going to have fun and recreational options at our destination.
If you can answer those questions positively, then you’re good to go.
Common sense is best and don’t forget that there are children everywhere in this world.
So why can’t your child be in that specific destination too?
My child’s safety and well being goes above everything else, though. I assume that this goes without saying. This is why I also always check on the infos my country issues on the present situation in various possible destinations.
Where do I stay
In my opinion this depends somewhat on your experience as a traveler.
If you have always been fond of budget travel and backpacking, you will probably be able to handle yourself in budget accommodations but if you always stayed in hotels and resorts, try not to be too adventurous on your first trip. Be comfortable in your surroundings. This will definitely have a positive affect on your junior too.
I personally favored Aparthotels and Airbnb’s in the past, when our daughter was still a baby. That way we could always cook for her and move to another room, when she went to bed.
Now we can also add family friendly hotels to our list as she grows older and adapts more and more to our daily routine.
This depends a lot on your kid.
Short haul flights should never cause any trouble in that context. We all have trouble occasionally to get up at very early flights, babies too. But this isn't something you can recover from asap.
This is more about long haul, red eye(night) flights.
And it actually depends a lot on your kids here. Can your toddler sleep anywhere at anytime? Good. You can skip this part. Haha. For most, I believe, this answer is a 50-50 at best.
But my daughter has a real bed time routine, which helps her and us a lot in our everyday life.
So we do not want to break that up too much and stress her for no reason.
We also try not to have layovers in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. For the well being of my child’s sleep I rather invest a few more bucks right here.
For example, on our latest trip to Cape Town we could have saved some money but would have needed to make a stop in Istanbul at 3 am.
Instead we chose to invest more and have the shortest connection through Zurich and fly from 10pm - 5 am. My daughter slept almost all the way through and we were as relaxed as we could have been, starting our vacation from the moment we stepped foot on South African soil.
I mentioned this before. And it might not be a “key” to some, but to me it is a key ingredient to create a satisfying and beneficial journey as a family. A journey that will have everyone remember it with positivity all the way through.
Ask yourself, if the way you planned your trip is beneficial to every member of it.
Is there fun involved? Does my daughter get the chance to retreat and relax?
Can we as parents find time to relax and be adventurous as well?
These are the things I try to keep in mind when I put my journey into place. Doing this, the planing phase, is almost as much fun as the journey itself to me.
I personally prefer to create a temporary “home” for my daughter. What I mean by that is, stay at one particular place and then center your trips, adventures from there. This way they always come back and start from a familiar place. Allowing them to settle down and relieve every moment, without overwhelming them to much.
On my first trips with our little one, this is how I looked at it and it might change or evolve of course, as she gets older.
Now some people without children might find that this creates a lot of changes in the way you travel, and it does, but the upside is so overwhelming and worth every bit of effort.
When I see my daughter joyful playing in the sand, feeding a giraffe in Africa or when she is on the trails of her very own hero Paddington in London.
These moments, memories will last a lifetime and I am absolutely certain that these adventures you experience as a family are absolutely priceless.
In the future I will update and continue to talk about traveling with children and as a family...so stay tuned!
Now it’s up to you. What are your keys?
And possible you have totally opposite views! I would love to hear them and learn from you too!
If you read about my food tips for Cape Town click here