Guide to keeping your kids safe while on holiday

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Woohoo, you’re on leave, school’s on break and it’s high time for that annual escape! Whether it’s a theme-park getaway or a sun-drenched beach vacation, isn’t it time you all enjoyed some quality time together?

Ideally, holidaying with your family should be happy and hassle free. But anyone who’s ever travelled with a two-year-old will know that tranquillity can quickly turn to tears and tantrums. Crowds, queues and questionable food can test anyone’s patience, let alone that of a tired toddler.

But before you call time-out on your grand plans, take pause. Our guide to family friendly travel will make holidaying with the kids as easy as 1-2-3!

With helpful hints from seasoned experts, you’ll score a truckload of travel tips on keeping your children content, safe and secure on your travels. You’ll cruise your way through the planning process, learning which destinations will cater to tiny tots, seasoned travellers and all ages in between.

We’ll outline the top 10 tactics to ensure your family’s safety abroad, some travel sickness tips, and what to do if a child was to get lost, as well as providing you with a ultimate packing list. And if you still have questions that need answering, we’ve compiled an exhaustive directory for all your FAQs.

So whether you’re planning activities for all-ages or are simply looking for a one-stop info shop to family travel, we’ve got you covered. Our guide will carry you through the initial planning stage of your trip to the best way to spend your time whilst there. 

By sticking to our no-nonsense trip guide, you'll soon find yourself whisked away to your chosen holiday destination, with nothing to do but relax and enjoy your vacation!



schools on break
 

Child friendly destinations

So you’ve decided it’s time for the annual family vay-cay! It's been a long time coming, bur the million dollar question remains, ‘Where to go?’ Or rather ‘What is the perfect family holiday destination?’

Having kids shouldn’t stop you from travelling and seeing the world. Whether you're a high impact holiday-goer, a campervan fan, or a lounge-side lizard, your ideal family holiday can be a matter of picking the right destination. Keep reading for some nifty child friendly travel hotspots.

the world is your oyster

Travelling with Infants

Travelling with tiny tots in tow can be daunting; ‘how will my baby be on the plane?’ ‘Will the hotel have baby friendly facilities?’ ‘Will it be too hot?’ ‘Do I need to worry about vaccinations?’ All these questions can have you stressing out before you've even booked your airfares. However, with a sprinkle of planning and a good dose of preparation you’ll be on your way to an easy and stress-free first holiday!

Does the thought of disrupting your baby's sleeping pattern send shivers down your spine? If so, why not stick to destinations with similar time zones. Restricting the number of time zones you fly through can help you beat the jetlag blues. 

City breaks can be ideal for new families too thanks to their good transport networks and well-equipped hotels. These days it's not a stretch to expect family friendly facilities at most major hotel chains. Look out for accomodation with accessible cribs, babysitters, child-friendly entertainment, pram access and more! 

Perhaps you're after a touch (or plenty) of TLC? After the upheaval of a new addition to the family a luxurious, all-inclusive package deal may be well up your street. When your baby is teeny-weenie a pampering retreat may be just the ticket for your first holiday. Child-friendly retreats can take the hassle out of scheduling all your day-to-day activities. Simply wile away the hours by the pool with a good book whilst your little one luxuriates in the shade by your side. Sound good? We thought so! 

Travelling with your infant is perfectly safe and a great way to kick off your new life together as a family. There are all manner of exciting destinations to pick from. Keep reading to find out more.

travelling with toddlers

Are your kids suffering from a case of the terrible twos? You’re gonna need all the help you’re can get (just kidding)! Stick to resorts that cater for families like the Caribbean, Florida (did someone say Disneyland?), the Mediterranean, or even destinations closer to home such as the Gold coast of Australia. They’ll be kids clubs where your toddler can meet new friends, kids pools, activities and child-friendly entertainment. 

It's hard to predict your toddlers taste but most will love the novelty of a good animal or water park.  And beach destination have long been popular choices for families; a bucket and spade can provide hours of entertainment for sand n' surf loving tots! 

If your little one enjoys getting about on daddy's shoulder or kicking back in a pram, sightseeing city breaks can be equally enjoyable. Mix it up with museums and amusement parks; these can be a great source of visual stimulation and are guaranteed to tire out the most energetic of toddlers.  

