Travelling with little ones may not be the easiest thing in the world; however having a restful trip with children is possible.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed, take things slow. It is tempting to try and fill your itinerary with too many activities. It is important to remember that you are also on holiday. Don’t be tempted to take the hustle and bustle of everyday activities along with you on your trip. Take time out to sit and enjoy spending time not doing anything. Spending the day at the beach or at the pool as a family is perfectly acceptable. Remember that children also need down time away from the go-goo of everyday life.
Make sure you have all the required documentation. Failure to plan is planning to fail. Certain countries have different visa requirements for children at certain ages. In order to enter any port of entry in South Africa, the government requires that children travelling with both parents “have to produce valid passports and a Birth Certificate (BC) or Equivalent Document for each child travelling”. Children travelling with one parent need to have “a valid passport, a BC or Equivalent Document for each travelling child and the Parental Consent Affidavit from the non-travelling parent whose details are recorded on the BC or Equivalent Document”.
You may also be required to get different vaccinations.
Get your children involved in the planning as much as possible. Change can be overwhelming for children. Instead of surprising them with a complete change of location and routine, get your children involved by asking them to give you ideas of what they would like to do while away. Before you travel, consider giving them
age-appropriate activities that teach them about what to expect at the airport or on the plane will give them some reassurance. Having a conversation about the upcoming trip will help build up excitement and lessen any anxiety which might come with being away from home.
Bring one or two comfort toys. If your child has a favorite toy or gadget, it might be a great idea to pack that on holiday. This will help soothe them when they get hyper-stimulated.
If you are lucky enough to be travelling with more than one adult, you give each other a break from childcare. Give one person a few hours to explore the spa while the other takes over child care and switch over later. This will actually give the adults a chance to enjoy the holiday as well.
Safety first. Keeping your children safe and alive is a number one priority at anytime; the stakes are a lot higher when you are in a foreign country. Make sure that your children understand the importance of staying together and not wandering away. You can also attach tracking devices on your children’s clothing to make sure you can find them when they go on their own adventures. While it may seem old school, teaching your children your phone number will make it easier for adults to contact you should they go missing.
The final step is to have fun. Travelling together should bring the family together and create life-long memories.