We have recently returned from an amazing week away near Palm Cove with our dear friends and their children and I thought I would share six lessons I have learnt when travelling somewhere warm with little ones.
- Be smart when packing food and drink. In the past I’ve packed too much food with bulky lunchboxes or multiple containers filled with a variety of fruit, pretzels and even sandwiches. While that might work well when driving, I would recommend a ‘less is more’ approach if going on a plane. Something to chew on the ascent and descent for achey ears, some pre-packaged snacks and definitely drink bottles for all but keep it simple and tidier with non-mushy or liquidy foods if you can help it. The airline we flew with provided free lunch but for other airlines I would still encourage you to buy food on a needs basis, much easier than rifling through bags and dropping food all over the floor as you pass it around.
- Pack jumpers and long pants. Even though it is super warm during the day, the nights can be cooler and there may be mosquitos or other insects about so it’s worth packing at least one pair of long pants and one comfy jumper for each person. That said, my boys didn’t wear long pants or jumpers for the entire time they were in Queensland. I was very surprised that I got cold myself though, and needed to put my jumper on a few times. (I know – first world problems!!).
- Keep travel activities simple. I’ve done the backpack for each child and bags of tricks (little prizes, new books, games and the like) before and to be honest those times I ended up carrying everything myself and sifting through so much stuff. It all got a bit too much. This time only my husband and I had backpacks. We had an IPad or IPod for each older child and didn’t hear a peep out of them for the first couple of hours. Then they moved onto the one colouring book we had packed for them. A had a couple of favourite books to read aloud to the kids (a picture book for the youngest and a novel for the older kids) and the rest of the time was filled with good old-fashioned eye spy and chatting. Some movies for your final destination is handy for some downtime, and really should be guilt-free as the kids will most likely be doing outdoor activities for the majority of your stay in the warmer climate.
- Pack heavy for all things beachy. Whether you stay in a holiday house or hotel, it is always a good idea to bring a couple of beach towels in case none are provided. They can also double as blankets or be used as picnic rugs or for other uses. Don’t forget a couple of hats (and bathers) if you can for each person, as with little ones these tend to go missing, and if you can avoid putting on wet bathers that is always a win. Rashies are almost a standard in our warm Australian weather, so don’t forget to pack those, and a large bag for all your beach gear wouldn’t go astray either.
- First Aid kits never hurt. This time I forgot to bring both the insect repellent and bandaids. Then we had to buy antiseptic cream for the child covered in mosquito bites, so lesson learnt. A small bottle of Panadol for the kids and capsules for the parents is also a handy addition if you have room. We did remember the jumbo sized sunscreen which was very well used and no one got burnt!
- Don’t forget quick clean-upperers. My last two suggestions aren’t very eco-friendly but are just so handy when travelling with kids especially, and they are: plastic bags and wet wipes. If you’re still living with nappies, they can save your life from unwanted smells, especially if unluckily, you need to deal with this on a plane. However, I’m sure if you’re in need, the flight attendants will provide you with a bag. In warmer places, they are great if you need to bag up any wet bathers and towels; for separating washing from unworn clothes in your luggage; and keeping water bottles from spills in a backpack with other items. Wet wipes, likewise, will save your life if your child is about to spit out something they don’t like in the plane, if you have a stain on your clothes you want to clear up without having to wash it entirely, or if you are out and have sticky ice-creams face to clean up.
I know most of these lessons are just plain common sense, but when my mummy brain is juggling a million things, sometimes little reminders like these can help the important things from slipping through the cracks. Happy holidaying all!