Travelling with young children

Now your kids are a bit bigger, the real fun can begin! There should be no barriers to travel now that your kids can express where they’d like to go and what they’d like to do. Consider holidays destinations where your younger children can discover new interests, sights and cultures such as Bali, Europe, or even as far as the UK.

Young kids are typically more adventurous so activity planned holidays can be a winning concept. Theme park trips (dare we mention Disneyland again), water parks, bike rides, museums, road trips, walking, trekking and camping would all be great holiday or day trip ideas.

The beach is still a winner with this age-group. Tween love to splash in the waves, dig in the sand and explore new places. The more activity and adventure you can provide them with the better.

Travelling with teens

After the terrible twos, so come the terrible teens (just joking....or are we)? Now your kids are of a ripe age, you can venture out towards some more exotic locations which previously would have been too 'out there'. The world is now your oyster as they say!

Now's a good time to consider some more high-octane adrenaline activities. Water babies may be ready to try snorkelling or scuba diving trips and snow bunnies may want to look into skiing, snowboarding. Adrenalin junkies may even be ready to trial more adventurous activities like rock climbing or bungy jumping.

Traveling with teenagers can be really fun and really rewarding so aim high!

 

Planning for safe travel with kids

Before you know it you’ll be doing the mad dash to the airport with a mountain of suitcases in tow. But before all the fun stuff can happen there's a lot of travel planning to do. Keeping pre-travel stress to a minimum isn't impossible, read on to find out more...
 
The key to any successful family holiday is smart preparation. Apart from packing and paperwork, it's a good idea to think of any complications that could crop up on your trip put some safety precautions in place to make sure they don't. So if you’d like to enjoy a stress-free family holiday, check out our helpful hints below...
 

pre-travel security checks

On average you'll be delayed about 30 minutes at airport security, and during peak periods these waiting times will only increase! Airlines do not wait for passengers, so make sure you leave plenty of time to make up for any unpredictable hiccups.

If you’re travelling by plane then as a rule of thumb you will need to check-in three hours prior to departure for long haul flights. Two hours are the minimum you'll need before checking in to a domestic flight. After all, it's better to be at the airport an hour early than to miss your whole trip.

With so many security rules it's worth doing a double (or triple) check of your carry-on luggage to make sure no cheeky items have snuck their way in. Restricted items not allowed on board (in the carriage, not in the hold) include liquids over 50ml, sharp objects, aerosols and more. Each airport will have different rules, so check the laws of the country you’re visiting before you pack any taboo items. You certainly don't want to have to throw a $200 duty free bottle of Bolli away due to poor research! Check which items are banned to save time, money and a hassle at customs.

Hygiene on holiday

Kids love to get messy! In some foreign destinations hygiene standards may be a little lower than what you're used to, so it pays to be a bit OCD when it comes to keeping clean.  Pack some anti-bacterial wipes and/or hand sanitiser for your trip. Tray tables on planes can get pretty dirty too so pack a spare plastic bowl and cutlery set for your little one...just to be on the safe side. 

Calm cruise

Cruise liners are an adventure playground for little nippers.  Prepare for the the adrenaline rush you'll get when you first set sail! But with so much to explore on board, so comes risks. Before your boat leaves the port it's a good idea to have a talk with your kids about the rules of the high seas. Make sure they understand the following no-no's; running on deck, climbing on balconies or railings, wandering off on their own, or going into other people's cabins. By sticking to these no-nonsense rules, your kids can stay safe on board while you all relax and enjoy your time at sea.

It might be worthwhile explaining muster drills too - these are important cruise liner procedures that can save lives in the event of an emergency. You should make sure you are familiar where the lifejackets are for all members of the family too.

Cool car travels

Driving in new, unfamiliar settings can be daunting. Road signs in funny languages, foreign road rules and driving on the wrong side of the road just for starters! Finding your way from A-B under these conditions can be a task without having to cope with your kids in the back screaming "are we nearly there yet!?" Within a matter of minutes your family holiday can turn from calm to crazy!

