A guide to fuss-free family fun when travelling
With the year-end school holidays fast here, many families are already planning for that big annual trip. Leave schedules, flight tickets, hotel bookings – the list of stress-inducing factors is endless.
Yet, family travels need not always be about wailing toddlers, bored teenagers and flustered parents.
Whether your family trips belong to the former or latter definition depends on the amount of planning you put in the lead up to it.
Zoe, a new mom who works at Hotels.com, has some tips for new families looking for some fuss-free family fun:
Do thorough research ahead of the trip to minimise any unwanted stress –
- Ensure that you are aware of the closest hospital and the quickest route to get there from your hotel
- Keep the contact details of your insurance provider on hand
- Have a clear idea of your preferred transportation methods and routes at each destination
- Look into the types of baby changing facilities that are available at the places you are visiting
- Find out if there are any unique activities you can partake in with your child. A great example would be the The Mandarin Barber at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. They offer ‘Baby’s First Haircut’ service which includes a certificate signed by their barber with a lock of hair placed in a frame. In fact, most hotels and airlines have special programmes in place for babies and young children on their first travel experience. All you have to do is ask!
- Plan, plan, plan
There is no ‘i’ in plan but there is one in pain.
Planning will give you a peace of mind as you embark on a holiday with all your little ones in tow.
When planning your travel itinerary, ensure that it is in line with your child’s regular feeding and resting schedule. If your child’s usual nap time is in the morning, try to arrange the key activity (e.g. zoo visit) for the afternoon.
Make the planning process a family activity. Get everyone involved from the get-go. Come up with the destinations to visit, places to explore and things to do together so you can ensure that everyone has something to look forward to during the trip. That way you can ensure that both you and your young ones have an amazing time.
Take advantage of travel apps for instant intelligence into weather, hotel reviews, road traffic, maps and taxi service to make your trip easier.
That being said, do remember that travelling with kids is filled with precious moments and the last thing you want is to be distracted by electronic devices!
- Pack early, pack smart
Take some time to review the items you are bringing along to see if they are travel-friendly.
Is the stroller light enough? Would a backpack-style nappy bag be better suited for travel? These are some questions that might help you determine the items you should be bringing along for your trip.
It’s always a good idea to also check in with your hotel on the available facilities. If the hotel is offering amenities such as potties and sterilisers, you can save a lot on luggage space! One such hotel would be the Four Seasons Hotel Macao at Cotai Strip, which has a long list of family-friendly services.
If you plan to get some heavy-duty baby shopping done during your trip, look into the best way to mail your purchases back home so you won’t be left lugging all that weight back home.
Many hotels offer mailing services with a handling fee. Do check with the hotel in advance and determine the best way to get packing.
When packing, be sure to bring along some snacks, new toys and colouring to battle boredom and keep the little ones occupied during long stretches of travel.
Don’t forget to take into consideration any little discomforts or ailments that can dampen the mood. Hunger, headaches, tummy troubles – make sure you are prepared for everything.
You might need Mary Poppins’ magic bag to fit everything in!
- Share the joy
Travel with another family with children of similar age groups. The youngsters will have their kakis to hang out with while you can sneak away for some quiet time with a glass of buzz.
With extra hands on deck, babysitting duties can work on rotation basis with the other parents. This way, you can get the respite that you deserve without having to feel the guilt of taking off on a children-free trip.
- Expect the unexpected
Just like life, no matter how much you plan and prepare, things can go wrong, so don’t be disheartened!
Corny advice aside, it is important to not let the stress get to you. Children are an impressionable lot and watching you react to adversities is something that they will watch and learn from. So teach them the right lesson and just have fun!
Now that you are armed with the for a fuss-free family holiday, all that’s left to do is grab your luggage (and your children) and get travelling!