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Travelling With Children

I love to travel. I’ve been lucky enough to see and experience many wonders of our planet. And when my wife fell pregnant with Arlo, I was determined not to let parenthood rob me of collecting passport stamps....And I haven’t.

I’ve travelled a lot with my family: camping, caravan holidays, and abroad to Cyprus, Jordan, Iceland and the US.

And sure, I’ve had to rethink my approach to travelling; bar crawls and three-day hikes have been traded in for early nights in the hotel watching Disney films, but I couldn’t hack a bar crawl now anyway. And what parent is turning their nose up at an early night? Certainly not me!

Travelling with children does require some adjustments. But it’s entirely possible to have a fantastic family holiday. Here are five tips for travelling with children:

  1. What’s the purpose of your trip? Is it to kill time during the holidays? If so, a caravan park by the seaside might be your BFF. Maybe a holiday with friends and their children so the kids can all play together while you reconnect with the lost art of reading a book (remember those?). What about a road trip? There’s no wrong answer here, but whatever you decide to do, think about everyone’s experience, the parents’ and the children’s. What do you all want to get out of this holiday? Considering everyone’s interests will ensure the trip is a success.

  2. It doesn’t matter where you go or what you do as long as you prioritise play. One of Arlo’s highlights in Iceland was playing with rocks, acting out scenes from his favourite movie. Whether we’re in the pool or midway along a hiking trail (Arlo is usually on my shoulders) – every activity we enjoy together is enjoyed through the lens of play.

  3. Pack plenty of snacks. In fact, pack all of the snacks! Whether for the aeroplane, for the car during a road trip or as backup in restaurants. Having familiar snacks on hand can be a lifesaver. Arlo did not enjoy the food in Jordan, but home-bought snacks prevented any mealtime meltdowns.

  4. Buy them something new for the journey: a toy, a book, a colouring book, etc. My wife shops around on Facebook Marketplace. This will delay the arrival of that You know the one: ‘Are we there yet?’ Pro tip: get them something for the journey back as well.

  5. Work together so that everyone gets time to do something for themselves. Arlo loves time in the pool, and I like to hike. Often, I’ll get up early and go hiking alone, but then I ensure I spend some time in the pool with Arlo later in the day while my wife chills out. We work as a team so everyone can do things they enjoy.

Fantastic family holidays are possible. You just need the right mindset. Try it. Pack a bag (or ten) and go and have an awesome family trip. Just don’t forget those snacks! Oh, and passports. But especially snacks! Those gold-plated holiday memories are waiting for you. And they’re worth every bit of effort.

If you have any questions, you can email

Tom Kreffer is the author of Dear Dory: Journal of a Soon-to-be First-time DadDear Arlo: Adventures in DaddingToddler Inc., The Search for Sanity: Life with a Two-year-old and he is the creator of the Lessons in Dadding Newsletter. He lives in Northampton with his family, whom he intends to exploit for many more story opportunities in the years to come.

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