However, family road trips needn't drive you round the bend. Combating any unneccessary car stress can start with good preparation. Fill up on petrol, check tyre pressures, fluid levels, and double check your lights and windscreen wipers. Program your sat nav with a few route options so you're not stuck in the event of traffic problems and road closures. If you make your chosen route a longer, scenic journey, include suitable stopping places along the way for bathroom and food breaks. Throw in a few games of 'I spy', an audio book or a sing-along album, and you'll find that time will fly!

Seatbelts: If you’re travelling by car in Europe, you should be aware there is a legal requirement for children under three years old, or under 135cm tall, to wear appropriate child restraints when travelling.

Pack road safety supplies: Avoid any nasty side-of-the-road fines by making sure you’ve packed the neccessary driving supplies. warning triangle. For instance, when driving in Europe you will require a high visibility vest, a magnetic GB sticker (or equivalent 'Country of Origin' identity plate), headlamp beam converters and an approved breathalyser kit. Every destination will differ in driving requirements so check what's neccessary before zooming off! 

 

How to beat travel sickness for kids

No-one wants to start their holidays suffering from travel sickness, so it's a good idea to be prepared and pack all of the remedies you may require. Follow our tips to keep travel sickness at bay...
 
Medical and hospital expenses

Travel sickness tablets

Depending on your child's age anti-nausea tablets may be your new best friend. Alternatively you could try accupressure wrist bands or natural remedies such as ginger which can be taken in tablets, tea, or biscuit form. Nom nom!

 
feel the breeze

Feel the breeze

Car sick? Keep the windows wound down low and try to look out as much as possible; good ventilation and moving scenery can ward off nausea.

 
Avoid screens

Avoid screens

Although telling your kids to avoid books, comics and video games will not make you the most popular of parents, looking ahead (not down) can help to ward off travel sickness!

 
Eat little and often

Eat little and often

Avoid heavy meals before travelling. Pack plain snacks such as rice crackers or cereal bars to munch on from time to time to keep your blood sugar levels even. 

 
 
turbulence

Bumpy ride helpers

If turbulence sends your tummy in twists request a seat closer to the front of the plane where it's slightly smoother. 

 
Stock up

Feeling queasy

When all is lost and you can't fight it back make sure you're all stocked up with extra sick bags, plenty of water and baby wipes. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
beat travel sickness
 

What to do if your child gets lost

Every parent dreads the idea of their children going missing whilst away on holiday. Abductions, whilst rare, can be a horrifying prospect. 10% of parents admit to losing their children on holiday for a brief period of time. Thankfully, if you take a few simple steps you can prevent your kids going missing, and find them again quickly should they go walkabout.

 

Keep your kids in eyesight

Make sure your kids are never too far away. Bright or distinctive clothing can make it easier to spot them in a crowd too. Make sure they have your contact details on them, so security can contact you easily if they are lost. 

remain calm and don't panic

Take a few deep breaths then begin to retrace your steps. Where did you last see your child? Where is the nearest official? You can help the authorities find them if you know what they’re wearing and can describe it in the local language.

 

have a "what if i get lost" plan

Discuss your decided 'meet up point' with your children and keep checking to see if they remember it. For example, if you visit a theme park then choose an information desk or ride and tell your children that, if they become lost, to wait at this meeting point until you find them.

 

reassure

As soon as you are reunited with your child it’s important to remain calm. Take them somewhere less crowded, give them a hug and reassure them that they’re safe. Once they’ve calmed down, you can remind them to stay close to family members and not wander off alone. With a little luck, your kids will be more likely to remember your safety guidelines and avoid it happening again. 

 

Whats in it for me?
 

Top 10 safety tips when travelling with kids

10 child safety tips

Congratulations, you've all arrived at your destination (relatively) hassle-free! Upon arriving you and your family will no doubt want to dive right into the wide range of activities on offer. However, before you do so, have a quick look at our family travel safety precautions. By keeping these top tips in mind, you can keep your family happy, healthy and completely safe; regardless of whether you plan to explore foreign regions or simply sunbathe by the sea.

1. Respect local customs and regulations

When in Rome, do as Romans do! Before travelling you should learn about the local dress codes and laws of the region you plan to visit. Slip under the radar whilst abroad, avoid being recognised as tourists, and reduce your chances of being targeted by pick pockets.

