Advice for travelling with kids
Travelling with kids is rewarding, yet daunting at times. At Andean Trails we love to help put together itineraries that work for families with children of all ages. Having kids ourselves, certainly helps... as does research. Which is why Kat is about to embark on her first trip with children (aged 3 and 5) to Ecuador.
We asked Kat how she is preparing for the adventure, and these are some of her tips.
Plane journeys with kids
I'm not going to go into details of the potential horrors lurking there - but in short, prepare yourself with plenty of snacks and distraction - and consider taking a tablet, too. Taking games/ colouring books/ suitable toys that are new to them is a good idea. Have a look at my blog on plane travel and feel my pain.
Plan your holiday with kids in mind
Where I have been happy to have busy days before, I am now looking for an itinerary that allows for down-time and free days every so often, and has a degree of flexibility so that we can give the kids a chance to potter.
Having hopped from one local bus to the next in the past, I have decided to spend the extra money to hire a private driver for us - and in fact for some of the journey we are hiring a car ourselves. This way we have more influence over the standard of driving.
Taking car seats for your children
Most vehicles will not have car seats and hiring them as part of car hire is expensive. It may well be worth considering taking them with you from home - check with the airline on conditions and costs.
Get them involved
Once I had decided on our trip, I ordered as many books as I could find on South America and Ecuador in particular - we've been reading them together, have spoken lots about how life is different there and have started to listen to Latin American music. Anything to get them in the mood and develop a better understanding of where they are going.
Santa brought a sturdy (kids) camera to take photos along the way - I can't wait to see what treasures we discover (amongst the shots of blank spaces and close ups of shoes).
Think carefully about what to pack
Make sure you pack for all eventualities and check on local weather conditions - decent shoes, UV protection hats and swim wear, raingear (jacket and bottoms) are essential but I am also thinking of loose fitting long sleeved clothes for the rainforest, and in general for hot days when I want their skin still covered.
Slings and carriers will likely work better than a pram, if you have the option.
I'll be packing Paracetamol and Ibuprofen for the kids, as well as a fever thermometer - from experience one of them will definitely run a temperature at some point, it seems to be karma for us! I tend to always have a bottle of Paracetamol in hand luggage too.
It's hard to think about not just yourself, and believe it or not, I almost forgot that I should check what immunisations the children will need, if any. So I'll be making an appointment with the travel nurse!
When travelling, in particular at the airport or other busy places, write your mobile number on their arms. This is a tip I just came across recently, and given the freedom-loving nature of my daughters, I think I will give it a try! Others may find that backpacks with reigns or adventure belts might work a treat (I'm thinking busy markets!) and other still might even want to use a tracking device for their kids. Whatever you choose is up to you, but make sure you think about how you will "handle" busy places in unfamiliar surroundings.
Check their passports
Make sure you check your kid's passports well in advance to give yourself time to renew them without the stress and panic of a last minute renewal!
Have a good tip yourself? Make sure you share it with Kat!
Family trips to consider
Do contact us if you are thinking of going to South America for a family holiday.
Inspiration can be found on the families page of the Andean Trails web site.