A well-planned holiday always means a happier, more enjoyable, more memorable trip. Particularly when you have children!
Based on my experiences travelling with Lexi, here are some of my top tips for planning a trip with children:
Check Visa Requirements
Before booking your flights, first find out what visa requirements are for your destination country so that you can allow yourself enough time to get the necessary visas. I speak from experience when I say, the stress of applying for a visa at the last minute is not worth it!
Break Up The Journey
Long flights are a nightmare for adults, let alone children. We try break up our journey as much as possible. You'll often find great deals on flights and you'll get to visit more places along the way. When I travelled on my own I used to fly directly to Sydney with Qantas. However, with Lexi we fly Cathay Pacific and stop in Hong Kong.
Research Your Destination
Study the local climate and tourist seasons so that you pick the best time to visit. For us this means travelling out of season when it is cheaper, and avoiding crowds.
Research festivals, holidays, shows and expos in the country you are planning to visit and find out which ones are child friendly. We are going to be in Sydney over Easter and are planning to take Lexi to the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
Find out ahead of time what local attractions are going to be open during your visit and find great deals on tickets / entry.
Carefully Schedule Your Trip
Do not over stress yourself with a tight timeline, leave some time for relaxation and rest between sightseeing activities. This gives you some leeway if your children (and you!) are struggling with jetlag.
Choose Child Friendly Transportation
Car hire companies offer car seat options for families with children. However, in my experience, these seats are often not of the same quality that I would choose. If possible, take along your car seat. Airlines are usually accommodating but find out the regulations when booking your flights.
If you are going to be using trains and your child is in a pram or stroller, rather travel at off-peak times. Alternatively, if travelling longer distances enquire ahead of time about booking seats on the train. We usually pay a bit extra and book seats on the Taiwan High Speed Rail.
When travelling with Lexi I try to avoid taxis and walk where possible.
Find Child Friendly Accommodation
This one's a bit of a no-brainer, but always check if your accommodation is child friendly before booking. Many smaller guest houses do not allow children.
If you are travelling with an infant pre-arrange a bar fridge, kettle, microwave or any other necessities for preparing bottles.
Let a friend or neighbour know ahead of time that you are going on holiday and leave contact details for hotels etc.
Travel insurance is important, but more so when travelling with children.
Carry certified copies of your travel documents in case of emergency. I am paranoid, so I usually travel with a memory stick with scanned copies of all our documents and upload them to Drop Box.
When travelling with a formula fed infant, research ahead of time so that you know where to buy your brand of formula, or the closes alternative.