2. Plan your travel route at the beginning of each day

Most parents will have a memory of a hectic day in a crowded play park, theme park or tourist site. Fortunately, you can help your sightseeing trips to run more smoothly if you leave your hotel with a clear plan in place. Remember your tickets, map out how you’re going to arrive at your chosen destination in advance, and leave plenty of time so you don't feel rushed.

By making sure everyone knows where they’re going, how they are getting there and what to do if you become separated, you will encourage everyone to be aware of what’s going on around them; which will mean your kids will be less likely to wander off.

3. Dress in brightly coloured clothes

It's much easier to keep track of your children in a crowded street if they’re wearing colourful clothing. Dress them in bright, distinct colours during the day so you can easily spot them in a crowd. You could even liven up their evening with some fun multi-coloured glow sticks which will serve as a fun and easy way to identify them in the dark.

4. Equip your child with emergency contact details

An excellent security tip to follow whilst abroad is to give your kids an arm band or notebook with a range of details on them; including emergency contacts, their name, age, blood group, and accommodation contact information. If you place these details inside a waterproof bag, your child can carry them at all times with little hassle. 

5. Practice emergency scenarios

The easiest way to get your kids to understand and remember safety rules is to make it fun. And how do you do that? By turning it into a game of course! If you act out various emergency scenarios with role play games, such as "what if we get separated" at the theme park, at the train station, or at the market place, you can help your kids to remember these essential emergency procedures. Another important role play game to teach your kids is how to respond if they’re approached by strangers. Rather than "No!" or "Mum!" which are often overlooked by passers-by, you should teach your children to yell "This is not my parent! Help!". This phrase will catch people's attention, scare off predatory strangers, and give your kids the essential help and support they need in these crucial first few minutes of becoming lost.

6. Take photos of your family

Taking photos is a fun aspect of any family vacation and one which can also be used to keep you all safe. At the beginning of each day, simply take a photo of your family and make sure each of your children carries this image with them. If you do become separated, all you or your kids have to do is show this picture to officials and it will help you locate one another.

7. Identify the best people your child can ask for help

If you show your children how to identify officials, such as police officers or security personnel, as well as mums with children, then if they become lost they will be more likely to seek help from trustworthy people. 

8. Identify landmarks

Whenever you arrive somewhere crowded, such as a theme park or train station, you should pick an information desk, statue or shop which can act as a landmark meeting place. If you have your kids repeat these meeting places back to you, then they’ll know where to find you should they become lost.

9. Travel as a family in formation

Although you don't have to travel everywhere in duck formation, particularly in crowded areas you should travel with your children positioned in between both parents. With one parent in front and one at the rear you can keep your children within eyesight at all times. If they're always within your sight, they can’t stray or become separated.

10. Water safety tips for pools and beaches

Most children of all ages love playing in the water; from diving for seashells at the beach to slipping and sliding around action-packed water-parks. However, when your children are playing in or near water they need to be watched constantly.

It’s often difficult to be heard above the noise in a swimming pool, so make sure your children know not to go off on their own. Point out 'safe play zones' in each pool and stress that they shouldn't leave these pool areas without you.  If your kids aren't confident swimmers, why not invest in a few swimming classes for them whilst on holiday? 

Whilst your children may be enjoying the waves, you should also continue to apply SPF30 sunscreen throughout the day. Even water-resistant sunscreen only has a lifespan of roughly 40 to 80 minutes; so it’s bound to wear out before your kids do!

Family travel insurance

Travel insurance is an essential item for any family holiday. Here's what a typical comprehensive family policy will cover you for:
 
Medical and hospital expenses

Medical and hospital expenses

Cover in case you are injured or sick while overseas. Includes hospital stays, surgery, dental and prescription drugs.

Luggage and personal effects

Luggage and personal effects

If your baggage and personal items are lost, stolen, or damaged you would be reimbursed or the items replaced.

 
 
Cancellation cover

Cancellation cover

Cover for prepaid travel & accommodation if you need to cancel because of illness, accident, natural disaster or unforeseen circumstance.

