Tips for travelling with children

Planning the Trip

  • Avoid too many long bus trips or consecutive days in museums. Try to break up long journeys and arrange your itinerary to include time each day for play.
  • Try booking child-friendly accommodation such as a bungalow with a veranda or garden, or access to a playground or fenced pool. Look for accommodation that offers kids clubs so the whole family can enjoy the trip.

The Flight

  • Dress children in bright colours so that they are easier to spot in a crowd.
  • Arrive at the airport early. Seats in front of the bulkhead have more legroom.
  • Feeding during take-off and landing will minimise ear discomfort for children. Carry prepared bottles of water or other liquids. Flying can be dehydrating and even breastfed babies may need extra fluids.
  • Carry some snacks for toddlers.
  • Carry plastic bags, wet wipes, a change of clothing, favourite toys and books.

Eating and Drinking Safely

Basic safe eating and drinking practices are important with young children. Long life milk and juice in sealed cartons are safe and readily available. Always carry a supply of safe water when travelling with children. Take a plastic bowl, cup, straws and cutlery to facilitate impromptu meals. When cleaning teeth, rinse mouth with bottled water.

Nappies

Disposable are the best option for travelling and are available in most major cities. They may be difficult to find in rural areas of developing countries so bring a sufficiently-large supply with you.

Insect Avoidance

Repel Junior has much lower DEET concentration and is safer to use in children but must be applied more frequently. Unless your accommodation is air-conditioned, family members of all ages should sleep under permethrin-treated mosquito nets.

Accidents and Animal Bites

Be especially vigilant whilst travelling as you have less control over a child’s environment. Drowning, poisoning, burns and falls are particular hazards. Unfenced pools and waterways are a common danger.  Keep children away from animals, especially dogs and monkeys as animal bites can be fatal. Lonely Planet’s Travel with Children Guide is a useful reference.

Sun and Heat

In warm climate make sure you use your sun sense. Use a good sunscreen, minimum SPF 30+, and limit sun exposure to early morning and late afternoon. Avoid peak UV times (10am-3pm). Ensure plenty of fluid is available to your party when in the sun.

Remember the five Sun Smart Steps:

  • Slip on covering clothing
  • Slop on SPF 30+ sunscreen
  • Slap on a hat
  • Seek shade
  • Slide on sunglasses

Motion Sickness

There are a number of medications available that are best taken before you travel. If your travel doctor or GP has prescribed motion sickness tablets in your medical kit, follow the directions carefully.

Fresh air and looking in the direction of travel can help motion sickness. It is also important to maintain fluid intake, especially after vomiting. Relax, stay seated, and focus on a fixed location.