How to Keep Travelling with Kids as Stress Free as Possible

Travelling is stressful. How stressful depends on the nature of the journey and your frame of mind.  Taking children on a journey can be a recipe for increased levels of stress, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Travelling with children can also be an opportunity for fun, for new experiences and for learning. 

Children pick up on your mood very quickly, if you are anxious and short tempered even before the journey has begun, you can’t expect children to be calm and well behaved. Travel with children needs forethought but remember, though you may be dreading the journey, your children probably won’t have any preconceptions about the experience, so be positive and they will be too.

You need to be organised

Avoid unnecessary stress by ensuring that you know exactly where you can find any required paperwork or documents.  Don’t entrust children with tickets, yes, they may be capable of looking after them but the consequences if they don’t are best avoided.

Have a backup plan in the event of delays

Unfortunately, the nature of contemporary travel is that delays are quite likely, whether you’re travelling by road, rail or aeroplane.  Research the likelihood of delay in advance and think through what your strategy will be in the event of delay or cancellation.  For longer journeys it is always wise to take out travel insurance, which provides peace of mind and can cover medical expenses, trip cancellation, delays, lost or stolen baggage and personal liability while you are travelling.

Involve the kids in the adventure

Talk to the children about what is going to be happening and make it sound positive.  Explain that in order to do new and exciting things you sometimes have to be patient and wait until you get there.  You can even give them a mini history lesson on how long this journey would have taken a hundred years ago.  Don’t get angry when that time-honoured question ‘Are we there yet?’ is voiced. Remember, children have a different sense of time and while you might be bored after sitting in standing traffic for an hour, to them it will have seemed like a lot longer.

Think about how you will entertain them

An endless supply of snacks and sweets may work for a while, but it is very unhealthy and will result in hyperactive and travel sick children.  You probably impose limits on the amount of time you allow your children to use electronic devices, but this is a good time to relax those restrictions. There are also plenty of I-Spy type games which you can play in a car or on a train and which children will delight in long after you have lost interest.

Prepare for motion sickness

If you know from experience that your children are prone to motion sickness then it’s important to take evasive action, rather than just hoping for the best.  If you are not happy giving children motion sickness medication, try using motion sickness wristbands, which, sceptical though you may be, do actually work.

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