 
Travel delay expenses

Travel delay expenses

In the event your transport is delayed due to an unforeseen reason, your accommodation, meals, and transport costs will be covered.

 
 
Personal liability

Personal liability

Provides protection for you being legally liable for injuring other people or causing damage to their property.

 
Rental vehicle excess

Rental vehicle excess

If you hire a car and have an accident, you won't have to pay the excess (this could be as much as $7k)!

 
 
Family emergency

Family emergency

Cover for travel expenses if a close relative, or the person you’re travelling becomes seriously ill, injured or dies.

 
Alternative transport arrangements

Alternative transport

If your transport is cancelled on your way to a pre-booked event alternative transportation will be provided.

 
 
What is travel insurance?
 

Holiday packing checklist

 child packing tips

Your ultimate packing checklist

If you’re one of the 30% of parents who view packing as the most stressful part of going on holiday, then our child-friendly packing checklist is here to help! Simply have a read through this section of our guide, tick off any items you’ve already packed and you’ll be ready to enjoy your holiday in no time.

Essential documents

  • Passports and visas for each member of your family
  • A copy of your travel insurance policy, your specific policy number and contact details for your insurance company
  • Copies of prescriptions for medication and proof of jabs
  • Emergency contact details; including phone numbers of your airline/cruise line, hotel contact information, family contact information and Embassy contact details
  • Travel and hotel booking confirmation with copies of each family member's tickets
  • Traveller's cheques, credit cards and emergency cash

Medical supplies

  • Prescription meds for any family members with health conditions or allergies
  • Sunscreen; broad spectrum child-friendly lotion of SPF30 or higher
  • Insect repellent (brands using 10% or less of DEET are suitable for children)
  • Sterilising equipment if your child is bottle-fed
  • First aid kit: baby paracetamol and ibuprofen, cold pack, antiseptic cream, cold packs, tweezers, bandages, allergy medication thermometer, mild laxative, anti-itching lotion, anti-bacterial wipes, plasters, travel sickness remedies

Hand luggage

  • Hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial/ baby wipes
  • Spare change of clothes for you and your children
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Blankets
  • Your children's favourite toys/comforters
  • Food and drink
  • Plastic bags

General luggage for your stay

  • Sun protective clothing for your children; e.g. sunglasses, hats, loose-fitted clothing that covers their arms and shoulders
  • Seasonal attire e.g. coats, scarves and gloves if on skiing holiday
  • Terrain appropriate footwear
  • Outfits for each day of your stay plus spare clothing
  • Waterproof clothing
  • Towels
  • Swimwear with swimming aids, e.g. armbands, swim hat, ear plugs

Travelling with a baby

  • Collapsible pram or stroller
  • Spare nappies and bag with changing equipment
  • Baby bottles, sterilising equipment and spare formula
  • Baby food, baby spoon and baby bowl
  • Baby lotion and talcum powder
  • Dummies
  • Spare onesies

Travelling with toddlers and young children

  • Sippy cups
  • Blankets
  • Travel pillows
  • A spare change of clothes
  • Durable toys
  • Colouring-in books

Helpful gadgets

  • Phones with full credit and chargers
  • Outlet converter if travelling abroad
  • A global mobile phone with full credit
  • An external emergency phone battery
  • Smartphone or tablet device with downloaded travel apps and child-friendly games
  • Night lights
  • Camera with charger
  • Satellite navigation device with charger and pre-programmed travel routes

 

 

Useful links and resources

 

Useful links and resources

At the end of the day, by following the top tips provided within this guide you'll be fully prepared to enjoy your ideal family vacation. Whether you opt for a beachside break, a rural retreat or a round-the-world cruise, the key is to start getting organised. By planning all aspects of your trip and preparing for an emergency, you’ll be ready to tackle whatever obstacles your holiday may throw at you in a calm and confident manner!

If you’d like to read a few more child-friendly travel resources, we'd be more than happy to help you!

Listed below are some links to various airlines, cruise liner companies, travel agencies and family vacation discussion forums. By having at look at these links, you can read top tips on essential travel documents and vaccination guidelines for you and your kids. You'll also have access to the specific family travel policies of different airlines and cruise line companies. So why not click on a link below and fast-track your holiday plans today? Happy travels!

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