1. Choose a destination that matches your family’s needs.
Travelling with children from an early age doesn't have to be a Herculean feat. A bit of careful planning in advance can ensure that it's as enjoyable as possible for everyone involved. The first step in this planning process is, of course, choosing the destination!
If your child is under five years old, it might still be possible to complete treks and scale mountains with a baby carrier, but most parents would probably advise against this. In your children’s early years, keep travel slow and easy — there'll be plenty of time for daring adventures in their older years. Some destinations in Europe, like Iceland or Norway, offer unfamiliar and beautiful landscapes for adults, while remaining incredibly child-friendly and accessible (think buildings and transport that are pram-friendly).
Everything in balance
Once your kids are of school age, it’s the perfect time to start experimenting with longer journeys to culturally unfamiliar places. Travellers with young children who want to relax while still getting a taste of the outdoors should consider a laid back destination in Asia like Vietnam or Sri Lanka, where exciting treks and water sports can be interspersed with lazy days at the beach. Destinations in Oceania, like New Zealand or Australia, offer a similarly great balance between adventure and relaxation.
Adventure and activity
Travelling with teenagers and older children is so much more rewarding because at this age, they’ve started to form their own notions on where and how they want to travel. This is when travel to far-flung destinations like the Galapagos Islands start to become a real possibility. Always speak to your children when deciding on a location. If your child is fully on board to spot wildlife in Kenya or Madagascar, for instance, it’s going to make those pre-trip doctor’s visits easier and minimise the chances of a sulk mid-safari!
2. Ask about the availability of everything that might be useful there.
From food to equipment, like travel cots, car seats, and buggies, you’ll want to confirm in advance what you’ll have access to. Ask your travel agent about practicalities such as whether or not you will need a buggy or child sling during your trip.
In the main tourist areas of most countries, the basic necessities of childcare should be available: everything from nappies to baby formula. Additionally, some companies, hotels, and resorts might offer buggies, camping beds, and car seats, on loan. A quick internet search before you set off can be extremely useful; or get in touch with one of Evaneos’ local travel agents who will be happy to advise you.
3. Don't overdo it on the packing - travel light!
The idea of travelling with children isn’t always synonymous with travelling light, but this is truly the secret to stress-free family travel. Find out about your destination's weather conditions in advance and act accordingly, to avoid bringing unnecessary items that won’t get used at all during your trip. You'll be relieved to not have to worry about giant bags during your trip! Make the most of launderette services in hotels during your stay to avoid having to pack hundreds of clothes for your kids.
4. Health: Ask your doctor for a list of medications.
Your doctor is the best possible person to tell you which medicines, lotions, or insect repellents to pack for you and your children depending on your chosen destination. Travelling with basic medical aid is essential when travelling to Central America, South America, Africa or Asia. Make an appointment with a doctor for a health check and get a list of essential medication. They may take up a bit of space in your luggage, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
5. How many toys should you bring along?
Just as with packing your bags, it's better to focus on keeping things light. Don't worry, two or three toys will suffice, especially since all the new sights and sounds of your chosen destination are sure to keep your kids entertained! If long trips are necessary during your time away, try where possible to organise overnight trips so that it's less boring for them (and for you). For very long flights, opt for airlines that offer on-board entertainment.
6. Always have two essentials in your bag: wipes and antibacterial gel.
When you're travelling, it's not always easy to find a place to wash your children's hands. Having an antibacterial gel in your bag will make for a quick and easy alternative. And let's face it, wipes are always useful, wherever you are in the world!
7. Don't go anywhere without good medical insurance.
Shop around for a travel insurance policy that best suits your needs and covers the whole family. It will enable you to access the best medical services wherever you are. Evaneos provides exclusive travel insurance for its travellers in partnership with Europ Assistance, for example. Once again, it’s better to be safe than sorry and insurance is always a good idea.
8. Get your children involved in planning your trip.
For children, travel is an incredible source of adventure and discovery. Get them involved in planning your itinerary, show them photos and videos of where you're going, and get them interested in the trip even before you set off. Landing in a place where the culture is completely unfamiliar to your children might be mildly overwhelming for them. Getting acquainted with the destination before your trip can be fun for the entire family: you could watch a movie or documentary together, visit a restaurant in your city that serves the particular cuisine, or go to a museum which has a section on the destination.
9. Get advice from the experts.
Getting in touch with a local agent who will organise everything for you and give you advice, assistance, and support, is the easiest way to ensure that you will be able to start your journey with complete peace of mind. A local agent can create a trip for you that takes into account your interests, the age of your children, accommodation preferences, and above all, the experiences that you want to have together as a family. This will save you time and ensure a trip fully-tailored to your family's needs.
10. Top tips for parents: relax and take your time!
Planning a family holiday with kids is difficult but not only is it possible, it can create unforgettable childhood memories. The golden rule? Be flexible! Consider the trip from a child’s point of view, even if this means that you won’t travel at the pace you would like to. Avoid planning days that are too tiring; try to stick to only one or two big activities per day, leaving the rest of the day for unstructured time or downtime.
Looking for more inspiration?
Still haven't found what you're looking for? Head to our dedicated Family Travel Page to browse the best child-friendly destinations, tours, and experiences curated by our carefully-selected local agencies around the world.