'Getting there is half the fun' – right? They say this saying became obsolete with the advent of commercial airlines. Many parents believe 'children' fall into the same category. I don't.
I have a young daughter and because I work in travel I was often hearing 'I bet it must be hard not being able to travel anymore'. Actually, no, we never stopped. My 11 month-old has explored New Zealand, the US and is about to tick off her third and fourth continent with a trip to Europe via Asia.
Here are some of my travel tips which I think will work for families with kids of any age.
- Let others take care of the details. That way all you'll have to worry about is enjoying yourself!
- Choose a flight in the late morning/early afternoon. Those midnight flights were great when you were travelling solo – you could just board, eat a 'meal' (allegedly), and then fall asleep watching a film. A late morning/early afternoon flight means you will be facing it after a good night's rest, so even if you don't get a wink of sleep, at least it won't be an exercise in sleep-depravation.
- Break it up. We're flying to Europe via Singapore – stopping for 24 hours, not to sight-see, to relax in a hotel near the airport, one with a shuttle service.
- Arrive early and stay put. I'd recommend at least 24 hours before Day 1 of the tour. It will give you and your family the chance to start adjusting to the time difference before you hit the road. They say you should sleep when the locals sleep. I however have found that sleeping whenever you feel like it, and for as long as you want, in the first 24-48 hours after arrival makes getting over jet-lag much easier. Choose a hotel with facilities that will entertain the kids, stay put, and just go with the flow.
- Give your child a camera. I've heard from fellow mums that their kids find creating their own visual diary of their journey really fun. Seems to keep their interest levels up for longer while sightseeing.
- It's your holiday too! Finding a balance between activities adults enjoy and ones designed for kids is important. Ensure the whole family gets something out of the holiday, including yourself.