There is absolutely no denying that travelling with children is a little more complicated than going it alone or as a couple. However, just because things are a little complicated at times doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be done, right?
With the June/July school holidays coming up in South Africa, many families will be packing up for a bit of adventure and we have some tips to help families with kids under 8 have a great time despite the little bumps in the road.
1) Pre-book an accommodation establishment as a base for your holiday. Generally children thrive on routine. Think about reserving a cottage or house where children will have a space to (temporarily) make their own and a place where they can come ‘home’ to after a day’s exploring – same bed every night, same bed-time routine – these things will help everyone to feel more relaxed.
2) Plan entertainment! Travelling anywhere in South Africa, be it by car or plane or some other form of public transport, takes time. Possibly hours when kids will be unable to jump up and change their surroundings too much. So, get organised! If you have a long car journey ahead of you, plan rest stops for toilet breaks and leg stretching. If luggage space isn’t a huge issue, pack books. Download some child-friendly apps on your cell phone and/or go old-school with a list of games – I spy or alphabet games like ‘crocodile’ work well if your child likes that sort of thing. You could also download books and music to keep them occupied. The point is to keep the activities coming as long as is necessary.
3) Be flexible and mindful of the fact that children will be children. If your children are a little older, sit down with them and talk about what each person wants to do. Have a rough idea of activities you’d like to get involved in (ensuring that they are age-appropriate) but be prepared to forego some activities in a day if the family is tired. Take each day as it comes and be prepared to change the plans to suit your children’s needs, especially regarding timing. Toddlers have short legs and get distracted easily. Factor this in!
4) Encourage your child to take up journaling or photography. A fun way to get your kids to engage with their new surroundings is to get them documenting their experiences. A disposable camera might end up yielding some interesting results at the hands of a little person and journals can take which ever form they’d like – writing, drawings, glued-down entry tickets. ..
5) Don’t forget about the basics. As a parent, you’ll know that the standard supply of spare clothing, wet-wipes and basic first aid goodies like plasters come in very handy at home. They are even more handy when travelling! Also ensure that there is food and water available when the littlies start making hungry noises.
Travelling with children doesn’t need to be a trial. A little patience and some extra planning ensures that a family holiday is just that, a holiday!
Sleeping-OUT has a range of child-friendly accommodation for you to choose from – simply make use of our advanced search filter to find an appropriate establishment.