– If flying, try to go red-eye. The best way to neutralise a child on a long-distance flight is if they sleep through it. You can maximise the chances of that happening by booking an overnight one. At the very least, make sure it’s a non-stop flight. The money you save with connecting flights will seem trifling in comparison to the hassle they involve.
– Factor in stops. If you’re reaching your destination by car – or even if you’re not – it’s prudent to allow additional time for bathroom breaks and general stops to allow kids to let off steam. Try to have at least one break every 90 minutes or so.
– Bring snacks. If there’s one thing worse than a bored child trapped inside a car, it’s a bored, hungry child trapped inside a car. Try to keep things healthy with nuts, fruit and grain bars rather than sugary treats, though it’s fine to indulge them if you balance things out later on.
– Make a home away from home. Rather than a hotel, why not consider a holiday apartment from Native? With your own kitchen, bathroom and living quarters, you can really unwind and make yourself at home, which can be great for pacifying little ones and avoiding disruption to your neighbours.
– Stock up on the essentials. With a kitchen at your disposal, ensure you make full use of it by stocking up at the nearest supermarket on arrival. This avoids having to sneak out in the dead of night to satisfy irrational hunger cravings of a young stomach, as many hotels don’t offer room service after a certain hour.
– Plan ahead. The beauty of a short stay apartment is that you’ll have a fixed address to which you can send vital supplies (nappies, baby food and the suchlike) that are too heavy to carry. Sometimes, sending these ahead can be far cheaper than paying for an extra bag on an aeroplane – not to mention a whole lot easier when it comes to carrying them, as well.
– Orient yourself. Before booking, make sure your accommodation is in an ideal location for sightseeing. If you have a young one with a fragile bladder, you won’t want to keep running back and forth from the beach / theme park / city centre to use the lavatory all the time. Get the local knowledge. Read up on insider tips and tricks for families with young ones before departing, or take advantage of great local knowledge once you arrive. At Native, we’re thoroughly versed in all aspects of the neighbourhoods in which our properties are located and can offer invaluable advice for travellers of all kinds.
– Enjoy your downtime. Looking after little ones is an exhausting job at the best of times, and on holiday it can be even more demanding. With a serviced apartment, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to kick back and relax in front of the TV, recharging those all-important batteries for the next day.
The journey home
– Keep something in reserve. A new toy, gadget or game is always good to have in your back pocket for when the little ones start to squirm in their seat and become restless. Budget a new distraction for every hour (it doesn’t have to be big, just new) and you should have a stress-free journey.
– Incorporate a game. One way to keep kids occupied on a long journey is to make a game of it. For example, you could have them compile a checklist of things they need to spot en route (10 buses, 1 plane, 2 police cars, etc) and have them tick things off as and when they see them.
– Technology is your friend. While screen time might generally speaking be a negative thing, it can be a lifesaver during long journeys. Adults can benefit too – download offline maps before you travel to keep your wits about you even when the Wi-Fi is weak.