The Holidays are here, and for many of us that means it’s time for a little get away with the kids. Whether you’re planning on a visit to see the grandparents or a trip overseas, if you’ve got kids in tow, you’re probably going to need to do a little bit of extra preparation to make sure the journey is hassle free.
We’ve been chatting with Zena, founder of top parenting blog, Zena’s Suitcase, to get her expert advice on preparing for the holidays this Easter. The Easter holidays are very nearly upon us and I know that many of you will be planning on packing up your Trunki cases and whisking your kids off for the first big holiday of the year. The school term is done and it’s a perfect opportunity to recharge those batteries and continue to foster a love for travelling in your family.
When I was a child, one of the most exciting events in my year was going on holiday. I used to brim with excitement as we got closer to the day we would be going away. The night before any trip I would hardly sleep and somehow I still managed to be full of energy when the day finally arrived for us to leave. Oh the joys of being 5 years old!
It is this excitement for travel I am keen to foster in my own children and if you are reading this, I hope you are too.
My 4 year old daughter and I recently travelled to Fuengirola together for a short break and it was lovely to see her get excited about our pending trip. Of course, you don’t have to travel abroad to get children excited about travelling. In fact, all of my holidays as a child where on the North East coast or in the beautiful countryside of the West Midlands and Welsh Borders. It doesn’t matter where you go to, travelling should always be an amazing experience.
Where ever you are heading off to this Easter, here are some tips to get your children prepared for travelling and excited about their holiday. By using these tactics I’ve found that my children get the most out of their holiday and know what they are going to expect when they are travelling, which is going to save you a few choruses of ‘are we nearly there yet?’
Talk About Where You are Going:
When we were preparing for our recent trip to Spain as Mum and Daughter, I picked a few interesting things about the culture and the destination to share with her. As she is still quite young the concept of different cultures and places is still fairly new to her.
A child friendly travel book can be really helpful for this. We have an atlas that I use that talks about the different languages, food and dress that you might experience in different countries. The weather can be a great talking point too if it’s going to be a different climate to that in the UK. When you are going on holiday in the UK there are still cultural differences that you can discuss with your children. Accents vary a lot across this country and there are foods that are famous in particular counties like Cornish Pasties for example.
Get Them Involved In What To Pack:
A great way to get them thinking about their holiday is to get them packing their own suitcase. Depending on age this has varying degrees of success but it’s still a really fun travel game to play. My daughter and I had great fun thinking about what she would pack if she was travelling to a city like New York. This was a perfect game for her Tony The Taxi Trunki.
I was travelling to New York with her older brother, but I really wanted to make her feel apart of the trip so we played this game thinking about what you would need on a city break. You’d be surprised how many toys you need to take to the Statue Of Liberty! Getting your child involved in what they want to take for any trip though is a fun thing to do and helps them think about the kind of activities they will want to enjoy while they are away. Some children aren’t as outgoing about new experiences as others and this is a great way to ease them into what to expect.
Discuss How You Are Getting There:
When we are getting ready to go on holiday I always discuss how we are going to be making the journey. It might be a conversation I come back to a lot, especially while we are making the trip.
I think it’s also important if you are going to be making an early start. Children can get quite disorientated when they are woken up early and they need to be prepared that it is going to happen. When we travelled to Fuengirola we left the house at 5.30am. At bedtime I explained we would get her up and put her in the car and that wearing her once to the airport was perfectly OK.
Make Sure You Have a Toy Or Activity Bag:
Whether I am travelling with my teen or my daughters, I make sure they have a bag with the things that are going to keep them entertained for the trip and during the holiday. We all have one don’t we? For you and I it might be the bag we make sure has a book or magazine in and our phone or tablet. For my teen it contained past exam papers he needed to do and his tablet. My daughters fill their Paddlepaks to the brim with toys, teddies and magazines. We have a magazine that is about a hotel and it has some lovely travel related activities in it. When we flew to Fuengirola we spent the whole trip doing stickers, making drawings and playing games from the magazine.
I love travelling for the way it allows me to focus a 100% of my attention on my children without any of the usual distractions I have at home. Travelling by train is one of my favourite things to do with my daughter as we both get so much out of this time together. Before we know it we’ve arrived where we need to be and there were no issues relating to boredom or frustration along the way, for either of us!