Lizette O. has never been a boy scout, but when it comes to travelling with toddlers she swears by their motto: Be Prepared.
South African born Lizette and her Kiwi husband, James were London-based globetrotters for 10 years before settling in New Zealand to raise their boys. But work and family commitments have meant that Owen (4) and baby James (18 months) have already flown to South Africa, Australia and around New Zealand many times in their short lives. Lizette says with careful planning and by putting their needs first, her children are generally happy and settled wherever they go in the world.
Lizette’s Top Tips for Travel:
- Start preparing two weeks in advance ― pack away some favourite books and toys. That way when you bring them out on the trip they will be something familiar, but at the same time new and exciting.
- Talk with your children about where you are going, who you will see, how you will travel and what it will be like there.
- Pack a “24-hour kit”. Lizette’s travel bag includes nutritious snacks, 3 outfits of clothing per child, 10 nappies, milk powder for 6 bottles, baby wipes, plastic bags for rubbish and her trusty medicine bag (teething gel, nappy cream, Pamol and a syringe.)
- Join Koru Club. The lounge away from the general bustle is a welcome stress-saver, but the real boon is in the food. “There is always food at Koru Club; even if you are in a hurry you can grab fresh food and feed the whole family without having to think. It’s a life saver!”
- Time your flights with the children in mind. If possible, base your flights around the children’s routines, so you are not getting them up too early, nor disrupting sleep patterns with late-night arrivals.
- Take something to suck when the plane is going down. Time the baby’s bottle so that he is hungry and wants to suck at that time.
Have a plan for when you arrive…
When travelling with small children, the journey is only half the picture. Lizette and James always have a plan for arrival at a new destination too. Experience has shown them that the children will settle quickly if they feel their new place is home. “When we get to the hotel, James will take the children and walk them around. [He says] This is our kitchen; this is your room – and our room – see how close we are? We will be here when you wake up…”
Another helpful strategy – ensure they have pyjamas or a cuddly washed in your usual washing powder. “That way it smells like home,” explains Lizette.
If you bottle feed, and will be travelling a lot, start your babies on S26 milk powder, available everywhere in the world. “Also our babies always drink it cold” says Lizette, “so we never have to worry about heating milk.”
Happy child – Happy travel
So there it is; a settled child is a happy child. Be prepared. Build your travel around routines wherever possible and try not to stress. That way you’ll all have a pleasant trip. Bon voyage!
Do you have travel tips to share? I’d love you to leave a comment.