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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Smulders

Top tips for travelling with kids

Taking the family on a trip for the first time can be very exhausting and perhaps overwhelming. But fear not, we have gathered the top tips from frequent-travel parents to ensure your holiday goes as smooth as it can be. From Dubai to Germany, all the way to North America, these travel families have some mileage of experience to share with us.

Getting ready

Plan. Do your research and create an itinerary in advance Find out schedules and think about plan b options. You can always change plans, but it will give you peace of mind and something to look forward to for the kids.

Find out about documents you might need. If you are travelling solo as a parent, it is likely you will need special documentation to leave and enter countries. Some countries might require a simple letter of authorization from the non-travelling parent while others might need the documentation to be legalised. Chances are you might not be asked for it at all, but you don’t want to be sent back home after a long flight, just because of a missing document. Better to be safe than sorry.


Make a check list. The probability that you forget something is smaller if you have one. If your kids are old enough, they should be participating in the making of the list or packing to let you know what they wouldn’t like to miss.

Travel light. Try to pack considering different looks with a limited number of pieces; layers are always a good idea.

Pack an extra set of clothes in the hand luggage. In the instance that your luggage gets lost or delayed, you will still have a spare set of clothes while you wait.

Don’t forget to bring extra food/ snacks. If you have a child with special food requirements or preferences, it is always a good idea to carry your own favourites from home with you. Most kids are not keen on salty peanuts provided on airplanes.

Bring a car seat. Nowadays most car rental companies and taxis can provide car seats for children on request, but if you are going to a country where this is not the norm, then ensure you take one with you or be prepared to buy one on arrival. There are some portable seats that double as a back back (available in toy stores) if your child fits in the right age category.

Check the luggage allowance for transit. Not only something important to check with the airline, but also to confirm with the airports you are to travel to. In some terminals, trolleys (even the toddle’s trolleys) are not allowed.

There is not such thing as too much entertainment.

"Books, iPads or travel size video games are always helpful for long hauls to compliment the in-flight entertainment. Keep handy charging cables and batteries for when needed." Yasmin, mom of three, Dubai

En route

Be prepared to carry your luggage. Some airports benefit from concierge services you can hire to help you with the luggage, but this is not the case in most airports in the world. Sometimes you might have to load and unload the luggage 4 times before you are out of the airport and you don’t want to be doing that with children running around. So again, travel light.

Practical shoes. Make sure the kids wear comfortable shoes that can be easily put on and off by themselves. It is not only helpful when transiting through security in the airport, but also in the airplane.


Onion look. The temperatures can vary when travelling to different countries as well as the transit in the airport and aircraft. It is useful to carry layers to put over or remove in case of temperature changes.

Age matters. Most aircrafts provide a baby carrier or “basinet” if requested with anticipation before the flight (sometimes a minimum of 48 hours prior request). Once in the system, you will be seated front row as the basinet needs to be attached to the wall of the airplane. This is provided for infants up to 18 months and it is placed in front of the parent’s seats. Usually it is easy to travel with infants as the basinet provides the right space for the babies to sleep regardless of the distance.

When children are too big to fit the basinet yet too small to get a seat of their own, they are to sit on the lap of parents and at this age (usually between 1 and 2), it is easier to travel short distances (no longer than 5 hours) as it can be uncomfortable for parents.

“In my experience the older, the “easier” it gets (mine are 3 and 7 years old) . They understand better what is going on, what it is expected from them and tend to be more patient” Erika, mom of two, Germany

Say yes to stop overs. It might have been a thing you enjoyed while travelling solo, but having a break from the airplane to stretch your legs and move is important for the kids and also the parents.


Explain the process. If they are old enough, go through the detail of what will happen when you land, the check in process, security check, boarding, so that they know the sequence of events and they don’t ask every 5 minutes. Younger children don’t have always a sense of time, so letting them know with recognisable moments in the day as for example “We will arrive when the sun is down” will always help.

“Consider a hotel stay with all inclusive. It’s good to have the flexibility when travelling with small children” Elin, mom of three, Sweden

Flexibility will be your new favourite word

Above everything else, don't forget to take your positive attitude. Being flexible and set expectations low is definitely key to make of every adventure, a memorable one.


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