Traveling with Kids: Tips and Tricks for a Safe Vacation
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Traveling with kids is challenging, but it's also a great way to get them exploring. But how do you know if a destination is suitable for your children?
It is important to pay attention to hygiene, child-friendliness, the political situation and the climate of the destination. In addition, it is nice if the accommodation is equipped with basic facilities such as a bed, a chair and a cupboard.
In this article I tell you what you should pay attention to when traveling with children, so that you can experience an unforgettable holiday.
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Holiday with child: a safe environment
When you go on holiday with your children, you naturally want them to feel safe and that you don't have to worry about their well-being. Here are a few tips to make sure your kids feel safe during the holidays.
Find a nice accommodation with basic amenities
If you go on holiday with children, it is important to choose an accommodation that is child-friendly and has basic facilities such as a cot, high chair and a playground. This way your children can have fun while you can relax.
Choose an accommodation in a quiet area
A busy road can be dangerous for children, so try to choose accommodation in a quiet area with little traffic. This way your children can play outside safely and you can relax.
Find places where it is quieter
If you're going away for the day, look for places where it's quieter. Avoid busy boulevards and streets and, for example, go to a quiet village square where your children can walk around safely and eat an ice cream on a terrace.
Provide a clean environment
A clean environment is important for the health of your children. Therefore, try to choose an accommodation that is cleaned well and where your children can play safely without coming into contact with dirt or dangerous objects.
Keep an eye on your kids
When you are on vacation, you are often busy with all kinds of fun things and you may lose sight of your children. Therefore, always try to keep an eye on things and protect your children from dangerous situations.
Find accommodation with a fence and close to water
If your children can't swim yet, it's important to choose an accommodation with a fence and not too close to water. This way you prevent your children from accidentally ending up in the water.
Take regular breaks
If you are going away for the day, make sure you take regular breaks. This way your children can rest and take a nap when they are tired. This way you prevent them from becoming overtired and no longer feeling safe.
Where to go on holiday with (small) children?
If you are going on holiday with children, there are a number of important points that you should pay attention to when choosing a holiday destination. Below you will find general tips and suitable destinations for a great holiday with children.
Important points when choosing a holiday destination
- Hygiene: pay attention to the hygiene of the destination and accommodation, especially if you are traveling with young children.
- Comfortable travel: avoid extreme travel distances and provide good infrastructure so that you don't have to rush and everyone can start the holiday relaxed.
- Child-friendliness: choose a destination with sufficient activities and entertainment for children, such as a playground or play options in the area.
- Diseases: Be aware of any diseases prevalent in the region and take extra precautions if necessary.
- Political situation: avoid countries with a bad political situation and little security.
- Climate: take sensitive children to cold or heat into account and adjust the destination accordingly.
Suitable destinations for a holiday with children
- Europe: Europe is an ideal destination for a holiday with children. There are many child-friendly destinations within Europe where you don't have to travel far and where it is comfortable to stay. Think of the mountains in Austria, the beautiful villages in France or the beautiful dunes of Texel.
- Greek islands: the Greek islands are incredibly child-friendly and often have few travel distances. There are many beautiful and pleasant places to stay with children, such as Crete and Rhodes.
- Drenthe and Saxony: these regions in the Netherlands and Germany are very suitable for a holiday with young children. There are many holiday parks and play options in the area, such as the Mega Speelstad in Drenthe.
- Sunparks: these holiday parks are located near Paris and are very suitable for a holiday with children. There are many activities and entertainment for children, such as a subtropical swimming pool and a playground.
- Last minute offers: take advantage of last minute offers and book a holiday with a family discount. This way you can go on a cheap holiday with the family.
Choose a child-friendly accommodation
If you go on holiday with children, it is important to find a child-friendly accommodation. But what should you pay attention to?
Location and Region
The location of the accommodation is an important factor. If you are traveling with small children, it is useful if the accommodation is not too far from the beach or other nice places. An accommodation near a busy road can be very restless and disturb the night's sleep. Rather choose a quiet street or boulevard with nice terraces and restaurants where you can eat an ice cream with the family.
A child-friendly accommodation must in any case have basic facilities such as a bed, bedding, heating and a washing machine. It saves a lot of drag if these things are already present. A fence around the water can also prevent dangerous situations.
If you go on holiday with children, it is nice if fun things are organized for children. For example, check on Google Maps whether there is a playground or swing nearby. A nightclub right next to the accommodation, on the other hand, can cause nuisance. Therefore, also read reviews from other guests to find out whether the accommodation is child-friendly.
An accommodation that is flexible can be useful if you are traveling in pairs or if you have small children. For example, a sofa bed can be useful if your child cannot sleep in a large bed yet. An extra room can also be nice if your child needs to take a nap during the day.
