Travelling Abroad With Kids - To Go Or Not To Go?

Today I will (hopefully) guide you through the pros and cons of travelling abroad with two young children. Tip number one…… DO NOT HOLIDAY ABROAD WITH 2 YOUNG CHILDREN!!! Of course, I’m joking. Travelling abroad with kids can be wonderful but equally, it can have you looking on the easyJet app for the quickest flight home!

In June, my husband and I went on a half board holiday for a week in Spain with my 8-month-old and 2-year-old. Overall, we had a wonderful time; days by the pool, at the beach, eating anything and everything we wanted and building some beautiful memories to cherish for a lifetime! However, we also found it stressful and exhausting and have decided next year we will also be doing a ‘NO CHILDREN ALLOWED’ mini break to remind ourselves that chilled holidays by the pool with the latest bonkbuster are not just a myth!

TRAVELLING

Be An Early Bird

I’ll start with our flight. We booked a 6:45am flight. Many might think that we have already kick started the journey from hell with a 3am wake up alarm BUT this was purposefully booked this early for 3 key reasons!

  1. The mornings are much less likely to be delayed (unless there are technical failures, staff shortages etc). This is because they are some of the first flights of the day. We ALWAYS catch the earliest flight and always have done even before children.
  2. If you are travelling short haul, it means by the time you’ve landed, got your luggage, transfers and all that jazz… you hit your hotel at around lunch time – RESULT (especially if you are half board or all inclusive!). So, we rolled into the lunch hall, filled our bellies and then still had the rest of the day to unpack, settle and explore.
  3. With a bit of luck, the kids will be so tired when they board the plane, they’ll actually go to sleep – and that’s a huge bonus when travelling abroad with kids. For our eldest, being woken up with the promise of ‘flying in the sky’ was a great excitement. Our 8-month-old of course had no idea what was going on but was happy to see everyone awake and happy/excited! The little one slept through the entire flight and the older one for at least half.
children watching planes at the airport

Invest In a Double Buggy

This was an absolute game changer for not just the airport but the WHOLE holiday! We found a cheap second hand one on Facebook marketplace and it saved us! It’s also been great at home too so I would HIGHLY recommend getting a second-hand double buggy! You can use it all through the airport and you can keep it until you climb the stairs to get on the plane so no aching arms carrying children and it’s great to contain the excitable ones too!

Check The Baggage Policy

Some airlines, such as Jet2 who we flew with, will allow you additional weight (at no extra cost) if you are travelling abroad with kids. This was great as we were able to pack the Prep Machine. Most airlines will accommodate large baby equipment in the hold at no extra cost but check in advance how many pieces you can take – for instance, EasyJet only offer two items for free – anything else you will need to pay extra for.

family with suitcases travelling abroad with kids

Fast Track Security

Do pay for the fast-track security! Its £7 per person (at Bristol Airport) BUT we got through security in less than 10 minutes! It will be the best money you’ve ever spent in the airport, particularly if you’re travelling high season – trust me!

IN-FLIGHT

Pack All The Snacks

If getting an early flight children will get hungry so packing some nutritious snacks but also some super yummy snacks (I’m all about bribing with treats when travelling!) will keep little ones happy and full to hopefully prevent Hangry melt downs! Also, if your little ones are drinking milk then take it – you are allowed to take this on board and its great for them to drink on take off for comfort but also to help their ears from popping.

We packed our eldest child a brand-new backpack with a selection of new toys/stationery (and some of her current favourite toys too) We didn’t spend a fortune – Primark has great stationery, playdough sets and other mini crafting bits which are great for the plane. You can also find great pocket money toys in major supermarkets or toy stores all for under £5! As everything was new she was much more engaged and excited to use it which killed lots of time! We also took our Amazon iPad – downloaded a ton of educational games along with her favourite TV programmes which was great for on the plane but also when out at restaurants when on holiday too!

Take some blankets for the plane! You may be going to a country where the temperature is 30 degrees+ BUT the aircon on the plane is cold so to ensure the children don’t whinge. They can also double up as a pillow too! You can take baby food pouches on the plane –but make sure they are under 100g. Anything over may be confiscated. You’ve been warned!

baby sat on place

ON HOLIDAY ABROAD

Okay, so you’ve survived the flight as best you can. You’ve made it. You’re on holiday. There’s no going back now! Time to smother on that factor 50+ and dive bomb the pool….

But don’t be fooled. Going on holiday with a toddler aged terrible two is hard! Remember they are in a new place and out of their comfort zone, and mingled with the heat, the meltdowns can be rougher and more frequent than usual.

I would HIGHLY recommend NOT starting any big milestones (potty training, sleeping in a big girl/boy bed or removing the dummy) just before your holiday. We decided to reduce the dummy dramatically WHILST on holiday for some bizarre reason for our eldest. MISTAKE!!

Less than 24 hours into our holiday, whilst battling applying suncream on our eldest (use a clean make up brush – it makes it easier to apply and tickles a bit!) she asked for the dummy to which we said no…. this resulted in an hour of hysterical snot filled crying… which led to an hour walk in 32-degree heat to the nearest A+E hospital all because she cried so much suncream went in her eye which inflamed her eye so much she couldn’t open it! I was ready to go home at this point! Side note – her eye cleared up within hours are the eye drops so no damage was done – phew!! Safe to say the dummy stayed firmly in her mouth for the duration of the holiday! Moral of the story is do not do big milestones before or during holiday. Your children are in an unfamiliar environment which can be over stimulating for them which makes milestones much harder to maintain/control!

girl playing in swimming pool

Make Sure You Take Your UK EHIC Card

Because we are no longer part of the EU, don’t forget to take an EHIC card which will cover you for medical expenses such as these. Our little expedition to the hospital cost us around 200 euros.

Self Catering or Half Board?

Not having to wash up, cook or think about the cost of food when abroad takes a lot of the strain away travelling abroad with kids so we would always opt for resorts which offer either half or full board. But bear in mind that you will probably have to queue to get your food. Our little one loves weaning so the half board arrangement at the hotel enabled us to feed him as little or as much of what he fancied.

If you do elect to go half board or all-inclusive then take some Tupperware! At breakfast in particular we would fill these with croissants, breads, biscuits, fruit etc and then we would have free snacks to give to the children throughout the day if they got peckish!

buffet food at hotel

IN CONCLUSION

Although our toddler was a challenge, our 8-month-old was bliss! He slept for 2 hours a day, twice a day (take your white noise machine and a fan to attach to your pram to drum out noise and keep them cool!). He loves people so was happy to people watch/play with his toys/ splash in the pool or eat sand!

So, our holiday was hot, hard but at times filled our hearts with joy to see our kids enjoying their holiday and being with us as a family.

Would I do it again? It’s a bit like having a baby. Straight after the event, absolutely not, I felt like I needed another holiday to get over the holiday. But a few weeks later, I’m thinking – bring it on! in fact, I’m already browsing booking.com.

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