When you were young, free and single, you probably adored the idea of venturing overseas on a long haul flight. You could use your time in the aeroplane to catch a couple of movies, enjoy a couple of glasses of your favorite tipple and enjoy some R and R with your travel pillow before landing in your chosen destination. However, fast forward to now, and you may have a young brood in tow. Because you haven’t been able to face the concept of long haul travel with your offspring you’ve kept your vacations to road trips or short haul travel.
Instead of succumbing to the boring and mundane, it’s time to explore the option of far flung travel with your family. While it might seem stressful in the first instance, there are ways to survive and even thrive, when you embark on your first long haul family trip.
While you may have been pretty spontaneous in the past, and you’ve never really been too bothered about booking a seat, because you aren’t bothered about where you sit, it’s time to change your mindset. Without booked seats, you risk arriving at the airport, checking in and then being allocated separate seats all over the plane. This isn’t conducive to a stress free trip. While it costs a little extra, booking your seats means that you have your pick of areas in the cabin. Do you want to sit over the wing? Do you want to be by the window? Or do you fancy extra leg room? You can ensure you have this if you book your seats.
Try and book early, and if you are on a budget go for flights that are at off peak times. A flight at 2 pm will be much more expensive than a flight at 2 am. While it may seem like madness to fly at such an ungodly hour, you may find that your kids sleep for the majority of the flight, removing a lot of the stress from your travel worries.
It’s tempting to opt for a high end hotel when traveling overseas. This would have been a great idea if traveling as a couple, but as a small brood, hotels will often have you make do with interlinking rooms. The noise in hotels can be disruptive to your children’s sleep and there is less flexibility with dining. Instead, consider a short term let, especially if you are venturing to a nation for an extended length of time. Heading to Singapore for your family adventure? Check out HDB and their list of short term rental flats. These are perfect as they are more homely and you can cook your own food in a proper kitchen area. This is great for the fussiest of eaters.
If you’re heading to Iceland, check out Airbnb and secure yourself a great little apartment in Reykjavik. This cosmopolitan city is the ideal base from which to explore the island. There is very little crime in Iceland, making it a safe place for kids. It also has a great mix of activities on offer from snowshoeing to whale watching and from Northern Lights hunting to volcano tours. Having a rental car and a short term let will make your adventure more comfortable and stress free.
Some kids are not great travelers. They might get bored easily, start getting ratty and frustrated, and they can begin to misbehave. Don’t allow bad behavior to set in and set down some ground rules from the beginning. If your kids are a little older, empower them with some responsibility. Giving them a focus allows them to channel their energy into something positive. Give them their own front loading backpack and get them to pack their own luggage. Give them some guidance, but get them out of your hair for a little while. With a backpack, they will also be able to keep their luggage in the cabin of the plane rather than in the hold. This means they will always have their beloved tablet on hand, their music will be an arm’s length away, and there will be less chance of them getting bored.
Keep all travel documents in your luggage, so you aren’t stressing about whether your kids have packed their passports. Take responsibility for all visas, passports and money. When you land, you can then hand out a small allowance for spends if you wish. This can also give your little cherubs the chance to budget on their travels.
Heading overseas with a small brood can induce palpitations. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Follow this guide and make your long haul trek stress free.