Kiwi Summer Zone

Travel with children: be prepared

Preparing to travel with children


While you’re actually travelling, consider taking:
  • The favourite bear or blanket. The one thing your small child will need most when she’s in unfamiliar surroundings and overtired is her favourite comfort item. Most parents who travel a lot will count leaving this one item at home a bigger tragedy than a lost suitcase.
  • Entertainment. There’s nothing more tiring than being stuck on a 15 hour flight or a 12 hour drive with bored kids. Always take more than you’ll think you need. Older children can generally entertain themselves with books and digital games – as long as they don’t suffer from travel sickness. Younger children are more challenging. Try colouring-in and story books, stickers, games, fuzzy felt, paper dolls, and small cars and trains – anything that is light and small, and that you won’t despair over when it gets lost under the seat. Perhaps try buying a couple of new toys and wrapping them individually so you can dole them out along the way when boredom peaks.
  • Medication. Packing this in the suitcase and rather than the hand luggage can either be a pain or a disaster of epic proportions, depending on how far and where you’re travelling to. Think through every possible travel scenario (being delayed in transit at midnight, for instance) and pack accordingly.
  • Nappies/ wipes/ tissues. OK, so leaving the favourite bear at home is a disaster but nothing beats running out of nappies. When counting up how many nappies you’ll need, imagine a sudden onset of unexplained diarrhoea and then pack accordingly. Ditto for wipes, tissues etc.
  • Clothing. Pack spares for everyone – including you. Being stuck in clothes that were vomited on 14 hours earlier is pretty depressing. And if you’re travelling with a baby or toddler, pack spares to replace the spares! Also consider if you’ll need warm clothes when you arrive.
  • Food. While all of the above are actually more important, it is food – or the absence of - which will probably be the most important to your child. A hungry child makes for an unhappy child. Before you leave home check if and what you’ll be served along the way. If you have a fussy eater or a very young child, you’ll be best off being prepared to provide all your own food. If you’re driving to your destination, pack lots of snacks and take small breaks from the car to eat. Avoid relying on buying food along the way – you’ll end up being hungry in the middle of nowhere, or having to buy food that you really don’t want to eat.

Common Sense Advice. Share your experiences, tips and advice on the Kidspot Forum.

This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot. Sources include NSW Health.