Are you planning on visiting the UK with kids? Read this first! The experts at Family Traveller share their top tips on travelling with children, from building excitement to stay stress free abroad…
Travelling with toddlers, tweens and teens poses a variety of challenges on any family getaway! We’ve compiled some tips for kids of all ages to help make the journey as painless as possible, and keep the emphasis on bringing the family together. If you’re travelling with family in the UK, you’ll want to have a look over these!
Before You Leave:
While travel in the UK won’t require any special vaccinations, it is generally advisable that kids get a tetanus booster dose at 4 to 6 years of age, and then again at around 11 to 12 years old. Adults are also recommended to have one every ten years in adulthood – so a family trip is a good opportunity to get everyone up to date. While you are at the doctor, make sure that you also make note of each member of the family’s blood group and keep this information in an easily accessible place.
If your children have any pre-existing medical conditions which they might need assistance with such as asthma or type 1 diabetes, it might be a good idea to familiarise yourself with the appropriate local medical specialists in the area you’ll be travelling to, just in case.
For younger kids, a great way to engage them is to start a travel journal or scrapbook before you depart. Explain some of the customs, cuisine and cultural attractions of the place you’re going to visit, and have them cut out and paste pictures from your travel brochures if you have them.
With teenagers, make sure that you get their opinions and input about planning the holiday. Ask them what they would like to do and see, and to really get them interested – harness their natural talents! Explain that you don’t really understand how to find the right info on the web, or have them help you book the flights or accommodation online! It’s a sneaky but effective way of making them feel included before the trip even starts!
Try preparing some dishes from the area at home before you go, especially if you have fussy eaters and the area you are travelling to has unfamiliar cuisine. Although British cuisine doesn’t enjoy the best reputation, there are plenty of great local dishes you can find up and down the country.
With children of any age, the golden rule is to leave yourself as much time as possible – plan to leave early, arrive at the airport early, and book into the accommodation early! That way, when the inevitable delays, unexpected bathroom breaks or tantrums occur, you’ll still be on time and won’t get stressed out. This is supposed to be a holiday after all!
At Your Destination:
Dealing with teenagers:
With teens, space really cannot be overemphasized. Ideally, let them have their own space by booking adjacent rooms if your budget permits.
Remember too that they really do need more sleep than us, so don’t plan early morning activities unless you want an irritable, moping cloud of gloom schlepping behind you. If you do want to do things in the morning, let them stay behind! They’ll appreciate (as much as teenagers possibly can, at least) the chance to sleep in, have some alone time and probably catch up with social media. There will be plenty of opportunities to spend time together too, so give them their space when they need it, and the experience will be more pleasant for everyone!
Dealing with younger kids:
With smaller children, one of the more frequently overlooked dangers is dehydration. Kids often don’t realise they’re thirsty until they’re quite dehydrated, so make sure to keep an eye on this. Avoid sugary and salty snacks – try and get them to eat fresh fruit which will appeal to their tastebuds and offer some hidden hydration too. Kids can get too hot or cold faster than adults too, so have them wear layers which can be easily added or removed.
Invest in a child locator:
Every parent’s worst nightmare is losing their child in a busy airport or shopping centre. Invest in a tracking band if you can, or for a money saving hack, simply write your phone number on their arm!
Keep the schedule open:
And lastly, don’t try and pack every possible activity into your schedule. Make plenty of time for just relaxing! Chilled out children make for chilled out parents, and a pleasant holiday for all!
Whilst there is no British Disneyland, the UK is full of great theme parks and attractions for kids of all ages. The likes of Shrek’s Adventure on London’s Southbank, the Peak Wildlife Park in Staffordshire and Dinosaur Uproar in Cornwall are all sure to please even a difficult crowd. Visit England has a section on their website dedicated to family trips. For city guides to Britain’s best cities stay right here on Urban Travel Blog.