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Summer is upon us and now is the time that many of us are able to get away for a holiday. In the Old Days (before children) one didnÂ’t have to think further than oneself, but now that the family is larger, any sort of holidays is more complicated.

No matter what kind of holiday you take, make sure you plan it well. Make lists of all the things you have to do and then follow it!
Always be self-sufficient in caring for your family. Getting extra freebies from airlines or holiday operators are a boon, but the free offers vary from operator to operator, and one can find one in a difficult situation if not prepared.
Always remember to pack in a small first aid bag including any medicines you think youÂ’ll be likely to need on holiday. Things like paracetemol and plasters etc are essential to our first aid pack and I have been so thankful to have packed that many times!

Before your journey

• Choose a family-friendly destination. A beach can bring endless entertainment for children, but make sure the little ones are aware of the dangers of water. Look for hotels that let children stay free of charge in their parents' rooms and provide free meals for children or buffet-style breakfasts included in the price of the room. Ask about babysitting services, creches, kids' clubs and facilities for children, too.
• Don't forget that your child needs a passport. Since October 1998, separate passports are now required for all children under 16.
• Keep your itinerary simple and be flexible. Book direct flights. Travel at night so children can sleep through journeys.
• Try to get bulkhead seats on the airplane (the bulkhead is the partition that divides a plane into different sections, between business class and economy for example). Call the airline in advance or arrive extra early at check-in. British Airways has the facility where one can specify one’s seats online a day or two before departure.

During the journey

• Bring snacks and a water bottle. Children can get dehydrated during a flight and toddlers will not always wait for mealtimes. Pack apples, raisins, ricecakes, breadsticks, juice, dried fruit and small boxes of dry cereal. Bring along baby wipes for little spillages and a bib to keep clothes clean.
• If you are driving, break up your journey so your child has regular chances to stretch and run around. Make sure you bring along toys, blankets, and other familiar items from home to make your baby feel as secure as possible. Put some resealable plastic bags in your car boot or carrying bag. They are great for holding messy items like bibs, nappies, wet bathing suits, sea shells and half-eaten, lollipops.
• I like to give each child their own ‘travel bag’ with their snacks, some stickers and a magazine or two to keep them busy. A stereo walkman one can buy in the shops for under £10 can be very helpful in keeping them happy too.

On holiday

• Plan no more than one major activity a day. Try to leave a few days free to give you extra flexibility in case you need to cancel or postpone an activity.
• Bring along a basic child-proofing kit to use at your destination. If you are travelling by car, make sure your baby's car seat is properly installed. Use removable window shades to keep the sun off your child. Check out the room or apartment for safety. Bring hats and sunscreen for your toddler, and blankets and pillows for napping. Don't forget a first aid kit with paracetemol, plasters, medicated wipes for any cuts or aches and pains.
• Take along a goody bag with plenty of toys, snacks and drinks. Include favourite toys, games, books and some surprises. For toddlers, try a small pot of playdough; magnetic scribble pad, puzzles, dolls, action figures, puppets, brightly coloured paper for drawing, non-toxic crayons, stickers for the car windows, story tapes and books. For babies, possibilities include shiny new objects, baby-proof mirrors, rattles, musical toys, soft animals, pop-up toys, plastic keys or teething rings. Start building your toy stash a few weeks before the trip.
• If going to another country, research it beforehand, and make a project of all the places you are going to visit. Encourage your children to make a project page of each place you have visited using brochures, entrance tickets and suchlike from their day, and to write something about their day.
• Also take a copy of your repeat prescription if your child is on any medication, should you need more medication while away.
• On our last trip, I included a handful of balloons, and under my supervision, the children had great fun with them on days that things were a little quiet.( ages range from 3 til 11!)
• Remember you don’t have to pack your whole wardrobe of clothing – most people won’t remember you wore the same shirt 3 times in a holiday – I usually find 3 Tshirts, 4 trouser bottoms/ shorts, one long sleeve top, and a jumper each is enough per week while on holiday. Perhaps an extra dress or skirt for the girls, and of course socks and underwear. In summer it is easy to handwash and dry items quickly so they’re ready for the next day, should you need to.

Remember to take lots of photos, and once you're home again, haul each one out and discuss them at length with your friends. They will be so jealous! :haha:


Thanks for that article Dudette, although mine is long past the stage of being bored etc, he normally packs in his Nintendo DS and his assortment of games and he is then glued.

Granted we do not always travel by car to any place, we normally fly, so lotsa comics and paraphernalia is bought to keep him occupied plus it also depends on the movies they are showing.

Best of luck to those who have to keep kids occupied on long car journeys, no mean feat... :thumbs: :thumbs: