Discover the secrets to navigating London like a local.
6th April 2022
Your first family holiday with your kids can be incredibly rewarding, but we would be lying if we didn’t say that it comes with a fair amount of stress. Stansted Express has compiled some top tips and practical advice for staying sane on holiday with your little ones so everyone can have a fun and fuss-free time away from home.
If you are looking for some kid-friendly travel destinations, we have put together a list here.
For travel days, whether you're flying or catching a train or ferry, dress your kids in something bright and memorable so they’re easy to spot in a crowd, and in the unlikely event that they wander off.
When it comes to outfit logistics, chances are the weather conditions will change once you get to your destination. This is where having comfortable layers will be a godsend. Think a light jacket, a jumper or hoodie which will be comforting to kids when they fly but they can easily tie around their waist or throw in a rucksack once you land and it’s a bit warmer.
However daunting packing may seem, it’s one of your first opportunities to take a step back and plan the trip in its entirety. During this process you can plan for anything life will throw at you during the trip and decide what you might need to pack with you for each scenario.
Our general rule is to never bring more bags than hands if you can help it. You will thank us later. If one of those bags is a rucksack, this will make your life even easier.
For any parents who are packing for their family for the first time, we've listed some absolute essentials for each age group below.
Toddlers and Babies:
Don’t forget, there are many merits to involving your children in the packing process. Along with building excitement for the trip, helping to pack allows them to mentally prepare for being away from home and allows them to have some autonomy over the process. This may also be the time to talk to your kids about what to expect on holiday and on the journey itself which may ease any anxieties they have.
Give yourself extra time as everything takes longer when travelling with kids in tow. We would recommend doubling your estimation time of how long each leg of the journey will take.
If your kids are good sleepers, try and plan travel time with nap time, meaning they will nod off on the train or plane. If you struggle to get your little ones down for a nap on the best of days, try and get a nap in before you leave for your trip. This way they will be less cranky if they don’t manage to get any sleep at any point during the journey.
Getting to the airport on time with kids in tow can always seem like a daunting time, especially if there is driving involved too. This is where trains can actually be very handy. There are lots of different direct train options (like Stansted Express routes from London Liverpool Street to Stansted Airport) which will get you right outside major airports like Stansted and Gatwick.
The decision of whether to go for a hotel or a self-catering option is quite a big one when there are kids involved. It’s not just about the eating options, self-catering can provide you with more space and independence if you have toddlers or babies (think heating up bottles and doing your own laundry). Bigger hotels usually have kids-clubs or a creche which can be invaluable for keeping them entertained for a few hours.
Both have their merits, but sometimes it may just come down to your budget, self-catering can often be cheaper, but are often less ‘luxurious’.
This is another age-dependent one. You might make the decision to relax the rules a little when you’re on holiday, like when it comes to bedtimes, for example.
For some children, sticking to a routine may be ideal. But for other families, relaxing those boundaries may allow everyone a bit more freedom – including the parents. There’s less pressure on you to do a certain number of things by a definite time.
Kids can also take a little bit of time to adjust to a new environment. Having a packed schedule will leave you all a bit exhausted, so allow for plenty of breaks throughout the day. After all, holidays should be relaxing. You can return to the routine when you get back home.
So, whatever you have planned for your time away, we hope we have helped you solve some first-time jitters. Remember preparation will go a long way, but don’t be too hard on yourself if everything doesn’t go quite to plan. Happy holidays!