Admit it, before having kids you used to be one of those travellers who would spot a mother and screaming child in the boarding area and hope that they were not seated near you or even better, not on the same flight. Now as a single parent you have those very same issues to contend with and you are probably way too busy to notice that it is now you getting the looks. Here are three travel mistakes to avoid when hitting the road with your kids.
The quickest way to increase the stress levels is for your child to say that they are hungry, want something to eat or are just plain bored and want something to do. As a parent there is no such thing as travelling light and you will live to regret the moment where you did not pack an item that you really need right now. The key to reducing the stress levels and demands you may be faced with especially as a single parent, is to pack for all possible eventualities and then add some more items just in case. The worst mistake that you can make is to be unable to meet the demands of a mini-emergency such as a change of clothes or something that can be resolved fairly easily provided you have everything that you need to hand. Your carry bag should have some essential items such as water, snacks, some minor first-aid supplies and a spare change of clothes together with maybe a book or a favourite toy. Being able to resolve a minor issue by producing the required item with ease will reduce the stress levels and also the glares from people who are yet to understand what parenting is all about.
Many young kids find any sort of journey quite stressful and setting out on a road trip even for just a couple of hours can be quite a traumatic experience if you are not suitably prepared. Many kids have a favourite toy and this can be a great source of comfort in times of stress, so make sure that you do not leave home without their travel buddy, whatever stuffed toy that this happens to be. There is nothing worse than being stuck in traffic or just taking longer than expected without having a suitable distraction to hand in order to calm their anxiety, so remember to make sure that you have an extra passenger next time you travel, it could make all the difference to how the journey goes.
You know your kids routine and habits better than anyone of course but a common mistake that is made when organizing travel plans is to not pay attention to this when setting off on your journey. You may want to get to where you are going by lunchtime, but if you know that your child is particularly grouchy first thing in the morning and has a sleep in the afternoon, then you will find that travelling goes a whole lot easier if you make plans to fit around their routine if at all possible. Setting off at lunchtime after they have eaten and letting them sleep through most of the journey is surely better than battling with their mood and making the trip a lot more stressful. Think about your routine and where possible try to make travel plans that would fit around this schedule because when it comes to kids, timing is everything.
Elizabeth Bailey is travel consultant and a single mum. She enjoys getting out with the kids and loves sharing her experiences on travel blogs. When Elizabeth needs a hire car, she uses Expedia Australia Car Hire
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