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Family travel: 8 tips on how to travel with kids, stress-free

Calm the little ones down on your holidays.

Little girl watching movie on the seat-back TV screen while enjoying her airline meal during travel with family.
Travelling with family, especially small children, can be a stress-free process for the well-prepared. (Photo: Gettyimages)

The June school holiday is rolling around soon. Are you bringing your kids overseas? Apart from snagging the top travel deals so that your family can enjoy the best vacation without breaking the bank, taking care of and attending to your children in a new environment is also one of the most stress-inducing concerns.

Travelling with kids can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be stressful. Here are some tips to help you manage your children better when travelling.

1. Plan ahead

Before you go, research your destination and plan your itinerary. This will help you make the most of your time and avoid last-minute stress. Choosing a family-friendly destination like Japan, Canada and Australia will also take the load off your chest. Opting for a tour group will save you the trouble of worrying and getting around too.

If you’re considering Japan, check out these things you can do in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Okinawa, and the Hokkaido region.

2. Involve the kids

If your kids are old enough, let them help plan the trip and choose some activities. For instance, would they prefer a trip to the zoo or the aquarium? This will give them a sense of ownership and excitement about the trip.

Little boy face-to-face with a baby kangaroo in a wildlife park travel with children
Little boy face-to-face with a baby kangaroo in a wildlife park. (Photo: Gettyimages)

3. Pack smart

Rather than mindlessly throwing things you need into the luggage, make a packing list first. You’d want to travel light by packing only the absolutely necessary items, unless you prefer to lug multiple bags of different sizes around.

The exception comes when you’re travelling with an infant or a toddler. You will want to pack more diapers, wet wipes and extra clothes, for emergency situations. Bringing along any necessary baby gear despite its size, like prams and portable cots, will also be extremely helpful.

If you need to re-stock on some baby care products, you’d be delighted to know that Amazon Singapore is having a Baby & Toddler Fair with up to 50 per cent off.

4. Keep them occupied

Owing to their bursts of energy and relatively short attention span, travelling for long hours either on the plane, train, car or bus may trigger their inner grumpy imps. Bringing plenty of snacks, water, and activities will help keep your kids occupied during the trip. Giving your kids a seat by the window will also keep them entertained by the scenery outside.

If you’re travelling on commercial airlines, you can try asking for kids' activities like colouring books, toys and games. While the things provided vary from airline to airline, there’s no harm in asking. Who wouldn’t like some freebies that also serve as memorabilia, anyway?

Keep your kids/children occupied when travelling
Keep your kids occupied when travelling. (Photo: Gettyimages)

5. Be flexible

Travelling with kids often means unexpected delays or changes in plans. You must be prepared to adjust your itinerary as needed and stay calm no matter how frustrating in the face of unexpected situations. Sometimes, this may mean cancelling items or sacrificing activities in your itinerary. It is also better to get open-dated admission tickets to attractions.

6. Keep a routine

Try to maintain a similar routine to what your children are used to at home. Sticking to regular meal times and bedtimes as much as possible will help them adjust to the new environment better. It may also be ideal to take the red-eye flight so that your kids can adhere to their bedtime and sleep (at least for a while) on the plane instead of making a ruckus—and you getting side-eyed by fellow passengers.

Little girl hugging her doll and sleeping during the flight
Little girl hugging her doll and sleeping during the flight. (Photo: Gettyimages)

7. Be patient

Travelling with kids can be challenging, but stay patient and positive. Remember that your children are experiencing new things and may need extra support and reassurance. You can’t control their actions, but you definitely can control yours.

One way of doing it is to remove your child from the offending object or behaviour, counting down to 20 until your own emotions are controlled and you can speak to them in a calm manner. This

8. Stay safe

Be sure to follow safety guidelines and precautions, such as wearing masks and washing hands frequently. Keeping an eye on your children at all times is crucial in a new environment to ensure their safety.

Check airfare here: Skyscanner | Trip.com | Expedia
Book accommodations and activities here: Agoda | Booking.com | Klook | KKday | HotelsCombined
Save big, get the all-inclusive pass & explore your destination in-depth: GoCity
General info here: Tripadvisor
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And while you are at it, get your travel insurance with Alliance Assistance | Income | Prudential!

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