The sheer amount of planning and packing that goes into a minor domestic holiday with two young kids honestly rivals an Everest climb! It’s something that the vast majority of Australian families undertake every year; travelling all across the country (and world) for adventure, relaxation and quality time together. So how come when it’s me doing it I feel like a lone pioneer, tackling an epic journey that surely someone one day will write ballads about (mainly focused on my sheer bravery).
We recently tackled a 10 day holiday in beautiful Tasmania to round off an insanely hectic year! So naturally I am freshly armed with handy tips for traveling with young kids (one 2.5 year old and an 8 month old)…. so let me help you! Because I know I trawl the internet for advice before attempting anything bigger than grocery shopping with kids.
- Don’t convince yourself that cabin baggage will suffice. Because even if you are going for only one night and manage to squeeeeeeeeze everything into one bag while wearing all your clothes at once (we’ve all been there), when you’re trekking across the tarmac to your plane (which is always parked about 3 kms away) and wrangling small children you will NOT want to be carrying excess baggage. Trust me, you’ll be wishing you paid the $39 for a checked in allowance.
- Read the boring fine print. Make sure that you know without a doubt what your ticket includes. Don’t do as we did and assume that 23kgs of baggage allowance could be spread across multiple bags! If the airline website is unclear then give them a call to check…. and while you’re there ask them to confirm what baby items are included in the ticket (portacot, car sear, pram etc) and what time the check in opens.
- Remember: Airports have cafes. Yes the coffee might be second rate but make a point to arrive at the start of check in opening and once you’ve dropped off the excess baggage hit up the cafe until it’s boarding time. This gives you breathing room for traffic, emergency nappy/outfit changes, feeding stops, and all those other nasty delays that travel likes to throw at you.
- Be realistic with what you expect from the holiday. Committing to daily activities or pre booking too many things might just back fire a little. We researched a LOT into ideas of what to do and had a list of options detailing travel times, costs etc…. but instead of scheduling in what to do on what days we decided as we went along. And we allowed one day when we basically all stayed in bed resting, reading, watching tv! It was bliss and so so needed amongst the exhausting trekking about every other day.
- Find your local supermarket. Before leaving, find out what supermarkets will be local to you. If easily accessible you can hit one up as one of the first stops after arriving. This way you won’t need to pack as many nappies, wipes, baby food etc. If I had done this properly I’d have been aware that nothing resembling a stocked supermarket existed within almost an hour of where we were staying! Whoops.
- The kids will be exhausted! – which YAY means they will (might) sleep better… but be aware that some days it might just be all too much, especially for the littlest ones. If you try to attempt too much in one day or push them too far you might need to prepare for tantrum throwing on top of Mount Wellington.
- Decide early on that you are going to see the sights from their perspective. This means accepting that a 30 minute hike might take two hours (as they stop to point at every bug), that feeding the ducks is more exciting than a 200 year old bridge and hot chips on the dock will trump eating at any restaurant every time. Don’t get caught up in what you might be ‘missing out on’ but stay focused on this brief moment in life where you have little ones to show you a new perspective of the world.
Above all prepare for plans to be changed, be flexible where you can and try desperately to laugh at any airport hiccups…. they happen to everyone! We’ve discovered that any time spent in airports always involves some kind of nappy/explosion/messy mishap! We now just know it’s coming and try to handle with a bit of humour.
I’ll be posting our ‘been there, done that’ guide to family travel in Tasmania over at babybean.co this month. Includes a few fails and a pretty good amount of wins!!
More about Elise
“Wife to someone ridiculously handsome. Mum to sassy, hilarious little Evie and gorgeous baby Lola. Past pro events planner who you now find in my loved escape of both exploring the inspiring and FUN world of kids interiors and fashion, while writing REAL, relatable and (hopefully) humorous posts on this incredible and overwhelming parenting gig!” @_baby_bean
Elise’s Website: babybean.co