Who better to ask to write about travelling with children than an devoted wife and mummy to two beautiful girls? Our thanks go to Lizzie for this blog. She is passionate about cruelty free beauty and championing British brands, honest to a fault, forever interested in exploring new things, and in love with the outdoors. Lizzie blogs at www.lisforbridget.blogspot.co.uk on parenting, food and making cruelty free beauty the norm.
Travelling with children can be a challenge comparable to running a marathon. You prepare, train, focus… and yet when the main event arrives you’ll still be physically exhausted, mentally drained, and wondering why on earth you ever thought it was a good idea!
Babies require an enormous amount of paraphernalia – everything but the kitchen sink. Just one simple day trip can require loading the car up to the extent that you struggle to fit the baby in at all! Older children require entertaining, distracting from long journeys, back up clothing, plenty of snacks… there is no let up!
But even when you manage to remember everything that you need, you still need to figure out where it is that you’ll actually go.
Will there be baby change facilities? Is it pram friendly? Will there be plenty to keep the children entertained?
When travelling with my two girls (now two and seven), there are a few things that I will absolutely NOT leave the house without!
- Baby paracetamol
- Spare clothes
- A spare dummy (S just loves to throw hers, and has learned how to undo a dummy saver too!)
- A plethora of toys
- My mobile phone – fully charged. You never know when you’ll need it! Plus you can take endless photos of all the memories you make.
It goes without saying that I always keep the nappy bag well stocked too, but even in the few years between R being toilet trained, and us having S, I learned that you should never, ever go anywhere without wipes and spare clothes!
In the absence of handwashing facilities, or running out of tissues and R having a snotty nose, or even spilling my coffee down my front – they are little miracles that so handy to just slip in your bag. I recently managed to successfully clean bird poop from Mr W’s jacket whilst out at the seaside – a quick fix that kept him happy until I could get the jacket in the wash when we got home.
Plasters are also a must-have. Whether it’s one of the girls tripping and grazing their knee, my shoes rubbing, or even to use as a way of securing a snack pack if one of the girls has had enough part way through; plasters are another super handy item to have about your person!
Most of all, the best way to keep the stress and headaches to a minimum when travelling with children, is to make lists. I love a good list. In fact, people mock me for my lists, but do I ever forget anything? Rarely.
Research where it is that you want to go; be sure that you know what facilities are available so that you can take extra supplies if there is anything you might need. What will the weather be like? Will you need hats and sun cream, or scarves and winter coats? Know how long it will take to get there, and how long you will spend there. Plan your visit accordingly with appropriate snacks, drinks, and factor in stops for meals and so on so that you don’t end up with grumpy children in the mix!
But the biggest piece of advice I can offer you? RELAX. Babies and children pick up on your stress.
If the car breaks down and you’re stood at the side of the motorway, yes it’s a nightmare and absolutely not what you planned. But you’ll be well prepared with everything you need to keep everyone fed, watered and safe until help arrives.
If one of your children has a “toilet” accident; just keep calm, change their clothes and carry on with your day.
Families aren’t perfect, and that’s what makes them so amazing. Travelling, day trips and holidays with family are just as imperfect! And that’s how memories are made. In years to come you’ll giggle about the time Daddy fell in the pool fully clothed, or one of the children sneezed their dinner across the buffet, or Mummy put diesel in the petrol car.
Enjoy every second, take it as it comes, and above all, let your children grow up with a life full of adventures and experiences. We’re raising the future!
Thanks Lizzie! You can follow Lizzie on Twitter at www.twitter.com/themrswilko, or contact her by email on firstname.lastname@example.org