Camping can be a fun option if you go on holiday with children. It is often cheaper than an average hotel room and you have more freedom. Make sure that the basic needs are present, such as a safe environment, clean sanitary facilities and a place to cook. Here too, location is important. Choose a quiet campsite near nice places.
When you go back home, it's nice if you have tired children who can relax for a while. Therefore choose an accommodation near a village square or boulevard where you can eat an ice cream and grab a terrace before you walk back to the accommodation. This way the children can relax for a while before the bus or plane leaves.
When choosing a child-friendly accommodation, always try to take the needs of your children into account. What do they find important? This way you prevent your children from getting bored and you can enjoy the holiday together in a relaxed way.
Travel vaccinations for your child
When traveling with your child, it is important to check whether there are any mandatory or recommended vaccinations for the country you are going to. The number of vaccinations required depends on the country you are going to and how long you will be staying there. It is therefore smart to work in a more targeted way and to be advised by an expert.
When are vaccinations required?
For some countries, vaccinations are mandatory by the European Union. This applies, for example, to countries where yellow fever occurs. For other countries, vaccinations are not mandatory, but strongly recommended. It is therefore important to view the website of the GGD for personal advice.
Which vaccinations are necessary for your child?
It is important to know which vaccinations are necessary for your child. Some vaccinations are already given in the Dutch National Immunization Programme, but additional vaccinations are required for other countries. It is therefore smart to make an appointment in time at the GGD or another department for travel vaccinations.
When should you start vaccinating?
It is important to start vaccinating on time. Some vaccinations must be given at least a few months before departure, while other vaccinations can be given shorter in advance. It all depends on the type of vaccination and the country you are going to. It is therefore important to start planning the vaccinations on time.
What are the risks of not vaccinating?
If your child is not vaccinated, he or she may get sick during the holidays. Some diseases are very contagious and can be easily transmitted. For example, hepatitis A can cause inflammation of the liver and is highly contagious. Flu-like symptoms and fever are also common problems in unvaccinated children.
Where can you go for vaccination advice?
You can contact the GGD, the general practitioner, the consultation office or the traveler's consultation hour for vaccination advice. It is important to make an appointment on time, so that your child can offer optimal protection during the holidays. Some countries require specific vaccinations, such as Turkey where hepatitis A is common.
What if your child has already had vaccinations?
If your child has already had vaccinations, it is important to check whether they are still valid. Some vaccinations provide long-term protection, while other vaccinations have to be repeated after a number of years. It is therefore important to view the latest update of the National Immunization Program and to consult with an expert.
Preparing your child for the holidays
A holiday with children often requires some extra preparation. So is preparing your child for the journey. Below you will find a number of tips to prepare your child for the holidays.
Explain what will happen
Before the holiday starts, it is important to explain to your child what will happen. For example, tell them that you are going to another country by plane and that this will take a few hours. Explain that your child must sit in a seat and that seat belts must be fastened during takeoff and landing.
Pack the backpack together
Let your child help pack a backpack for the road. Discuss what things you need to bring with you and what things your child would like to take with you. Make sure that the backpack is not too full and change the items every now and then, so that your child does not get bored. Think of colors, card games or a doll.
Play games on the go
To make the journey more fun, you can play various games along the way. Think, for example, of spotting certain things, such as planes or cars. Or play card games together.
Reward good behavior
Reward your child for behaving well during the trip. This can be done, for example, by doing something fun at the destination or by giving a small gift. This motivates your child to keep behaving well.
Make it fun for your child
Try to make the trip as fun as possible for your child. For example, you can make a play of the trip and involve your child in it. Or promise your child that you will go to a playground together when you arrive at your destination.
Tell about the holiday destination
Tell your child about the holiday destination and what you will be doing there. For example, show photos of the hotel or its surroundings. This way your child knows what to expect and does not get upset if it is something different than expected.
Traveling with children
One of the most important things to arrange when traveling with children is the passport or identity card. Children need their own passport or identity card to travel. Henriette Guest of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee indicates that it is important to start applying for this on time. It can take several weeks before the document is ready.
As a parent, you have parental authority over your children. If you are divorced and your ex-partner also has parental authority, you must have permission from your ex-partner to travel abroad with your children. If, as a parent, you only have parental authority, you do not need permission from the other parent. If there is guardianship, you must have permission from the guardian.
Border control and security
At the border control, the consent of the other parent or guardian may be requested. So make sure you have this permission with you. In addition, you may be asked about the amount of money you have with you and the reason for your trip. Be prepared for this and give clear answers.
Safety is of course also an important topic when traveling with children. It is important to know that the Marechaussee is responsible for safety at the airport and on the train. In addition, the Marechaussee works together with the Ministry of Justice and Defense to guarantee the safety of travelers.
