The annual vacation is the highlight of the year for many families, making memories which last a lifetime. Wherever you choose to go, it pays to plan ahead to ensure a journey which is as fun(really!) as your holiday. Tackle those typical whines “Are we there yet” , “I’m bored” , “I feel sick” and “I’m hungry” with our handy guide to travelling with kids.
* As any parent with a child who suffers from travel sickness knows, the experience can make even the shortest journey a struggle. Children between the age of 2 and 12 are most likely to be troubled with motion sickness, and may experience nausea, headache and cold sweats. Fortunately, there are numerous solutions to beat the dreaded motion sickness, which at best leaves you with an miserable child, and at worst, sick to clean off the car upholstery/your child’s clothing/everything.
The key to beating motion sickness, which can occur in cars, aeroplanes, buses and boats, is to be prepared. Many parents find it helpful to use over-the-counter motion sickness remedies such as Dramamine, which can prevent nausea from occurring and lasts around 8 hours. If you prefer to take a more natural approach, buy a set of acupressure bands, which stimulate a vital point on the wrist and can be very effective. Ginger is a tried and tested herbal remedy used for many types of nausea - try giving your child pieces of stem ginger to chew, or an infusion of ginger to drink during the journey. Of course, it never hurts to pack a spare change of clothes and baby wipes – just in case!
* Children’s boredom thresholds vary immensely, and on long flights or car journeys where they have to sit down for extended periods, you may find that they become irritable more quickly than usual. Beat the complaints(and avoid a headache!) by packing a bag of small wrapped gifts to be opened along the way. The great thing about this idea, is that you can tailor the presents to suit your child’s age. Don’t go overboard and buy too much, and keep it simple : you want to choose items which won’t make a mess and lots of noise, especially if you are flying or using public transport! Think colouring books and washable crayons, dolls, toy cars and puzzle books, rather than modelling clay and musical instruments.
If you are travelling by car, add an audio-book or singalong CD to the mix and you’ll find the miles fly by!
Older children can be supplied with a map with has the route and destination marked on it - they’ll enjoy following their progress along the way.
* If you travelling by air, bear in mind that children tend to suffer from ear pain caused by the air pressure changes, more than adults. Common suggestions to ease this pressure include chewing gum, sucking on a hard sweet or laughing, although none of these are guaranteed to work. On the plus side, most people only experience ear pain during take-off and landing, so you can take comfort for knowing that it won’t last forever! If you are concerned about this issue, talk to your doctor before flying, as they may be able to prescribe a decongestant which should help considerably.
* Most short-haul and budget airlines no longer provide meals, and roadside cafés and service stations can be expensive, with limited food options available. It makes sense then, to prepare a few snacks for the kids to nibble on throughout the journey. You may want to avoid chocolate, and anything else which will cause a sticky mess! Healthy nibbles such as dried fruit, crackers and cheese triangles are all good ideas, which will help satisfy hungry tummies without causing mayhem.