Whether that be abroad, in the UK, by plane or train, I just love visiting other places, seeing new sights and trying new things. I can count on one hand the number of times though, that I have travelled alone since having children and even fewer times that the husband and I have travelled together since they came along. So of course, that means that the two of them come with us. I don’t think I am by any means an expert on this, but having made lots of flights and train journeys, with the two of them, a handful of those times just by myself, I think I have learnt a few things along the way (after 4 six-hour flights going from London – Dubai – Phuket and home again, and surviving, please feel free to ask for tips). I often get told that I ‘must be mad’ or I’m ‘really brave’ for traveling with them but why am I brave for taking my children out in public?
Our most recent trip was a train journey to my parents home in Yorkshire. Luckily my son loves trains so is rather happy when we get to travel on 3 trains (one up to London from our home in Surrey, one tube ride and then a two-hour train from Kings Cross to York).
- PLAN AROUND NAPS – if you are able to be flexible with your travel times, book trains around when your little ones will be napping, if you’re lucky enough that they still do nap! On our train to York, there and back, Chloe slept basically the whole time, meaning Max and I could read and colour together without a rambunctious toddler climbing all over us.
- PLAN SEATING – when I book our train tickets, there is a facility where you can view your seat. For my sanity I move it from the quiet coach if it has been placed there, for obvious reasons, and I choose a carriage that is looking relatively quiet. Children under 5 travel for free but they are only guaranteed a seat if you pay for them. So what I do, is just book one seat and then, making sure I’m at the station on time, I basically jump on any carriage where there are lots of unreserved seats and sit there. As I have two under 5, I don’t fancy having both of them on my lap but equally don’t want to pay for them unnecessarily.
- FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD – they say food is the way to a man’s heart but it can definitely be said of a toddler’s too. If you are traveling around a meal time, make sure you have a packed lunch ready, with plenty of drinks and snacks for the rest of the time. I try to use disposable things so that when we are finished we can just throw in the bin to lighten our luggage. Plus, there is the element of excitement for my children as they never have such things like fruit shoots haha.
- PACK LIGHT – unless all of us are going to visit my parents, then I usually take the train with the kids. I can be known for over packing on holidays (who isn’t) so I literally take the bare bones that we need for the visit – something like a Nappy Grab Bag is a handy thing to have in your bag. You can always get things like nappies and wipes when you are at your destination.
- TOYS – if you have some toys or books that haven’t been played with, I think they are always a good option as it seems like they have a ‘new’ toy and keeps them distracted for longer. Probably controversial but if you have a tablet or leapfrog type of toy, that is always good for distraction and pretty much most longer distance trains will have free wi-fi.
- WALK AROUND – something that is not always possible on a plane! Walking up and down the aisles, such a simple thing, and even in the vestibule ends is a simple way to distract the children, do something different for a few minutes and stretch your legs.
Do you travel much with your children? Anything you would add to the list?