Select travel destination
When traveling with children, it is important to choose a child-friendly destination. There are many beautiful places in the world to choose from. You will be surprised by the impressive nature around Cape Town, the picturesque bays in Thailand and the extensive safaris in Africa.
If you are looking for a safe country to travel with children, the United States and Europe are good options. But countries such as Thailand and South Africa are also safe to travel with children, provided you take the right precautions.
Travel hacks and tips
To make traveling with kids easier, here are some handy travel hacks and tips you can use:
- To overcome the jet lag, it is best to let the children get used to the new rhythm before you leave.
- Make a checklist of all the essentials you need to bring with you and check them off when you've packed everything.
- If you have a long flight, it is best to choose a night flight so that the children can sleep.
- Stay in a child-friendly place, such as a cowboy ranch in America or an ostrich farm in South Africa.
- If you go to New York, a visit to Mickey Mouse at Disney World should not be missed.
- If you want to put together a dream trip to Thailand, it is best to enlist the help of travel experts such as Rickshaw Travel. They know the most beautiful places and can put together a tailor-made trip for you.
In short, traveling with children can be a lot of fun if you make the right preparations. Choose a suitable holiday destination, arrange the necessary documents in time and make use of handy travel hacks and tips. This way you can discover the world together with your children and make beautiful memories.
What should you take with you on a long trip with children?
When traveling with children, it is important to think carefully about what you are taking with you. Below you will find a number of important travel items that should not be missing in your luggage.
Bring toys and cuddly toys
Take enough toys and cuddly cloths with you for the journey and at the destination. This way the children always have something to do and they have their familiar things with them. Make sure the toy is not too big, so that it is easy to carry.
Important items at hand
You carry important items, such as passports, telephone and money, in a separate piece of luggage. This way you avoid losing it and you can quickly access it when you need it.
Provide freedom of movement
Make sure that the children have sufficient freedom of movement during the trip. For example, take a baby carrier or pram with you. This way they can even sleep on the road and have the opportunity to move.
Use a homestay or Airbnb
If you are traveling with children, it can be useful to use a homestay or Airbnb. This way you have more space and a permanent place where you can store your things. Moreover, these accommodations are often affordable and you can find the nicest places this way.
Extra luggage for mountain areas
When traveling to mountain areas, it is important to bring extra luggage. Think of warm clothing, hiking boots and a backpack. This way you are well prepared for the mountains and you can enjoy the surroundings to the fullest.
Train yourself to pack efficiently
To pack efficiently, it is important to train yourself. For example, make a list of all the things you need and pack the same way each time. This way you prevent forgetting important items and you can pack quickly when you go on a trip.
Ask people for help
Traveling with children can be stressful at times. So ask people for help if you don't feel like it anymore. This way others can help you with the luggage or entertain the children, so that you can relax for a while.
Avoid endless days on the road
Try to avoid long days on the road. For example, plan a stopover so that the children can move and play for a while. This way you prevent them from getting bored and you can still enjoy the trip.
Be prepared for any areas
When traveling to remote areas it is important to be well prepared. For example, take enough food and drink with you and make sure you have good travel insurance. This way you are prepared for any situations and you can enjoy the trip carefree.
Luggage and supplies
When traveling with children, packing the luggage can be a challenge. Here are some tips to make sure you have everything you need without carrying too much.
Check the rules of the airline
Before you start packing, it's important to check the airline's rules. Each airline has its own rules about the maximum size and weight of luggage, including hand luggage. Some airlines allow you to bring a buggy or car seat at no extra cost, while others charge extra for this. Make sure you are aware of these rules before you start packing.
Make the most of the space in your luggage
To be able to take as much stuff as possible with you, it is important to make optimal use of the space in your luggage. Invest in cubes or compact bags to pack your things. Foldable bags and trolley cases are also useful, as they take up little space when empty.
Only bring the necessities
It is tempting to take everything you have at home with you on a trip, but this is not always necessary. Only bring the essentials, such as clothing, toiletries and airplane toys (reviewed here). Moreover, you are often not allowed to take large packages of ointments, shampoos and shower gel in your hand luggage. Therefore, buy alternative products in smaller packages, such as mini shaving cream from HEMA.
Invest in lightweight travel clothes
When traveling with children, it is important to bring comfortable clothes. Invest in lightweight travel clothes that are easy to wear and wash. Put on layers so you and your kids can adjust to the temperature. Think of blouses, jeans and trekking or outdoor pants. There are special baby travel cots and car seats for the smallest family member.
Combine underwear and accessories
To save space, it is useful to combine underwear and accessories. For example, skirts and blouses can be combined with each other. Creeks and light shoes are useful to carry. In addition, it is useful to take a shoulder bag with you, so that you have your hands free.
