Travelling with small children can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be. New father, Kane Keating, soon discovered that if you plan ahead and get organised for the holiday ahead, taking your little one along will be a most rewarding experience. Here he shares his top tips on travelling abroad with children.
I think everyone has had that moment when you’re sat on the plane getting ready for takeoff. You’ve worked hard all year for your well-earned week away in the sun. The doors are about to close and you're preparing to stretch yourself out for the next few hours, indulging in overpriced snacks and unusually small cans of premium brand alcoholic drinks. All of a sudden they appear at the front, late and agitated! A family travelling with a small child!
Fast forward three years, and the boot is on the other foot for me. I’m getting nervous looks from my fellow travellers as I traverse the same space, whilst trying to find seats 23 D, E and F without dropping the ladybird-inspired Trunki into someone's lap.
During those years leading up to fatherhood and on the holidays that I have taken with my wife, Kara, I always wondered what travelling with children would be like. It seemed to me to be on the same level as a Krypton Factor challenge.
For me, the key to travelling with children is all about the organisation. We’ve had a few holidays with our little one, three-year-old Quinn, our beautiful daughter, our last being a superb week away in Fuerteventura. My role is to look after the fundamentals. I organise the car parking, car hire, insurance and currency, while my wife packs her case!
From leaving home, the car journey was great. Having early morning flights, it was much less stressful not having to worry about traffic. We arrived at the airport in good time and my decision to go all out and spend an extra £10 to upgrade to 'meet and greet' parking looked like an inspired decision as we parked up, unloaded our luggage and handed the keys over to a chap to take our car over to its new home for the week.
A big bonus was checking in online for our flight, as my wife was pregnant it was up to me to manage the cases and being able to off load these to the luggage drop off was fantastic. It left us both free to circumnavigate security and get into the departure lounge where the aforementioned Trunki was opened with its array of colouring books, games and toys. A good friend of ours recommended taking a mixture of old favourites and new toys which was a great idea and kept little Quinn occupied for the four-hour flight.
On arrival in Fuerteventura we picked up our hire car. From experience it is definitely worth spending a little extra and using a more reputable company, as in the past we'd used cheaper alternatives where it had taken two hours to fill out the paperwork in the searing heat of an airport car park, only to find that they'd allocated us with something reminiscent of a car from the Flintstones. This time, it was well worth it as we had a virtually new car waiting for us just outside the terminal, and only half an hour after landing.
We arrived at our villa in good time and thanks to the pre-departure research, we knew where the best supermarket was for some everyday essentials. My wife is forever teasing me about how much time I take checking minor details, but for me this is key when you're away with children. If you get to know your surroundings before you go, it makes so much difference when you're there, knowing where the best restaurants and family-friendly attractions are.
Having the car it was so easy to get from the villa to different parts of the island, as well as being able to take ourselves off the beaten track and away from the built-up tourist areas. In the evenings we dined out which gave us some quality family time when we were able to reflect on our day.
Holidays for me are the highlight of the year and now even more so with my daughter. Seeing her face when we see the sea for the first time is just priceless. Creating those long-lasting memories without the distractions of work and everyday life is so important and sharing this time with your family is simply one of the most special things you can do. It's well worth wrestling with the Trunki!
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