Keep calm and start packing: 5 top tips for travelling with children under 5
Travelling with children under the age of five isn't easy. Research shows that 30% of parents regret going on a holiday with a toddler.
Shaun Lamont, managing director of First Group Hotels and Resorts and father of two, shares some advice on how to make travelling with a child under five more enjoyable.
“Holidaying with small children doesn’t have to be stressful. All it takes is careful planning and a little patience to create magical and lasting memories that you will all treasure forever," he said.
Here are his five tips for travelling with children under five:
Choose a destination with your children in mind
When choosing your holiday destination, choose a place close to home. The destination shouldn't be more than 2-3 hours away to avoid lengthy travelling times.
"By skipping the dreaded airport experience or long hours in the car, you’re already eliminating a ton of stress.
Furthermore, when researching resorts, look for properties that have ample activities, like a baby pool, jungle gym, pony rides or indoor play area, to keep your children entertained," he said.
Go the self-catering route
The idea of a hotel room sounds fun, in theory. However, add a busy toddler, tantrums, midnight feeds and complaining guests and, all of a sudden, it’s much less appealing. A self-catering unit offers your family space, privacy and flexibility to enjoy your holiday without the added stress of worrying about those around you.
Lower your expectations
If you have been saving for a family trip, chances are that you are excited to unwind, relax and have some fun with those closest to you. But the reality is that small children can be unpredictable, and even the best-behaved kids can find themselves overwhelmed in a new environment.
"While careful planning can make things easier, it doesn’t necessarily mean that nothing will go wrong. It's important to lower your expectations. Lowered expectations don’t mean that you don't want it to be an enjoyable holiday, or that you won't work hard towards making it the best holiday yet; it means you won't be focusing excessively on the outcome," Lamont explained.
Stick to a routine
Keep the same routine for your child as you would at home. "Your child will be in a different environment, with a different bed, different furniture and new people, and this can be unsettling. Where you can, maintain consistency. Keep the time for play, eating and sleeping the same," he said.
Take time out for yourself
The point of a holiday is to relax and unwind. Lamont suggested picking accommodation that has childminders available.
"When planning your itinerary, be sure to set time aside for you to have an ‘adult supper’ out, a spoil at the spa, or simply time to catch up on some much-needed sleep in your room," he said.