How long to drive with child?
If you are going on a trip with children, you have to take the duration of the ride into account. How long to drive with child? That is a question many parents ask themselves. The answer is not always straightforward, because it depends on several factors. Below you can read what you should pay attention to during long car journeys with children.
From what age can you make long car journeys?
Babies may officially be transported in a baby car seat from birth. But how long to drive with a baby? That depends on the baby itself. Some babies love to sit in the car and fall asleep right away, others get restless quickly. In general, babies cannot sit in the same position for very long periods of time. That is why it is important to take regular breaks.
How long can a car journey take with children?
There is no definition of how long a car trip with children can last. It depends on the age of the child, the distance you cover and the holiday destination. In general, children from the age of three can sit still longer. But even then it is important to take enough breaks. A car journey of more than six hours is really too long for most children.
How often should you take a break during a long car ride?
It is important to take regular breaks during a long car journey. How often you need to take a break depends on the age of the child and the duration of the ride. In general, you should take a break every two hours. During the break, children can stretch their legs, go to the toilet and eat and drink something. This prevents them from sitting in the same position for too long and having too little energy.
How can you combine the breaks with eating and drinking?
You can combine the breaks with a meal. For example, bring a picnic blanket and some healthy snacks, such as fruit and vegetables. This way the children can move around and eat and drink healthy. If your child is potty trained, you can also combine a visit to the toilet with the break.
How can you entertain children during the car ride?
It is important to entertain children during the car ride (here the best toys). This will prevent them from getting bored and annoying. Below you will find a number of tips:
- Bring toys such as Duplo, Busy Bags and Spy Bottles.
- Read from a book or let your child read on their own.
- Put on a nice movie or series.
- Play games, such as 'I see, I see what you don't see'.
- Let your child draw or color.
How can you ensure that children are safe during the car journey?
It is important that children are safe during the car journey. So make sure you have a suitable car seat. There are several sponsored brands that offer safe car seats, such as Britax, Römer and Pebble Pro. Make sure that the car seat is in the back seat and that the child is properly secured. Also note the emphatic rear seat rule. If the child is not yet big enough for a car seat, it must be transported in a baby car seat.
Practical tips for long car journeys with children
Below you will find a number of practical tips for long car journeys with children:
- Preferably plan the ride in advance and explain the route to the children.
- Bring a camp bed so that your child can move freely during breaks.
- Provide plenty of entertainment, such as toys and movies.
- Bring enough food and drink.
- Take into account your child's motor development and let it move regularly.
- Make sure you have enough luggage tips so that you can easily take everything with you.
- Stop every two hours for a break.
- Let your child regularly stretch their legs during breaks.
- Use a rental car if you go further afield.
- Bring a play mat for the picnic area.
- Provide a DIY toilet visit.
- Be considerate of each other and be patient during long car journeys.
Eat and drink on the go
When traveling with children, it is important to make sure they drink enough. Especially when the weather is hot, it is important to stay hydrated. Below you will find a number of tips to ensure that your children drink enough on the road:
- Choose fresh drinks such as water, fruit juice, dairy drinks and chocolate milk. Make sure you limit the amount of sugar and calories somewhat.
- Open packs of drinks in advance so that your children can drink immediately if they are thirsty.
- Dilute fruit juice with water to reduce the amount of sugar.
- Add a piece of fruit to the water for a fresher drink. For example, try strawberries, lemon or apple with honey.
- Put a large bottle of water in the cool box or freezer so that it gets cold faster and you can refill it several times.
- Rinse empty bottles and refill them at the next stop.
- Opt for eco-friendly options like a reusable water bottle.
Eating and drinking on the go: healthy snacks on the go
In addition to drinking, it is also important to bring healthy snacks for the road. Below you will find a number of tips for healthy snacks:
- Choose fresh fruit such as apples, strawberries and blueberries. Cut the fruit into pieces in advance and put it in a container in the cool box.
- Make a healthy sandwich with, for example, iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber.
- Give your kids a pack of raisins or dried fruit as a snack.
- Put a leaf of fur or iceberg lettuce on a cheese or ham sandwich for a surprisingly fresh combination.
- Make a list of goodies you packed and put it at the top of your bag so you don't forget.
It's important to know how to keep your kids safe on vacation, and there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Choose an accommodation with the right amenities, such as a cot, a high chair and a playground. It is also important that the accommodation is quiet and that there is little traffic.
- Take regular breaks and try to have a day away where your children can relax and have a quiet place where they can safely play outside. Also try to find a place where it is quiet and where children are safe.
- Choose an accommodation with good hygiene to make your children feel safe and try to keep an eye on the objects they play with so they don't get dirty or dangerous objects.
Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?
Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Speelkeuze.nl is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.