Travelling with children

Follow Claire Smith's Mothering Heights on Twitter @MinistryOfMum

Follow Claire Smith's Mothering Heights on Twitter @MinistryOfMum - Credit: Archant

LAST year I spent the six weeks holidays at home with my children. Entertaining three kids from 7am to 7pm is not easy, especially when your other half takes off ONE day in the entire school break and all your friends and family members are mysteriously busy. So this year I vowed that we’d go away for two weeks and not only would my husband come, he’d also pay for it.

Fortunately, my husband agreed although his first suggestion was to take an 11 hour drive to France. Which totally made me wonder if he wants me dead. However, after a trip up the M1 to see his parents, he quickly realised that our family is at its very worse when in a car together.

We’re heading off this weekend on a plane. I’m half excited and half nervous because I’m not a brilliant flyer and, hey, it’s probably not a good idea to overdose on Valium before boarding a plane with three children. Or maybe it is.

The main reason I’m excited is because I get to fob off the kids onto my husband and, hopefully, he will see exactly why I spend most of my time a) moaning b) hiding and c) rocking in a corner. Also, the children will want to spend most of the day in the pool and I don’t do swimming since that time I was 10 and my mother took me to the local swimming centre with a costume that became see-through the minute it got wet.

Also, we’re meeting up with some mates who have children the same age thus ensuring that everyone is entertained whilst my bessie and I flick through trashy magazines and assure ourselves that we look way better in a bikini than Heidi Klum.


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That’s if we even get there. I’m sure there will be several incidents at the airport, especially around security, and a three hour flight with spirited children does not bode well.

So here are a few tips for those of you travelling with children this summer:

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1. DON’T.

There’s nothing wrong with holidaying in your own home. It might actually be fun, especially if you turn the downstairs loo into a parent panic room. If it all kicks off, which it’s likely to, then better it happens in the comfort of your sitting room than in full public view at the airport when your plane is delayed six hours.

2. IF YOU TRAVEL, WAIT UNTIL YOUR KIDS ARE OLDER.

I can’t think of anything worse than taking an active toddler on a flight. Oh yes I can – changing a dirty nappy in the teeny tiny toilet.

Slightly older children are okay because they can use the in-flight TV and even though it might cost you all your holiday spends to hire PSPs, it’s worth it. Electronic gadgets are the most important thing ever. Electronic gadgets are your friend. Who cares if the children end up square-eyed and talking like SpongeBob for the two weeks because you might get to read, nap and enjoy a G&T.

3. MILE HIGH CLUB IS NOT AN OPTION.

Because your children will spend the entire flight up and down to the toilet anyway. And we all know that the minute you get up to go yourself, all the children will follow.

4. TRAVEL JUST BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

So you can use Santa as a threat. Make sure the pilot has a direct line to Lapland. If you have to travel in the summer, use up your cabin bag allowance on sweets that you can then threaten to throw out of the window.

5. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FREE DRINK.

You’ll need it. And so will the people sat around you.

6. TURN DOWN ANY FOOD OFFERED.

It is not a good idea to accept any in-flight meal, no matter how hungry you are, if you’re travelling with a toddler. It will only end with that meal on your head.

7. VISIT THE PILOT.

Bribe the cabin crew into taking your children up to see the pilot then lock ‘em in the cockpit.

8. DON’T GO ON DAY TRIPS, BOAT RIDES ETC.

It’ll cost you a fortune and will have the exact same effect it has at home. The kids will be bored and want more and more, plus they’ll moan that they want to get back to the (free) pool.

9. FEIGN SLEEP.

At all times imitate sleeping, because everybody knows that you can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.

10. KIDS CLUB.

Don’t get sucked into sending your children to Kids Club, even if it’s free and means they’re gone for two hours. Do not be fooled into thinking this means you can sunbathe and drink beer because: KIDS CLUB = SPECIAL LOVE TIME.

I’m sure we’ll have a lovely time. Especially if I stock up on duty-free.

Hopefully see you in a couple of weeks after I’ve soaked up the sun. Even though I’ll be totally frazzled.

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